BBC The Repair Shop's Kirsten Ramsay opens West Dean College:London

Ahead of London Craft Week, the annual London festival taking place in May celebrating creativity and craftsmanship, Londoners and visitors to the capital are invited to unleash their own creative potential as world-renowned college of arts & craft opens in the heart of the capital. 

West Dean College London was officially opened by BBC The Repair Shop’s ceramics expert Kirsten Ramsay, alongside a range of expert makers demonstrating their craft skills - from weavers and leather makers, to Passementerie artists and painters. 

Arriving in London’s Bloomsbury from the Sussex countryside, West Dean, described as a ‘Hogwarts for making’, invites Londoners to get creative with an eclectic range of over 100 one-day, two-day and weekend courses across the arts, craft, design and conservation to choose from.

Kirsten Ramsay, Ceramics Conservator for BBC The Repair Shop and West Dean Ceramics Conservation Alumna, said: 

“I am thrilled to be opening West Dean London which offers the opportunity to learn new skills and make right in the heart of London. I am also beyond excited to be taking the tapestry course - something I have never done before! 

Since studying conservation there in the late 1980s, West Dean has been instrumental to my career, both as student and tutor. It’s a place I keep returning to, to share my experience but also to widen my skills and knowledge of other materials."

Since opening in 1971 as a centre for education and training in conservation and the visual and applied arts, with a specialist focus on artisanal craftsmanship, we have built a global reputation as a home for groundbreaking creativity and world-leading conservation. Housed within a stately home, nestled in the idyllic environs of the South Downs National Park, West Dean offers the widest range of full and part time courses on its rural campus.

Now, for the first time, the magic of West Dean will be transported from West Sussex to London where a selection of our signature classes taught by accomplished and award-winning experts, from published novelists to calligraphy masters, will be offered. From traditional techniques passed down through generations, to modern twists on classic creative pursuits, the programme will feature courses in painting, life drawing, photography, textiles, printmaking and writing, alongside highly specialised courses, from ceramic conservation and Japanese woodblock printmaking, to passementarie weaving to writing crime fiction. Encouraging fresh approaches that are sustainable and promote a sense of wellbeing, all courses will be rooted in our founding belief that ‘making makes lives better’.

The courses will take place in the light-filled studios of our newly renovated London HQ, located in Bloomsbury in the heart of London’s thriving Knowledge Quarter - in close proximity to the British Museum, the British Library, Wellcome Collection, University of London and SOAS. Tailor-made for Londoners with busy lives, day courses will start mid-morning to allow for travel while evening courses ensure people can attend after work.

The full list of London courses can be found here