Press Release: West Dean Arts and Craft Festival welcomes Abdollah Nafisi - from BBC's The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts

The annual West Dean Arts and Craft Festival is all about getting involved, learning new skills and expert tips. So it is very exciting that for the first time, Abdollah Nafisi from BBC Two's hugely popular TV series 'The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts' will be taking part in the Festival, which takes place within the beautiful grounds of West Dean College of Arts and Conservation in West Sussex from Friday, May 31 - Sunday, June 2, 2019.

West Sussex-based Abdollah, and his partner Kate, will be demonstrating three of the key elements of making a Sussex chair in Victorian times, such as hand spoke shaving on a Shavehorse; Pole-lathing on a foot powered machine to turn the spokes to the right size, and steam bending, in a box full of steam to make the spokes malleable and bend into curved shapes.

Abdollah commented: "Kate and I are looking forward to being involved in West Dean's Arts and Craft Festival at the end of May. Not only will we be demonstrating the skills and techniques which go into making a Sussex chair, we will be bringing along the original chair, that I made on the TV series. It was inspired by the work of William Morris but handmade under the clock and without electric power tools."

The Festival, which is open each day from 10am - 5pm, offers visitors the opportunity to try their hand at something new in a fun environment. There are almost 1,000 places in workshops and classes giving visitors the opportunity to have-a-go at a wide variety of activities in addition to the Summerhouse trail which will offer the chance to have a go at various crafts such as jewellery and rag-rug making.

Also throughout the weekend, there will be a selection of free drop-in interactive Demonstrations ranging from painting to large-scale weaving and even a river-powered kinetic art installation. Visitors can buy unique crafted items, as well as see the work of emerging artists, and have a rare opportunity to step inside the historic house which houses the Mae West Lips Sofa and Lobster Telephone - Edward James' iconic collaboration with Salvador Dali.

Tickets cost £10.50 for adults in advance and £12.50 on the day, while children under 16 years are FREE.

www.westdean.org.uk/events

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Notes to Editors:

  • West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded in 1971 by the poet and Surrealist patron, Edward James, recognised by BBC Arts as the 'the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century'.
  • The College is part of The Edward James Foundation (Charity No. 1126084), also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within 
easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

For all media enquiries please contact:
Rachel Aked
Email: rachel.aked@westdean.org.uk
Telephone: 07790 732448
West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ

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Abdollah Nafisi's Sussex chair
The cast of The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts