Press Release: West Dean’s expert tutors to run Taster Workshops at Living Crafts 2015

West Dean College is partnering with Living Crafts, the largest event of its kind in Europe, to offer a series of workshops and demonstrations at the four-day craft event at Hatfield House (7 - 10 May 10am to 5pm daily). Visitors to the show will have the chance to take part in hands-on creative workshops and learn new skills from some of the College's expert tutors. West Dean has an international reputation for teaching in the creative arts and conservation and sessions throughout the weekend will give visitors a taste of what the College has to offer.

Living Crafts' Organiser, Robin Younger, commented "We are very pleased to welcome the highly acclaimed tutors from West Dean College to Living Craft 2015, who will be running some exciting workshops and giving some fascinating demonstrations. We look forward to working together to promote British crafting excellence."


Demonstration: Freedom in Watercolour with Julie Collins

11.00am - 11.45am, 13.00pm - 13.45pm and 15.00pm - 15.45pm

Julie will demonstrate watercolour painting working in larger than life dimensions to show how exciting working in watercolour can be. Each demonstration will show a different stage of watercolour painting.


Workshops with Heather Belcher

HANDMADE FELT (11.00am - 12.00pm)

Learn the magical process of making felt, exploring colour, texture and pattern. Working with richly coloured loose wool fibres to lay out your own pattern or design. Working with water and soap transform the fibres into a beautiful sample of woollen fabric. All levels welcome.

FELT BRACELET (13.30pm - 15.00pm)

Create a colourful bracelet from handmade felt using richly coloured wool fibres to make beautiful spiral patterned felt beads. Thread these together to construct your own uniquely designed bracelet. All levels welcome.

FELT PURSE (15.30pm - 17.00pm)

Learn this magical 3D felting technique and working with richly coloured loose wool fibres, water and soap to transform the fibres to make a beautiful seamless handmade felt purse. You will also make a solid felt ball that will be used as a button for the purse. All levels welcome.


Workshops with Kathy Abbott


Learn to make a Japanese-style book with decorative silk stitches through the cover.


Learn how to make a concertina book with contrasting two-coloured hard covers and without using any adhesives.


Learn how to fold, slit and sew paper to make a simple notebook with decorative paper covers.


Demonstration with Ruth De Fraga Gomes

11.00am - 11.45am, 13.00pm - 13.45pm, 15.00pm - 15.45pm


Exploring the history of shade making and their function. Looking at frame shapes, design, fabrics and proportion. Demonstrations of binding, stretching a tailored cover, and advanced techniques such as chiffon pleating and sectional shades. Discussion of trimmings and embellishments. Each session will start with a similar discussion but each session will demonstrate a different technique.

To book workshops and demonstrations at Living Crafts 2015 visit the West Dean College Marquee. Bookings for workshops will be taken on a first come, first served basis. There will be no need to book any of the demonstrations.


For more information about Short Courses at West Dean College and to browse the digital brochure visit First time bookings receive a 10% discount telephone bookings only call +44 (0)1243 818300.

West Dean has a commitment to providing access to education in the creative arts. From its own funds and with the support of generous donations from a number of trusts and individuals, the College can offer bursaries to people who could not otherwise afford to study on a short course.

Notes to editors:

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation which also comprises West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • The College runs over 700 short courses in arts, crafts, gardening, music and creative writing each year as well as full-time programmes in Conservation and Creative Arts.
  • Living Crafts
  • Photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • Any journalist interested in visiting the Gardens, attending a course or an event for news or review purposes or filming opportunities at West Dean should contact the Media Relations team.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and six miles south of Midhurst.

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Media contact information

For media accreditation or high-resolution digital images, please contact:

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Relations Officer +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College and Gardens, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ

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