Press Release: New season. New skills. Time to get back in the studio.

- West Dean College of Arts and Conservation launches 225 courses for January to March 2022 -

With many people returning back to school or university, it’s the perfect time to start 2022 creatively. West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has just launched a programme of more than 225 short courses taking place throughout January, February and March 2022. Grab a fresh sketchbook and learn a new skill on a creative short course.

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Nature journal – a springboard for creativity and textiles with Zoe Burt,  18 to 20 February 2022
Nature journal – a springboard for creativity and textiles with Zoe Burt, 18 to 20 February 2022
Crochet – modular shapes and stitches with Katy Bevan, 28 to 30 January 2022
Crochet – modular shapes and stitches with Katy Bevan, 28 to 30 January 2022
Beginners' watercolour – still life with Kim Whitby, 9 to 11 March 2022
Beginners' watercolour – still life with Kim Whitby, 9 to 11 March 2022

Choose from a variety of short courses available to all abilities covering a wide range of crafts including textiles; pottery & ceramics; painting & drawing; metalwork, sculpture and gardening. Ideal for beginners who want to take the first creative step, through to experienced artists and makers who want to transform their practice in 2022. Courses span from one to five days and range in price from £128 upwards. The College is a perfect place to escape, recharge, and immerse yourself in your learning; the courses offer the opportunity to get hands on with arts and craft skills, as well as boost your wellbeing in the process. Set in the heart of the South Downs National Park, in a stunning location, the College’s rural setting makes it particularly attractive as more of us take the opportunity to reconnect with and discover the restorative power of the natural environment.

New courses for 2022 include Crochet – modular shapes and stitches with Katy Bevan in response to the huge increase in people taking up crochet during lockdown, which will focus on creating diamonds and squares to triangles and hexagons, as well as experimenting with different crochet shapes (January 28-30/ suitable for all/ £275); while Blacksmithing for beginners with Cara Wassenberg encourages participants to design and create a contemporary sculptural candlestick, wall sconce or other small object for your home by learning a range of traditional forging and other metal working techniques (February 7-9/ beginners/ £307) and Beginners’ watercolour – still life with Kim Whitby offers the basic techniques in a fun and relaxed setting, a perfect way to pick up skills to continue painting at home (March 9-11/ Beginners/ £280).

Botanical drawing in coloured pencil – flowering shrubs and bulbs with Susan Christopher-Coulson, 17 to 20 March 2022
Botanical drawing in coloured pencil – flowering shrubs and bulbs with Susan Christopher-Coulson, 17 to 20 March 2022
Millinery silk flowers – making spring flowers with Anne Tomlin, 21 to 24 March 2022
Millinery silk flowers – making spring flowers with Anne Tomlin, 21 to 24 March 2022
Drawing with fibre in felt with Heather Belcher, 20 to 22 March 2022
Drawing with fibre in felt with Heather Belcher, 20 to 22 March 2022
Eco-friendly contemporary painting with Melanie Rose, 20 to 24 February 2022
Eco-friendly contemporary painting with Melanie Rose, 20 to 24 February 2022
Fine felt making – nuno shawls and furoshiki: wrapping cloths with Liz Clay, 14 to 17 January 2022
Fine felt making – nuno shawls and furoshiki: wrapping cloths with Liz Clay, 14 to 17 January 2022

With more awareness of the impact of our surroundings and the environment on our mood and mental health, among the new courses is Sacred geometry – new patterns with Tom Bree which offers the chance to discover the symmetries in drawing between sacred art, the natural world and wider cosmos (January 14-16/ Beginners & Intermediate/ £281). Creative exploration – making the ordinary extraordinary with Sue Lawty is a fun making day of creative exploration examining and manipulating found or waste materials with the eventual aim of creating a two-dimensional fabric (February 28/ suitable for all/ £143), while Eco-friendly contemporary painting with Melanie Rose allows students to learn how to make and use natural materials including chalk gesso, egg tempera and oak gall ink, and translate drawings and photographs created on location at West Dean into final artworks (February 20-24/ intermediate to advanced/ £516). Nature Journal – a springboard for creativity and textiles with Zoe Burt connects participants with nature as you explore a range of techniques using seasonally foraged and dried materials to make inks, brushes, cyanotypes and natural dyes (February 18-20/ suitable for all/ £280), and Writing poetry – new beginnings with Robyn Bolam enables students to learn how to create memorable poems inspired by West Dean, its surroundings, your own experiences, and the works of some of our most effective writers (March 18-20/ suitable for all/ £260).

Looking to closer to home in the garden, new gardening courses include Setting up a micro-nursery with Sally Gregson which offers advice on propagating your own specialised collection of plants (March 19/ suitable for all/ £128). Another way to enhance the garden is with sculptures, and Organically inspired sheet metal sculpture with Cara Wassenberg is an excellent opportunity to create an eye-catching small sculpture for your home or garden by exploring some of the many ways of forming and joining sheet metal (March 14-17/ suitable for all/ £447).

Creativity inspired by the flora and fauna of the garden, new courses include Botanical drawing in coloured pencil – flowering shrubs and bulbs with Susan Christopher-Coulson, which encourages students to observe and draw flowering shrubs and bulbs from the exciting and exquisite time of bud burst and beyond (March 17-20/ beginners & intermediates/ £382), while Woodcarving for beginners with Alex Jones enables students to learn basic techniques and processes of woodcarving (March 11-13/ beginners/ £273).

In preparation for the joyful return of the wedding-season, there are a variety of courses that could help create a truly individual wedding. Calligraphy – illuminated letters and monograms with Cathy Stables offers the opportunity to learn the processes involved in gilding and painting an illuminated letter to produce your own interpretation and design a monogram (February 11-13/ beginners to intermediate/ £267), while thinking about the all important hat, Millinery silk flowers – making spring flowers with Anne Tomlin teaches students how to make beautiful silk spring flowers including narcissi, anemones and snowdrops (March 21- 24/ suitable for all/ £391). And a gift, perhaps Pewter salad servers with Ella McIntosh offers a chance to handcraft a set of pewter salad servers and learn a range of traditional pewtersmithing skills (February 28 – March 2/ beginners to intermediate/ £318).

With international travel still somewhat of a question for 2022, for those wanting a travel fix without the hassle, several courses are inspired by Japanese techniques. Fine felt making – nuno shawls and furoshiki: wrapping cloths with Liz Clay will create beautiful, versatile nuno felt fabric for fashion or domestic use. Furoshiki are traditional Japanese wrapping cloths used to wrap and/or transport goods (January 14-17/ suitable for all/ £401), and Furniture making skills – a Japanese toolbox with Derek Jones teaches the key principles for building a traditional Japanese style tool box of simplicity, necessity and ingenuity (February 17-20/ suitable for all/ £503).

Among the wide range of textile courses is Exploring material quality in woven tapestry with Sue Lawty which will help you become more discerning and precise in how you employ materials in woven tapestry (February 24-27/ intermediate to advanced/ £406), while Drawing with fibre in felt with Heather Belcher explores a variety of methods to make drawn marks in felt using wool and other fibres, which begins with a fun mark-making exercises and develop a personal colour palette to generate ideas for one-off felt artworks (March 20-22/ beginners to intermediate/ £280) and Stories in stitch with Jessie Chorley allows you to create your own stitched and patched story (March 28-31/ suitable for all/ £396).

To ensure a safe and welcoming campus, the College has put in place measures operating on a principle of the same as, or better than, national guidelines. This includes social distancing, self-opening doors, and extensive cleaning and sanitising protocols to protect students and staff. For more details on Social Distancing and COVID-19 measures, please visit https://www.westdean.org.uk/coronavirus

For full details, plus information on accommodation, please visit www.westdean.ac.uk Bookings can be made online or by calling +44 (0)1243 818300.

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation can be found on Social Media:
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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’. 
• West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has an international reputation and offers a wide selection of short courses a year, as well as part time and full time diploma and degree programmes to Masters level.
• 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