Press Release: Pottery and Ceramics for beginners, short courses at West Dean College

West Dean students come back time and again to work with the tutors who are leading potters and ceramic artists. The College offers courses from throwing for beginners, to more advanced courses to build on the basic skills and learn how to coil, hand-build, sculpt and use glazes to complete more complex work. Be inspired by the award-winning gardens, the architecture and landscape and the interiors of West Dean. Many courses are suitable for all levels whether beginner or more advanced.

Work on your own potter's wheel and develop designs inspired by the ceramic collection at West Dean as you learn key techniques, including how to prepare and work with clay. Throwing and turning for beginners with Louisa Taylor (12 - 14 June Weekend £249).

Learn the traditional hand-building technique of coiling and experiment with intuitive ways of using surface colour taking inspiration from West Dean Gardens. Coiled and decorative vessels with Amy Jayne Hughes (NEW 17 - 19 July Weekend £236).

Cover basic hand-building practices and throwing on a potter's wheel using a range of Raku and stoneware clays. Develop your skills and ideas with one-to-one tuition and advice. Raku and firing techniques with Alison Sandeman (16 - 21 August £567).

Create a life-sized portrait head and aim to capture the sitter's essence Portrait heads in terracotta -a visual approach with Jon Edgar (4 - 7 September Long weekend £363).

Learn to create vivid and expressive animal forms using a range of pottery techniques with Jon Barrett-Danes. You will complete at least two animals, wall mounted heads or headed pots. Sculpting animals in clay (20 - 25 September £588).

Explore simple Japanese pottery techniques to make vases, bowls, mugs and plates. Techniques include wet slab making (Katatsukuri) and leather hard slab building (Itatsukuri). You will then learn brush drawing or printing techniques to decorate your posts. Exploring Japanese pottery (5 - 8 October £363 Beginners/Intermediate).


Wake up to beautiful views over the Sussex Downs in the stately splendour of a country mansion. The bedrooms are a mixture of contemporary and traditional styling. Student rates from £55 Bed & Breakfast. Non students are also welcome to enjoy the experience of staying at West Dean with rates from £75.


For more information about Short Courses at West Dean and to browse the digital brochure visit First time bookings receive a 10% discount (telephone bookings only call +44 (0)2143 818300).


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 award winning Gardens are open from 1 February - 20 December with special event days throughout the year; Mother's Day in the Gardens (15 March), Easter Egg Trails for children (1 - 6 April), Annual House Opening (9 & 10 May), Design and Craft Fair (19 - 21 June), 20th Anniversary Chilli Fiesta (7 - 9 August), Half Term Halloween
  • activities (26 - 31 October) and Father Christmas visits (12 & 13 and 19 & 20 December).
  • The College runs over 700 short courses in arts, crafts, gardening and music each year as well as full time postgraduate programmes in Conservation and Creative Arts.
  • All 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 at West Dean should contact the Media Relations team.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

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West Dean College short course with Jane Abbott
West Dean College short course with Jane Abbott
West Dean college tutor Jon Barrett Danes
West Dean college tutor Jon Barrett Danes

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

Help preserve our future

West Dean College and Gardens are part of a registered charity and relies on the support of generous donors, friends, legacies to help us deliver world-class education in conservation and the creative arts and maintain our award-winning gardens.

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