Press Release: Capturing summer flowers, creative short courses 2017

Summer flowers feature strongly in West Dean College's latest release of spring and summer arts and crafts short courses. Choose to learn how to paint colourful tulips in watercolours or create a beautiful silk daisy chain and more. The college offers the opportunity to learn traditional and contemporary arts and crafts in fully-equipped light and airy art studios, guided and inspired by expert tutors who are all practicing professionals with impressive reputations. Students have access to the award-winning West Dean Gardens during their stay and can explore the parkland, walled kitchen garden and St Roche's Arboretum during breaks in classes. Experience the unique atmosphere of the college which is the former home of Edward James, poet and patron of the Surrealist Movement, and is rich in art history.

Explore the structure of flowers through drawing exercises and learn how to depict these with free style brush strokes and techniques. Learn about composition, space, the Chinese style and how to back your paintings ready for display. Chinese brush painting - flower shapes and colours with painter Maggie Cross (23 - 28 April, five days, £526, suitable for all).

Develop your watercolour techniques through the study of the anatomy and form of tulips, and reproduce their vivid colours and distinctive shapes. Painting luscious tulips in watercolours with botanical artist Sandrine Maugy (19 - 21 May, weekend, £233, suitable for all).

Capture summer colour in the award-winning West Dean Gardens. Gain greater understanding of how to compose pictures by observing how lighting affects colour and composition. Digital photography - capturing colour in the garden with Jacqui Hurst, garden and editorial photographer (16 - 18 June, weekend, £235, beginners/intermediate).

Milliner, Anne Tomlin teaches two NEW courses this summer. Master the art of silk flower making using French and Japanese heated tools to manipulate the fabric, dyes and sewing. Create three different roses using authentic colours, make stamens, bond silk layers and disguise with wire and bind stems to make a small arrangement for a small hat base or band. Millinery silk flower making - roses (19 - 22 May, long weekend, £339, suitable for all) or Make a silk daisy chain - millinery techniques (29 June, one day, £116, suitable for all).

Learn how to interpret flowers and leaves into design motifs for hand knitting. Sasha Kagan, knitwear designer, will show you how to graph out your designs, use intarsia techniques, make repeat patterns and work with colour and texture. You will need only basic knitting skills in knit and purl. Hand knitting - designing from nature (5 - 8 June, three days, £339, intermediate).

Visual Arts and Crafts Summer Schools

West Dean's popular Summer Schools are a creative and social highlight of the year. Extend your stay on one of the three separate week-long courses which allow you to encounter a broad range of creative insights and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere at West Dean. Week One (29 July - 4 August), Week Two (5 - 11 August) and Week Three (12 - 18 August).

The College offers over 700 short courses each year from basketweaving to bobbin lacemaking, and sewing to sculpture. To browse the latest digital brochure and to book online visit

Gift vouchers of £10, £25, £50 or £100 can be used as full or part payment towards a short course.

The college offers B&B accommodation from £102 per person for two nights (twin occupancy).


Notes to editors

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • The college offers over 700 creative short courses each year, as well as Diploma and Degree programmes in the School of Conservation and School of Creative Arts.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.

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Painting luscious tulips with Sandrine Maugy
Painting luscious tulips with Sandrine Maugy
Hand knitting short courses at West Dean College
Hand knitting short courses at West Dean College
Make a silk daisy chain, with milliner Anne Tomlin
Make a silk daisy chain, with milliner Anne Tomlin

Media Contact Information

For further information, high-resolution digital images of filming opportunities contact

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Officer, +44 (0)1243 811301


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ