Press Release: Creative short courses with an autumnal flavour

As the days mellow and the nights start drawing in, explore the possibilities of a short creative break to learn traditional and contemporary handcrafts to match the seasonal mood and develop projects to take you through the grey winter days. Be guided and inspired by expert tutors, all practicing professionals with impressive reputations, on a short course at West Dean College. Learn in fully-equipped studios and workshops and experience the unique atmosphere in the Grade II* Listed country house and home to the college. Students have access to the award-winning West Dean Gardens during their stay and can enjoy a walk through the autumnal landscape during breaks in classes.

Autumn colours can be very rich and the weather atmospheric. Explore outdoor oil painting techniques in a range of locations including woodland. Painting autumn landscapes in oils with landscape oil painter, Tim Benjamin (NEW 16 - 21 October, five days, suitable for all £533).

Investigate the structure and form of trees in their skeletal winter state using pencil and charcoal through a series of short workshops. Explore compositional choices and your ability to capture the movement and grace of trees. Drawing winter trees in pencil with painter, Andrew Fitchett (28 - 30 October, weekend, £228, suitable for all).

Choose from a diverse range of woodworking and furniture making short courses including Make an English long-bow with specialist craft teacher, Gavin Pond. Laminate the stave made from timber, cut and shape the bow, attach the string and make a handle to finish a long-bow. Try your bow with some target practice on the West Dean lawn at the end of the course (14 - 16 October, weekend, £300, suitable for all).

Whether you have a window box, a garden full of flowers or an allotment, develop your gardening skills with the experts. As the vegetable garden begins to wind down for the season there is still plenty to be done outdoors. Horticulturist, designer and broadcaster, Rosie Yeomans, will take you through the importance of soil preparation, winter crop sowing, planting and pruning fruit and buying seeds for spring with hands-on practical demos and classroom based lectures. Grow your own fruit and vegetables - autumn (15 October, one day, £131).

Pick up your camera and discover the secrets of capturing landscape images in autumn with maximum visual impact, the best use of equipment and the importance of pre-planning are covered, alongside how to enhance your images. Autumnal colour in digital landscape photography with freelance photographer Roy Matthews (21 - 23 October, weekend, £235, suitable for all).

Designers and authors, Alice Butcher and Ginny Farquhar, will help you develop some new home sewing projects. Build on basic sewing skills and gain further confidence using your sewing machine to create aprons, quilted oven gloves to appliqué peg bags and piped cushions. Sewing projects for the home - further techniques (21 - 23 October, weekend £250, intermediate).

Work creatively in the West Dean forge to develop your blacksmithing and metalworking skills, from the basic to the complex. In an energetic and active course with blacksmith and metalworker, Andrew Smith, you will explore your own individual projects with professional support. Creative blacksmithing projects with blacksmith, metalworker and sculptor, Andrew Smith (9 - 13 November, four days, £518 Suitable for all).


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


First time bookings are entitled to a 10% discount on the cost of course fees (telephone bookings only) +44 (0)1243 818300.


Wake up to beautiful views over the Sussex Downs in the stately splendour of a country mansion. From £102 per person for two nights (twin occupancy).

To browse the short course digital brochure and to book online visit


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.
  • 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.

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Media Contact Information

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

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


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ