Press Release: Make your own unique Christmas gifts this Autumn

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation offers a variety of short courses that could solve your Christmas present worries. 

It’s not long until Christmas, and we all start to worry what to buy the person who has everything! West Dean College of Arts and Conservation offers a wide variety of short courses (ranging from one to four days) that gives the opportunity to make a one-off item, or by giving a place on a course - a friend or family member could start 2020 by learning a new skill and feeling a sense of accomplishment. There are over 800 courses to choose from every year ranging from millinery to blacksmithing to painting to basket making. 

If you like the idea of making a unique gift, among the courses on offer in late November/ December is Jewellery in wood with silver and pearl inlay with Sarah King, who has recently written a book Creating Jewellery in Wood, that was published in October. The three-day course, which takes place between December 6-8, 2019 and costs £278 offers the chance to learn how to make contemporary sculptural jewellery pieces using wood with silver inlay and pearls. You will design and make a wood pendant inlaid with small silver dots and then make a pendant or ring with a silver line or embedded pearl. The course is suitable for complete beginners or those with some jewellery hand skills who want to broaden their material possibilities.

As Alison Baxter, Head of School of Arts, commented: “Set in the stunning surroundings of the South Downs National Park, West Dean College offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the lead up to Christmas (or a great way to switch off afterwards). By taking part in one of our numerous course, participants are given a chance to learn a new skill, focus on doing something totally different as well as create an unforgettable gift.”

Other courses that offer gift ideas:

November 25 – Making a Leather Journal (£138)
November 29 – December 1 – Silver stacking rings - jewellery (£280)
December 1-5 – Contemporary Abstract Patchwork (£544)
December 3-6 – Polymer Clay – Vessels and Bowls (£401)
December 10 – Making pictures from fabric and stitch (£130)
December 12 – Make Three single bangles (£168)
December 14 – Silver leaf earrings or pendant (£143)
December 15 – Make a silver decorative dish (£223)
December 15-18 – Woodturning – bowls with texture (£415)
December 20-22 – Cartoon and caricature (£260)

For full details of each course and to browse the latest digital brochure, please visit

Bookings can be made online or by calling +44 (0)1243 818300. Gift vouchers of £10, £25, £50 or £100 can be used as full or part payment towards a short course.

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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’.
  • 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 of Arts and Conservation 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:

    Telephone: 07790 732448

    West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ