Press Release: Prepare for a handmade, creative Christmas 2016

Start preparing for a handcrafted Christmas on a creative short course at West Dean College. Use willow, forged materials or glass gilding to make beautiful handmade gifts for family and friends. Learn calligraphy, printing or silk painting to produce elegant gift tags and greeting cards or come on one of the college's numerous craft based courses. Relax and enjoy an inventive short break in the tranquil setting of the Grade II* Listed college, set within the stunning landscape of the South Downs. Be guided by expert tutors, all practicing professionals with impressive reputations. All courses shown are suitable for beginners.

Learn an italic script to enhance and transform your own handwriting. Study and learn how to use a broad-edged fountain pen to begin writing with style and panache. Italic handwriting with professional calligrapher, Cherrell Avery (NEW 4 - 6 November, weekend, £225).

Make individually designed, hand sewn hanging angels from a selection of fabrics to use as tree decorations or attach to Christmas cards. Hand sewn angels in fabric with textile artist, Janet Bolton (14 November, one day, £113).

Make a festive fabric wreath and fruit working with a mix of Liberty print fabrics. Decorate a willow wreath and sew a partridge, pears or apples to embellish or keep as separate festive gifts. The tutor is botanical artist, writer and maker, Sandrine Maugy, (15 November, one day, £146).

Learn how to weave Christmas decorations to treasure in willow, such as trees and stars, which will last from year to year. Festive willow decorations with basketmaker and coppice craftsman, Dominic Parrette (26 November, one day, £121).

Learn how to use historic gilding techniques and pure gold leaf to decorate your own unique luscious glass baubles for Christmas. Gold gilded glass baubles with Judy Wetherall (1 December, one day, £139).

Explore silk painting techniques to create exciting effects in vibrant colours to make a range of personalised greeting cards. Silk painting - seasonal and festive cards with textile artist and costume designer, Hilary Simon (3 December, one day, £135).

Make a set of three decorations including an angel, a bell and a Christmas tree, as you learn how to cut and prepare glass, copperfoiling, soldering and finishing. Make coloured glass Christmas decorations with stained glass artist, Carole Gray (4 and 5 December, one day courses, £141 each day).

Learn the basic techniques of working with silver and develop ideas for making your own jewellery, or for gifts. Start with a drawing and realise the idea into three-dimensions. One day jewellery workshop with studio jeweller, Sarah Macrae (6 December, £111).

Create natural decorations from foraged woodland materials. Spend an inspirational day making twiggy stars, fir cone garlands and wild woodland wreaths, as well as place-setting and gift-wrapping ideas. Contemporary Christmas decorations from foraged materials with garden designer and writer Annie Guilfoyle (NEW 17 December, one day £126).


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 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, please contact

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


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ