Press Release: Sneak preview spring and summer creative short courses 2017

Take a sneak preview online at West Dean College's spring and summer 2017 short courses programme. Book a creative break now for April or May before they fill up, and have something special to look forward to in spring. Early booking is also now open on the popular Summer Schools. The college offers the opportunity to learn traditional and contemporary arts and crafts in fully-equipped professional studios. Be guided and inspired by expert tutors, all practicing professionals with impressive reputations. Experience the unique atmosphere of the college, which is rich in art history as the former home of Edward James, poet and patron of the Surrealist Movement. Students have access to the award-winning West Dean Gardens during their stay and can enjoy the dramatic displays of spring bulbs during breaks in classes.

Learn Landscape drawing with charcoal with contemporary artist Kate Boucher. Explore the expressive qualities of charcoal to represent the evocative landscape at West Dean and develop your repertoire of mark-making techniques, working from direct observation and your own photographs (28 - 30 April, weekend, £228, suitable for all).

Make jewellery from those little things you love to collect from the beach, the woods and urban finds. Learn the techniques of threading, crocheting, wirework and working with resin, allowing experimentation with materials to make individual pieces. Wild jewellery - recycle, re-craft with Sarah Drew (7 - 10 May, three days, £349, suitable for all).

Armourer, Graham Ashford, will show you how to make armour in the West Dean forge using a world renowned Italian design as inspiration. Learn how to hot and cold shape the metal, rivet, and use leather and oil to blacken the final piece. Medieval armouring - the 15th century Italian gauntlet (4 - 7 May, long weekend, £392, beginners/intermediate).

Learn to make a set of carved tiles. Other techniques will be explored using your own designs and include slip decoration techniques, stenciling and inlaying. Tile making - carving, stenciling, inlaying with Richard Miller (28 - 30 April, weekend, £243, suitable for all).

Create unique silk purses with delicate silver framework or handles and embellish with silk paints, layered fabrics or embroidery. Work by the tutor, Emily Jo Gibbs, textile, embroidery and mixed media artist, can be seen in the V & A Museum. Silk textile purses or containers with silver framework (20 - 23 April, long weekend, £359, suitable for all).

Explore the entire process of creating a short piece of fiction with Mick Jackson, Man Booker nominated author. Develop ideas into coherent, satisfying narratives and re-work into finished form, looking at structure, character and tone. Writing a short story (5 - 7 May, weekend, £225, beginners).

Visual Arts, Crafts and Music Summer Schools are a creative and social highlight of the year at West Dean. Whether you want a creative holiday, time to really immerse yourself in your craft or learn a completely new skill, the extended week-long courses allow you to explore a range of possibilities including basketmaking, painting, photography silversmithing, printmaking, woodcarving and more. The dates are: Week One July 29 - 4 August; Week Two 5 - 11 August; and Week Three 12 - 18 August.

The Chilingirian String Ensemble Summer School offers young professional or student quartets and ensembles the chance to work closely with the celebrated Chilingirian Quartet. Generous scholarships are available. Visit the web site for more information and to download the submission form

Classical guitarist and ensemble director, Andrew Gough, Festival Director, welcomes Amanda Cook, Craig Ogden, Liz Larner, Trond Davidsen, Pavel Steidl and Vincent Lindsey-Clark to the West Dean International Classical Guitar Festival 2017 (19 - 24 August, five days, suitable for all). Contact the Bookings Office on +44 (0)1243 818300 for further details.

The full Short Course spring and summer brochure will be available from early January. To browse the digital brochure and to book online visit

Further Information

Special Offer. First time bookings are entitled to a 10% discount on the cost of course fees (telephone bookings only) +44 (0)1243 818300. 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.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.

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International Guitar Festival 2016 (L to R students, R Kianush Robeson, Zoe Barnett and Alex Roche)
International Guitar Festival 2016 (L to R students, R Kianush Robeson, Zoe Barnett and Alex Roche)
Tile maker, Richard Miller, in his studio, with friend
Tile maker, Richard Miller, in his studio, with friend
Wild jewellery with Sarah Draw (The Wedding Collection)
Wild jewellery with Sarah Draw (The Wedding Collection)

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