Press Releases: Animals in art and crafts, Short courses at West Dean College

West Dean College offers a range of creative short courses for animal lovers from painting to willow work. There is something to suit all levels from beginners to advanced in the latest brochure out now. Enjoy a relaxing creative break at West Dean, with delicious homecooked food. You can also explore the award-winning gardens during your stay. Mix with like-minded creative people as you learn a new skill or improve an existing one.

Capture the vitality and elegance of the horse working from live models and photographs. Begin with pencil drawings to describe the proportions and then use charcoal to study the form. With the knowledge gained you will compose a painting introducing colour. Painting the horse in motion with Trudy Redfern (NEW 19 - 22 November Long Weekend £334 Suitable for all).

Investigate the intricate nature of animal skulls and bone through fine watercolour brushwork. Learn inter-textual dry brush technique, accenting and glazing to enhance and unify your painting. Skull and bone - dry brush watercolour painting with Suzanne Balchin (27 - 29 November Weekend £222 Suitable for all).

Make a full sized indigenous animal, such as a deer, fox or pig using willow with Dominic Parrette, coppice craftsman and experienced basketmaker. Study drawings and photographs to observe how structure and tension in the animal form can express meaning and animation. Sculptural animal forms in willow (18 - 21 January Three Days £372 Beginners/Intermediate).

Learn a fast and exciting approach to animal sculpting using a variety of pottery techniques. Working with paper clay and a simple external armature, the goal is not to make a realistic copy but an interpretation that captures the spirit and energy of the animal. Animal sculpting in clay with Susan Halls (14 - 19 February Five Days £594 Suitable for all).

Enjoy the fascinating details of avian form, feathers, wings, eggs and nests. Create a watercolour composition with examples from hawk, game, garden and hedgerow birds. Learn dry brush technique, weaving fine texture and achieving subtle colour and tonal combinations to enhance and add luminosity to your painting. Feather and nest - dry brush watercolour painting with Suzanne Balchin (27 March to 1 April Five Days £519 Suitable for all).

Make a sculptural insect, reptile, fish or bird for your garden or pond from sheet metal and recycled materials. Develop your design idea as you explore techniques including cutting, heating and cooling, forming and shaping. Metal birds and bugs - making outdoor sculptures (7 - 10 April Long Weekend £376 Suitable for all).


Wake up to beautiful views over the Sussex Downs in the stately splendour of a country mansion. The bedrooms are a mixture of contemporary and traditional styling. From £102 per person (a twin room for two nights).

For more information about Short Courses at West Dean and to browse the digital brochure visit First time bookings receive a 10% discount (telephone bookings only call +44 (0)2143 818300).


Notes to editors

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation which also comprises West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • West Dean College offers over 700 creative short courses and is internationally renowned for teaching in Conservation and Creative Arts.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • Any journalist interested in visiting the Gardens, attending a course or an event for news or review purposes or filming at West Dean should contact the Media Relations Team.
  • 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 and high-resolution digital images, please contact

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


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ