Festival

West Dean Arts and Craft Festival

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Over 200 artists, makers, writers and performers gather together for the UK's definitive arts and craft festival.

Be inspired by an outstanding showcase of arts and craft. Enjoy the theatre of live demonstrations, get hands-on in taster workshops, drop in and have-a-go on the craft hut trail, and shop with MADE from 120 superb makers and designers. Tap into the College's rich history of arts and craft as you discover works from the collection and enjoy tours, talks and screenings inside West Dean House.

What's on?

  • Arts and craft demonstrations
  • Live artist talks and performances
  • Arts and craft fair marketplace with 120 stallholders by MADE
  • Print Fair by MADE
  • Talks inside the historic West Dean House
  • Annual House Opening
  • Hands-on workshops (additional charge)
  • Creative writing talks, readings and bookstall
  • Garden tours
  • Grass maze
  • Hut trail - drop in and join in crafts
  • Micro exhibitions
  • Food and drink

Hands-on Workshops

Have a go and try out a new skill in hands-on workshop and make something to take home. Workshops are 1 ½ hours and are a small additional charge. Places are limited so advance booking is recommended.

Please note: covered footwear is required when taking the following workshops, Mosaics, Woodcarving and Stonecarving.

Workshops are now bookable online when you purchase a ticket to the art and craft fair:

View the hands-on workshops timetable

Discover the children's workshops

Demonstrations

See blacksmithing, metalwork, millinery, textiles, tapestry, painting and more as skilled makers demonstrate their crafts. Chat to the craftspeople about their techniques, buy their handmade work or simply enjoy watching them in action.

Talks and Live Arts and Crafts

Be amazed by live arts performances and talks by emerging artists and West Dean graduates. Whether you choose to watch or participate, you're guaranteed to be entertained. There will also be inspiring talks by West Dean tutors, on their own practice, residencies, commissions or on West Dean College founder Edward James, our Archive and more.

Dr Hope Wolf, Curator of Sussex Modernism exhbition will be talking about Surreal Sussex and Matthew Read, Horologist and Conservation of Clocks programme tutor at West Dean College, brings to life the fascinating history of the Bowes Museum's Silver Swan.

View the talks timetable

The live arts and performances timetable will be announced soon.

Photo Credit: Claire Collinson, The Silver Swan, The Bowes Museum.

Shopping and Exhibitor Gallery

Browse and buy unique pieces from 120 makers and designers. Once again, we've teamed up with MADE, (of the Brighton Art Fair and MADE London, the Design and Craft Fair) to bring you the very best in quality and design. You can also explore the dedicated printmakers show for exclusive prints and artworks.

View the exhibitors gallery

House Opening

Explore the historic state rooms and view the surrealist works of art on display as you follow a self-guided route through the Edwardian house. Alongside the historic collection, discover the secrets of the archives and see installations from our Visual Arts and Conservation students.

The Old Dining Room showcases a dramatic sculptural collaboration between Visual Arts students Hala Sabet and Lester Korzilius, inspired by René Magritte.

In the Music Room you will find a sculpture inspired by Leonora Carrington by MFA student Sarah Cliff. You can also view the rarely opened former bedroom of Evelyn James, and encounter an immersive art work inspired by Edward James' love of birds. See live conservation projects by degree and diploma students showcased in the 'Conservation in Focus' exhibition.

Families and children can enjoy spotting the lobsters hidden throughtout the house (pushchairs must to be left in the gazebo outside the house).

Please note: West Dean House is a historic house with several changes in floor level. For our guests with restricted mobility only the ground floor is wheelchair accessible; this includes the historic state rooms, the college dining room and workshops. Please contact us for more information.

Hut trail

Drop in to the huts and follies throughout the gardens and try out a range of crafts from knitting, sewing, gardening and more. Chose to watch or join-in before going to find the next one. Look out for the grass maze.

View the festival hut trail map

Gallery

Enjoy a creative day out set against the historic West Dean College
Have a go at woodcut printing in a hands-on workshop
Browse expert makers in the marketplace, including Tom Alywin exhibiting his unique Contour Boxes
The iconic footprint carpet, part of the surreal interior of West Dean House
Shopping at the West Dean crafts fair
A rare chance to step inside the Marble Hall at West Dean College
What will you see inside the Artichoke House camera obscura?
Drop in and join Christine Felce on the Hut Trail, make your own print using blocks, leaves and card.
Plenty to see and do at the West Dean Arts and Craft Festival
The Music Room- Sculpture by Visual Arts student Sarah Cliff, MFA, inspired by Leonora Carrington.
Learn to throw on a potter's wheel in a hands-on pottery workshop
Listen to a packed programme of arts and craft talks at the West Dean Fair
Room 43 - An Asylum of Noise, Installation by Laura Luna Castillo and Jonathan Turner-Bishop inspired by Edward James' love of birds.
Artist Flora McLachlan exhibiting her work in the Print Fair
Discover the pop-up exhibition 'Dyeing Now: Contemporary Makers Celebrate Ethel Mairet’s Legacy'
Sculpt a limestone bird on a stone carving workshop with Paula Haughney
Learn how to knit on the craft Hut Trail
Children's workshops and the glorious gardens will keep the whole family entertained
Wet wool felt making children's workshop activity