Traditional chair seating, with either cane, rush, willow or cord, will be taught depending on projects brought. It is preferable that you bring your own chairs, but if this is not possible, stools for rushing and small practice frames for caning may be purchased at West Dean College, provided these are pre-ordered and the tutor is informed two weeks in advance (please email email@example.com).
The course aims to give a good grounding in whichever seating technique you choose, to explain the stages of this work and the methods of preparing and handling the materials. Beginners may complete one rush dining chair, or complete/partially complete one caned bedroom chair during the course, or reach a stage where they can easily finish at home. You will be given demonstrations and instructions for the final techniques if necessary.
Caning: the six-way standard method of caning will be taught unless you prefer to learn another pattern, for the purpose of matching with a set etc. As time permits, other patterns can be practised on sample frames, if desired.
Rushing: rush will be used to give the traditional English rush chair seat pattern unless the chair has been worked previously in another way. Continental patterns may be woven if appropriate.
Other seats: Danish cord, seagrass or willow can be used for seating provided that the tutor is contacted beforehand (please email firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you are bringing chairs to work on it is essential that the chair structure is in sound condition and you do the necessary preparatory work before the course – see below. Should you need to contact the tutor please email via the bookings office.
On the first evening we will assess the chairs or stools brought in by students and look at the materials we will be using over the weekend.
Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above
Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.
6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).
8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.
Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.
From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).
Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.
Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.
Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.
(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)
Rachael South was taught chair caning by her father who had also learned from his father. She has been teaching for eight years and has original woven furniture on display at the Museum of London and is a member of the Basketmakers Association and a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers.