West Dean Arts & Craft Festival
Friday 31 May – Sunday 2 June, 10am – 5pm
Live arts and craft at a unique arts destination
Get hands-on with drop-in workshops and crafts, watch demonstrations, buy unique handmade items, meet the makers and see the work of emerging artists at West Dean College of Art and Conservation, near Chichester. Discover the legacy of College founder Edward James (1907 – 1984), who inspired generations of artists, makers, designers and writers as “… the greatest English patron of art of the early 20th Century” BBC Arts Online.
With almost 1,000 places to have-a-go in workshops and classes offers the chance to get involved in free drop-in Demonstrations and Summerhouse trail such as painting; large-scale weaving and even a river-powered kinetic art installation. Visitors can also buy unique crafted items, see the work of emerging artists, have a rare opportunity to step inside the historic house which houses the Mae West Lips Sofa and Lobster Telephone – Edward James’ iconic collaboration with Salvador Dali.
Demonstrations and Summerhouse Trail
For the first time, there will be a selection of drop-in demonstrations from painting to tapestry where visitors can watch artists at work or join in. Still life artist George Popesco, who works in oil paints to form expressive and sculptural artworks, will be demonstrating on Friday. On Saturday, contemporary illustrator and portrait artist Paul Cox, will be sharing his 30 years of expertise, while on Sunday, practicing painter Andrew Fitchett, who has been a tutor at West Dean since 2006 will be taking to the easel! Throughout the weekend, there will be a Scaffolding Tapestry “drop in” where West Dean’s master weaver Phil Sanderson will be encouraging visitors of all ages to have a go! Throughout the entire weekend, artist and sculptor Dan Lobb, who has exhibited at Hampton Court Flower Show and featured on Gardeners World, will be asking visitors to get involved by contributing to a riverpowered kinetic art installation using items from the natural surroundings such as leaves and twigs.
There will also be a chance to chat to a variety of skilled craftspeople about their work and techniques. Watch and enjoy demonstrations in blacksmithing with Peter Parkinson, whose recent book is titled Making Sculpture from Scrap Metal; and ceramics with Frances Doherty, who trained in 3D design and her work is sold internationally, and more.
There’s no need to book, just pop into one of the summerhouses around the gardens to have a go at making or taking part. New for this year, activities include origami jewellery with Renata Mayumi, a Japanese Brazilian based in Lisbon, was trained at Lisbon Jewellery Centre and attended several jewellery and experimental paper courses in Japan, UK and Germany; embroidery with Emily Peacock, who is a contemporary needlework designer known for her vibrant and edgy designs that most typically mix her love of colour and typography. Marilyn Phipps is renowned for her vibrant colour palette which she uses to make bold and exciting beaded jewellery inspired by her visits to Kenya and rag rug maker Debbie Siniska has worked as a textile artist for over 25 years, using traditional hand tools and recycled textiles.
West Dean College attracts some of the country’s best craftspeople and artists, so it’s no surprise that there are more than 20 workshops a day, that’s almost 1,000 places! They offer the opportunity to try a new skill and make something to treasure under the guidance of one of the expert tutors. All adult workshops are 1.5 hours long and all materials are included in the workshop price. Choose from pottery, painting, printmaking, making automata, willow weaving, jewellery making, carving and many more, and discover a new passion.
New for 2019 will be Modern Brush calligraphy with Kirsten Burke, who will be teaching the tips and tricks of modern calligraphy with a variety of brush pens in different colours and finishes, as well as Satirical cartooning with Private Eye Cartoonist, Guy Venables and Automata with Stephen Guy. Workshops are suitable for all but children aged 12-16yrs need to be accompanied by an adult.
A variety of workshops are available for children aged 5-12years (Must be accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket). Lasting for 90 minutes and costing £8, they range from UV resin jewellery and Polymer clay jewellery to plaster cast and printmaking, textured pinch pots and hanging mobiles.
Exhibitors range from typographists to textile designers and jewellers; chair makers, milliners and printmakers. Among the exhibitors will be TypeTom.com, who is exhibiting for 2nd time. With over 10 years’ experience in Letterpress printing & designing for both trade & personal clients he has worked with a wide variety of people and organisations including Tate Modern, Southbank Centre, V&A, Fortnum & Mason, Design Museum to name a few.
Exhibiting for the first time will be London-based Romor Designs, which was formed in the autumn of 2015 by Rob Jones, a shibori textiles designer and natural dyer. Having discovered Shibori, the ancient Japanese art of resist dyeing, at West Dean, Rob went on to study in Japan.
We are Mountain was started by Sophie Mutter who decided to change careers from being Picture Editor on OK! Magazine after doing a course at West Dean. She produces bright and colourful prints, tea towels and greetings cards inspired by the seaside and natural world.
The House – Things to see and do…
There is a multitude of things to see and do in and around the house, including the first public screening of a 35-minute film shot by Edward James and Tilly Losch on their honeymoon in 1931, recently digitised by Screen Archive South East, with a new soundtrack by West Dean’s first composer-in-residence, Mary Hampton.
There will be site-specific artworks created; a showcase of the Conservation and Making programmes at West Dean; and each day at 11am, there will be Flash Fiction readings from Creative Writing students.
West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ