So West Dean

I  led my first 'in-person workshop in close to a year at West Dean College as part of a series of special one-off courses to mark the 50th anniversary of its founding by Edward James, poet, patron of the arts and visionary of the 20th century. James donated his family home and estate to fulfil this desire to nurture music, traditional crafts, and the fine arts

The train strike meant I had an unplanned day at West Dean to enjoy walking the gardens and sketching before setting  up the workshop confident in the knowledge that good friends were popping in to see Derek.

The wider gardens and surrounding landscape at West Dean Gardens  yet the gardening team have been hard at work  looking at drought tolerant plants and creating new stag beetle habitats and bug hotels. There are lots of useful gardening tips form head gardener Tom and the team on the Whats New gardens website link.

The greenhouses and the walled garden were as beautiful and abundant as ever.

The workshop 'Extreme Stitching' was just a day. We explored the connections between paper and cloth  and approaches we could take in adapting simple straight stitches common in the creative traditions of Sashiko and Kantha to expressive mark-making. It was fabulous to be able to draw upon knowledge gained during my studies in Japan to create expression in the work. Thank you to all the  participants on the day who made my return to teaching such a positive experience and for sharing their works in progress below

Whilst personal circumstances are restricting where and how I work, I can see possibilities for some work in place in the future and look forward to returning to West Dean next year.

The weekend allowed me time to reflect, work  with others and enjoy exchanging ideas about creative practice in such a lovely space.

On the last evening I was able to sit and listen to a lecture recital by Hugh Millington as part of the  West Dean International Classical Guitar Festival Open Day. A perfect end to my brief respite.


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