The annual West Dean Arts and Craft Festival is all about getting involved, learning new skills and expert tips. So it is very exciting that for the first time, Abdollah Nafisi from BBC Two’s hugely popular TV series ‘The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts’ will be taking part in the Festival, which takes place within the beautiful grounds of West Dean College of Arts and Conservation in West Sussex from Friday, May 31 – Sunday, June 2, 2019.
West Sussex-based Abdollah, and his partner Kate, will be demonstrating three of the key elements of making a Sussex chair in Victorian times, such as hand spoke shaving on a Shavehorse; Pole-lathing on a foot powered machine to turn the spokes to the right size and Steam bending, in a box full of steam to make the spokes malleable and bend into curved shapes
“Kate and I are looking forward to being involved in West Dean’s Arts and Craft Festival at the end of May. Not only will we be demonstrating the skills and techniques which go into making a Sussex chair, we will be bringing along the original chair, that I made on the TV series. It was inspired by the work of William Morris but handmade under the clock and without electric power tools.”.
The Festival, which is open each day from 10am – 5pm, offers visitors the opportunity to try their hand at something new in a fun environment. There are almost 1,000 places in workshops and classes giving visitors the opportunity to have-a-go at a wide variety of activities in addition to the Summerhouse trail which will offer the chance to have a go at various crafts such as jewellery and rag-rug making. Also throughout the weekend, there will be a selection of free drop-in interactive demonstrations ranging from painting to large-scale weaving and even a river-powered kinetic art installation. Visitors can buy unique crafted items, as well as see the work of emerging artists, and 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.
Tickets cost £10.50 for adults in advance and £12.50 on the day, while children under 16 years are FREE. www.westdean.org.uk/events
West Dean College of Arts and Conservation can be found on Social Media: https://twitter.com/westdeancollege
[Credits: Feature image – Abdollah Nafisi and his wife Kate (West Dean Press Office); West Dean College of Arts and Conservation; The Edward James Foundation]