SUNSHINE boosted West Dean’s first-ever Design and Craft Fair – with more than 5,000 people flocking to the three-day event.
The picturesque estate was transformed with craft tents, giving visitors the opportunity to learn new crafts from experts and peruse unique work from British designers.
The college offered creative taster workshops to more than 700 visitors who learnt pottery and jewellery making, willow work and print making.
“People of all ages and abilities took part in our creative workshops, many of whom had never been to West Dean before,” said Alison Baxter, head of creative enterprise at the college.
“We hope to welcome many of them back on one of our short courses, now they have had a taste of what we offer.”
A spokeswoman for West Dean said: “Visitors took advantage of free talks and demonstrations by West Dean tutors in the creative hub, including professional florist Sue Hingston, master weaver Phil Sanderson and Matthew Reid, clocks conservation programme leader.
High-quality designers and makers from Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire displayed and sold their unique work in the marketplace. The area was curated by the team behind MADE London and Brighton which celebrate innovative design.
Visitors also had free entry to the newly-restored sunken gardens at West Dean.
Gardens manager Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain, gardens supervisor, gave walks and talks in the gardens on Friday and Saturday afternoon. There were also performances by the West Dean choir.
West Dean College runs more than 700 short courses in arts, crafts, gardening and music each year as well as postgraduate programmes in visual arts, conservation and making stringed musical instruments.