Tag Archives: craft

The Gentleman Crafter – as seen on TV and now on the road!

A post by Jenny…

We all like to share and re-post helpful FB comments, Tweets etc. that raise awareness of charities, disabilities and even political issues.

This is all very well, but apart from raising peoples’ awareness of these issues what does it actually help to achieve?
I for one am not really sure.  I find myself reading these things (sometimes, if I have time) but don’t actually do anything about it and I am sure there are a lot more out there that do the same as me.

So to actually help and hopefully make a little change, Vitreus Art is getting involved  with The Gentleman Craftsman, AKA Mr John Bloodworth  as he sets out on his new charity challenge – The All Counties Craft Challenge.JohnB

https://gentlemancrafter.wordpress.com/all-counties-craft-challenge/

We will be giving over our studio space on the 6th & 7th August so John can run two days of paper crafting in aid of MIND (http://www.mind.org.uk/about-us/)

In short MIND provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding – and a lot more besides.

The Gentlman Crafter (as he likes to be known) will be traveling the length and breadth of the United Kingdom in his trusty campervan and inviting people to take part in all manner of crafts.
You can book on to any of his workshops whether it be in your county or not, and learn a vast array of different crafts with John.

Some of these events will take place in his campervan so numbers are limited, due to space. Others will take place in venues like ours at Vitreus Art, Village Halls, anywhere able to provide a space for John to teach his crafts to like-minded people.
All proceeds will be going to support MIND.

Check out The Gentleman Crafter’s website to find out more about The All Counties Challenge – https://gentlemancrafter.wordpress.com/all-counties-craft-challenge/

If you would like to book on to one of the days being held at Vitreus Art’s studio-gallery you will need to be quick as spaces are limited here!
The cost of the workshops here are £30 for the day, and will include the materials you will need for the day.
The ARTea Rooms on site here will be open for lunch or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch with you.  Tea, coffee, soft drinks will be offered during the day as will biscuits!!

During the day you will create a framed paper art picture. This will incorporate various paper shaping techniques including quilling, paper cutting, scoring and folding for artistic effect, punching and making dimensional paper folds all of which will lead up to the finished piece. It’s going to be amazing!

All that for an amazing £30 per person which will go to MIND!!

To book go here and choose the required date, you can pay via card or paypal, it couldn’t be simpler: https://gentlemancrafter.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/all-counties-craft-challenge-group-workshop-potterspury-northamptonshire/#more-7823

If you can’t make the dates for this workshop but would still like to make a donation then please go here https://www.gofundme.com/allcountiescraft

It really is in aid of a good cause which needs all the support it can get, so please do help in some way.
Please don’t be like me and just read about it, take some action – NOW!!

Thank you.
Jenny T (50% of Vitreus Art)

 

The art of giving – guest post from Jenny Timms

Jenny Timms - stained glass artist

Jenny Timms – stained glass artist

The Art of Giving….(or not)!
A guest post by Jenny Timms of Vitreus Art

A few days ago I spent a very pleasant evening at my first Christmas Shopping Evening. Mulled wine and mince pies, Christmas tree and decorations – all in place to make those coming through the door get into the ‘Spirit of Christmas’. Already I hear you cry… It’s only November!!

For me personally Christmas should be about being with your family and friends, eating lots for food, playing silly family games and possibly having one or two glasses too many of Gran’s sweet sherry.

But, for so many it’s all about the ‘bad’ advertising running on the TV (and this year seems particularly bad too me). The kids making a list of all the nasty plastic toys, that will probably just about make it into the New Year, if the batteries last that long; the latest electronic gadgets, the most expensive perfumes and the list goes on.

What happened to the wonderful jumpers granny used to make and wrap? I hear children talking with each other about the most expensive gifts (yes, more than one!) on their list, and they’ll put them at the top, ‘coz mum and dad think what’s at the top is the most important!

Mum and Dad are stressing because most of the gifts on the kids’ lists are around £100 or more each, and they still have the turkey to buy. The children give little or no thought to the cost, it’s just the latest thing in the playground and they must have it.

So what to do?
Say ‘No you can’t have it’, and potentially ruin Christmas because you will ultimately upset the children and they will sulk all day?
Or buy the gift on the top of the list and have a semi-happy day because they have received at least one gift on the list?

Well, for me personally I would say ‘No’; they’ll get over it (bah humbug, I hear you cry) – honestly they do, mine did. And because of my saying ‘NO’, they have learnt the importance of what Christmas means in our house – family time, not purchasing power!

All of my personal views don’t mean you can’t buy gifts. Indeed, I do buy gifts for the family, but they are gifts that have thought associated with them – not advertising power! Hence why I spent last Thursday evening at the Hertfordshire Craft Collective at their Christmas Shopping evening – it’s a place that makes and sells some lovely arts and crafts and interesting vintage fashion.

Also, over the next few weeks in the run up to the ‘Big Day’ – why not take time away from the High Street and visit some of the wonderful Arts & Craft Events that spring up at this time of year.
At these events you will find art, craft and gifts being sold by the artists and crafts people that actually made them – these are not items that have been mass produced or mass advertised, but lovingly created with time, energy and creative thought by an artist.

So before you hit the High Street or the online shopping button – think, what do your gift ideas say about you?
Advertising power, children power – Do they have you in their grip?
Or thoughtfulness and family times – special gifts that you have gone to the trouble to find?

I will now leave you to ponder this.

And to help divert you for the High Street may I recommend you visit the St Albans Christmas Art & Gift Fair on the 3rd December –10am to 5pm?

This is an event organised by Herts Visual Arts and you’re sure to see a wealth of tasty craft and art work, handy for Christmas!
Mike and I will be there with our stained glass Christmas decorations too!
The Old Town Hall, Marketplace, St. Albans AL3 5DJ. www.hvaf.org.uk

And another little suggestion – if you must go to the High Street, why not take a look in some of the lovely arts and craft galleries that have sprung up recently?

Take a look here for some handy places near our studios to visit –
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/buy.html – you’ll find them listed on the right-hand side of the page.

And dare I say it before the 1st December?! Happy Christmas to you and your family.

P.S. To those of you that are religious I apologise, I do know that Christmas has more important values for you – but this blog is written with the world of consumerism in mind.

To share your craft…. Or not?

A guest post by Jenny Timms, Vitreus Art.

To share your craft…. Or not?

Vitreus Art - Jenny Timms teaching stained glass

Jenny teaching a group of intermediate students

As you may know I am one half of Vitreus Art – a small stained glass art studio based in Buckinghamshire. We design and make stained glass art to be displayed in the home,in windows or the garden.
We make pieces ranging in size from small simple sun-catchers to large statement, privately commissioned work.

Mike (the other half, of Vitreus Art!) and I started our company a few years ago after taking a one day stained glass course. This was after seeing some glass work which we both really liked in our favourite place – Porthleven, Cornwall (pay it a visit sometime, it is the most Southerly Harbour on the UK mainland – and it’s a wonderful place).

Anyway I digress, sorry.

Mike and I now teach our craft (or is it an art form? That I think is another question to look at another time).

One of the questions we’re often asked by our students, and others is, “Aren’t you teaching people to become competition?”
Well,  maybe we are, but I don’t mind. It’s taken us sometime to get to where we are, so I think it will probably take our students sometime to catch us up (I hope!).

In years gone past people would have learnt the craft – which was needed back then to create windows for the home – by being trained as an apprentice or by the craft being handed down from father to son. But that is no longer the case. If you want to learn the craft of stained glass art you have to study at college or like us take a simple course and follow that up with years of practice.

Personally, for me I think it is important to share this craft with others, as otherwise it risks being a dying art form.

Both Mike and I get an immense amount of pleasure seeing our students arriving in the morning with little knowledge of what they will be going home with at the end of the day, and then  seeing them leave us exhausted, but having achieved so much, in just 8 hours!
They will have learnt many new skills and will be taking home a beautiful piece of art work which we hope they will treasure for many years to come.

Some of our students will go on to take up the craft; others may tell their friends about the course. We’re always delighted to hear from past students who have bitten the bullet and bought a set of tools and started making pieces!

Even if they do no more glass work, their friends may join us and take up the craft – so one way or another this chain will go on and the craft thrive.

So for me, yes, it is important to share the craft, and I hope others agree.

Get in touch or leave a comment and tell us about your craft experiences!

Jenny

Thanks Monty Don, Mastercrafts Stained Glass

Yes, thanks to Monty Don – much admired by green-fingered housewives (so I understand).

On the 19th April 2010 the BBC broadcast an episode of Monty Don’s programme Mastercrafts, following 3 stained glass novices as they  learned how to design and construct stained glass panels. The programme concluded with a competition to win and create a commission for a local school.
BBC programme link here…

The students were taught by hugely experienced artist Sophie Hussein over a period of 6 weeks. Naturally the 1-hour programme condensed the processes and left much out – but it was still a very interesting piece of TV.

For me it was good to see genuine crafts being given a respectful airing, rather than the superficial ‘here’s one I made earlier’ treatment by another programme last year. (No names, no pack drill…)

Why do I bring this up now, 6 months after the show aired?
Because yet again, at the weekend as Jenny and I were teaching a class of beginners on our one-day stained glass workshop, a member of the public visiting the adjacent gallery (Rowans Galley, Brackley) said to me – ‘Oh, I saw that programme with Monty Don and I thought – that would be nice to try.’

I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said something like that to one of us when we’ve been exhibiting or demonstrating since the programme went out.

And a number of those keen, arty folks have signed up to one of our classes to find out how it’s done;  some have since gone out and bought the tools and got started on their own projects.

So thanks Monty, Sophie (and the 3 talented students featured)!

If you’ve been stimulated by the programme, or would like to try stained glass, we offer our Introduction to Stained Glass course just for you!
Get in touch to find out more or visit my stained glass website.
www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes

I’d like to hear what got you started with your craft or artistic passion – leave a comment!

 

Stained glass – art or craft?

Is stained glass an art, or a craft?

We’re art workers. No, we’re craft workers. Or are we?

We design images that will be realised in stained glass – a discipline that imposes a number of practical and mechanical constraints. The design has to be informed by those constraints, and those constraints often result in a design that has evolved some way from the original picture in the mind’s eye.
And then we make our design. But is it art?

Does that matter?
Well – to some it does. When we show our work at art shows we often find ourselves in conversation with other artists working in traditional media – painters, sculptors and so on.
It’s clear that some of them regard what we do as ‘beneath’ art – not real art.
Given the general level of strangeness and indefinability of much of modern art I’m frankly astonished that any real artist would presume to define art in such a preremptory manner!

But if we show our work at craft shows, it’s all too apparent that we don’t fit in.
Our fellow exhibitors (is that the right word, if it’s not an exhibition?) have made things – with their hands, on a lathe, on a potter’s wheel. But the element of design involved in making a wood turned bowl, or a handbag, beautiful though it may be, doesn’t really constitute art does it?

So to resolve this – let’s say that stained glass is an art form that requires some very specific and challenging crafting abilities. Just creating a design that can be made from glass is a skill, without getting to the stage where one cuts the glass or solders the piece together.

After all, if a sheep in formaldehyde is art, if an unmade bed is art, then a piece of stained glass that will infuse your room with colour whenever the sun shines is definitely art.

Champagne Bubbles, Vitreus Art

Champagne Bubbles, Vitreus Art