Tag Archives: stained glass

Stained glass classes from Vitreus Art – a summary

Fancy trying your hand at stained glass?

Maybe you have a project in mind? Make windows for your home, glass sculpture for your garden, glass art for your walls?
Or perhaps the idea of learning a thousand-year-old craft appeals?

Well – read on – we run all sorts of stained glass classes (and more) for all levels from beginners up, and have a programme of project days to enable you to create your own projects without having to buy tools and find a suitable space to work!

Below is a summary of the stained glass classes we run; if you’re looking for something more specialised get in touch.

Stained Glass copper foil method
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/stained-glass-classes-beginners-foiling.html

Suitable for – all levels including beginners, those who’ve tried leading, those who want to learn to cut glass accurately. This class can be held on a weekday if required.

What you will learn – glass cutting, using the grinder to achieve accurate fit, the ‘Tiffany’ method of SG, a little about the history of this method, bead soldering, some design basics.

This method is suitable for – highly decorative pieces, 3d designs (like lamps and boxes), indoor display, large pieces where supported by a board or frame.

The copper foil method of stained glass emerged in the Tiffany Studios of New York in the 1880s, and is sometimes called the ‘Tiffany Method’ even now.
Foiling is particularly suitable for domestic art as designs with many small sections of glass can be made without the constraints of the properties of the lead used in the traditional leading method.

On our copper foil class you’ll make a window hanging piece roughly A4 in size, plus a mini project in the morning to practice the key skills.
We provide a choice of 5 designs to make, ranging from a Victorian style panel to a Mondrian-inspired design, with art-deco, sunrise and Mackintosh-Rose designs too.

You’ll choose from a wide range of coloured glass and learn a little about how art glass is made too.

Stained Glass traditional leading
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/stained-glass-classes-beginners-leading.html

Suitable for all levels inc beginners, those who’ve tried foiling, those who want to learn how to make weatherproof panels – eg windows, doors, garden sculptures. This class can be held on a weekday if required.

What you will learn – glass cutting, using the grinder to achieve accurate fit, the traditional method of assembling a panel using lead cames, joint soldering, some of the history of traditional stained glass, some design basics.

This method is suitable for – larger panels, window or door panels that need to be weatherproof, designs that benefit from clean join lines of consistent width, where a traditional appearance is desired.

Using lead to join together pieces of glass to form a weatherproof window is a construction method that can be traced back to around 750AD in the UK.

On our leading class you’ll make a garden panel – a piece of glass art you can display in your garden (or indoors).

As with the foiling class, you’ll make a mini project in the morning; you’ll then have the rest of the day to make your main project. We provide 5 starter designs to choose from, and a range of coloured glass.
No two students’ projects are alike!

If your goal is to learn how to make a window for your home, this is the ideal starting point.
The leading method is still used to make windows today, and is also the preferred choice for larger pieces where the strength limitations of foiling would be a problem.

When making a window, there are considerations concerning panel fit, strength and weatherproofing that are key to a successful and long-lasting installation; we suggest getting some further experience in leading before committing to a window. Of course we’ll be happy to help with this; in fact, this is what our Leading Level 2 class is intended to support – see below.

Stained Glass mirror making (using copper foil method)
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/stained-glass-classes-beginners-mirrors.html

Suitable for all levels inc beginners, those who’ve tried foiling and want to develop their skills, those who want to make art with a function.
This class can be held on a weekday if required.

What you will learn – glass cutting, using the grinder to achieve accurate fit, the ‘Tiffany’ method of SG, using silvered glass in stained glass, a little about the history of this method, bead soldering, some design basics

This method is suitable for – mirrors of sizes up to a practical maximum of 75cms on the longest side, indoor mirror designs, incorporating mirrored glass as components in to decorative stained glass designs

This class (although also suitable for beginners) goes beyond basic foiling and introduces a number of new techniques. The outcome is a practical mirror that can be displayed and used!
The structure of this class includes additional steps specific to mirrors, and covers the use of patina too.

There’s more to learn for students who’ve already tried foiling so we recommend this class as a fun and interesting level two class for those keen to develop their foiling skills beyond the basics.

Stained Glass lamp making (using copper foil method)
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/stained-glass-classes-beginners-lamps.html

Suitable for- Suitable for all levels inc beginners, those who’ve tried foiling and want to learn how to make 3d objects, those who want to make art with a function.

What you will learn – glass cutting, using the grinder to achieve accurate fit, the ‘Tiffany’ method of SG, how to assemble and solder 3d objects using jigs, using patina to enhance your lamp, fitting lamp hardware in to a finished lamp.

This method is suitable for – column lamps (as made on this workshop), ‘Tiffany-style’ lampshades, fan-style lamp shades, tea-light and candle-holders, terraria and decorative glass boxes.

This class develops on the foiling basics covered on our 1-day beginner’s class with more challenging designs, and the added learning opportunities associated with building a 3d object in glass.

Students who’ve done some foiling will benefit from the greater emphasis on cutting accuracy and an introduction to the methods used to solder glass sections in to 3d objects.
The outcome of the weekend will be a stylish stained glass column lamp – a style that’s very much in vogue these days, and one that suits most interior decoration styles!

 Stained Glass etching
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/stained-glass-classes-etching.html

Suitable for – those who made some copper foil or leaded projects and want to learn how to add etched details.
This class can be held on a weekday if required.

What you will learn – using etch resist and scalpel to prepare glass for etching, handling, preparing and using etching cream.

This method is suitable for – etched glass can be incorporated in to foiled or leaded projects, and is suitable for outdoor use in leaded projects.

Perhaps you’ve seen glass with an attractive frosted design?
Or maybe you’d like to add delicate details (especially numbers and letters) to your glass-work?
Etching is a studio-friendly way to achieve this look without the need for a sandblasting set-up with chamber and air compressor.

The chemicals needed are safe to handle if used as specified, and suitable for home experimentation.

This class requires some experience of stained glass work, as the majority of the class time is spent on designing the etched components.

As etching is equally suitable for leaded and copper foil projects this added technique will appeal to all glass experimenters – and it can also be used on fused glass (after fusing).

Stained Glass design workshop
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/stained-glass-design-workshop.html

Suitable for – those who’ve attended beginners classes in leading or foiling and want to create their own designs; beginners are recommended to attend at least one beginner’s class before joining this session.

What you will learn – the design rules for working with glass, how to translate a sketch or photograph in to a workable stained glass design, cutting difficult shapes in glass.

This method is suitable for – your new design skills can be applied to all sorts of stained glass projects, including both foiling and leading.

This class requires some experience of stained glass work, as the majority of the class time is spent understanding design principles and the constraints working with glass brings.

If you’d like to use what you’ve learnt on this class and make a stained glass panel of your own design, our Project Days programme may be the best way to develop your skills further. 

Stained Glass Leading Level 2
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/stained-glass-classes-leading-level2.html

Suitable for – those who’ve done leaded stained glass  before or who have attended our beginner’s leading class (aka garden panels).
Beginners are recommended to attend our 1-day beginner’s class before joining this session.
This class can be held on a weekday if required.

What you will learn – cutting glass more accurately than is expected on a beginner’s class, cutting and shaping leads to higher standards of precision, cutting and leading to pre-set dimensions.

This method is suitable for –  – larger panels, window or door panels that need to be weatherproof, designs that benefit from clean join lines of consistent width, where a traditional appearance is desired.

This class is all about developing existing leading and glass cutting skills. If you’d like to make your own windows, this class is especially valuable as the structure revolves around building your panel according to the design.

On our beginner’s class we don’t expect your panel to exactly match the design; on this class you’ll build up your panel on top of the design, in the same way you would if you were making a size-critical panel.
This class is intended to give you the confidence to tackle your own projects, and to work independently towards a finished panel of your own design.

Beyond this level 2 class, you can use our Project Days Programme to work on your own stained glass pieces, or join one of our 5-day courses.

Stained Glass Project Days Programme (also available for glass fusers!)
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/project-day-vitreus-art.html

Suitable for – those who’ve done some stained glass work before, in the method to be used for the project.
Beginners with a project in mind are advised to discuss their plans with us to identify the best way to proceed.

These project days are intended to help you achieve your project plans in a supportive environment, using our tools and facilities.

What you make is up to you – but we recommend sharing your plans so we can help you get the best use of your time and materials.
You’re welcome to bring your own materials or you can use ours, charged at cost at the end of your project.

Project days are bookable in advance and usually take place on weekdays although weekend sessions are possible if there are no formal classes taking place on your chosen days.

You can pay for your sessions at the end of the day(s) when we’ll work out the cost of any materials you’ve used too.

Project sessions are ideal for those who are confident in working independently; of course we’d never allow you to struggle and are always on hand for a reminder or gentle encouragement!

Recent projects have included – glass garden sculptures, large windows, garden panels, wall art, fused glass art, slumped glass dishes and more. What would you like to make?

For glass fusers, the cost of each project day includes one firing in the kiln. Additional firings are charged at a nominal cost.
Because of the need to schedule kiln use we invite you to plan your fusing project some time in advance!

Stained Glass 5-day courses in Cornwall or Northamptonshire
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/cornwall2014/index.html

Suitable for – absolute beginners, those who’ve done some (or a lot of) glass work before, anyone with a stained glass project to make who needs a fully tutored course.

The structure of these 5-day courses is tailored entirely to the needs of the students. If you’d like to start at the beginning and follow a class plan, that’s fine.
If you’ve done some glass work before and you’d like to develop your skills through a series of planned exercises, that’s also fine.
Or if you’d like to work on your own project (or more than one project) that’s equally possible.

The course in Cornwall is like an art holiday – Porthleven is a great place to stay and an ideal location for our course – the Lifeboat Studio is an atmospheric venue with plenty of space and light. The harbour village has a range of pubs and restaurants and a choice of accommodation to suit most budgets.

Past attendees on our Porthleven courses have made windows, garden sculptures, all sorts of lamps and lampshades, decorative art, 3d glass objects, large wall art and much more. We’ll discuss your plans with you in advance to make sure they’re achievable (and transportable!) and all attendees are eligible for our ongoing support and advice so the course really is a launchpad for the prospective stained glass artist!

Our 5-day course in Northampton follows a similar concept, with the addition of the option to try glass fusing with the kiln in our studio.
The group size is smaller but we still aim to have fun as well as creative!
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/5daycourse/index.html

Both 5-day courses (and all our 1-day classes) have their own website pages; if you have any questions get in touch!

Thanks for reading – feel free to get in touch, or learn more about each cvlass on its dedicated website page.

Mike (and Jenny) – Vitreus Art

Make your own stained glass column lamp – a new 2-day workshop with Vitreus Art

A finished lamp, made to one of the designs we offer on our 2-day workshop

There are few stained glass projects more satisfying than making a piece that’s decorative and practical at the same time!
Our established stained glass mirror workshop gives you a chance to experience this joy for yourself in a beginner-friendly environment.

And now, after quite a bit of planning and thinking and experimenting, we’ve developed a new workshop – 2 days to make your own stained glass column lamp.
We’ve decided to go for a column lamp design for a couple of reasons – it’s a cool, modern design that suits contemporary home decor moods, and it’s a practical project for a beginner with two days to spend, and no prior experience.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy to make a lamp like this though – there are some challenges to overcome, and that’s what this workshop is all about!

Firstly, cutting your glass. For lamps, one generally uses opal glass – it conceals the lamp and gives a pleasing, diffused illumination. However, the partial opacity of opal glass means cutting on top of the deisng (how stained glass is usually cut) doesn’t work as the design’s cut lines are indistinct, or more likely, invisible!

Cutting glass using a lightbox – essential for accurately cutting opal glass

This is where the lightbox comes in, as the photo shows. Make sure the lightbox you use is sturdy enough to use as a cutting surface, like the ones we use in the studio. Most art lightboxes won’t be – they’re designed to be used for tracing.

It’s essential to make sure all the sides of your lamp will fit together precisely too. This depends partly on the accuracy of your glass cutting, and how you set up your sections when grinding.
This workshop will share all of these techniques with you.

 

 

Using jigs is the way to make sure all the sections of your lamp will fit together properly!

Take a look at how I’ve set up my grinding and soldering jig here – using pins and aluminium strips to ensure the sides of my lamp sections are parallel, and that the sides end up the same size!
I used this when grinding the glass, and then again when soldering.

All our stained glass classes for beginners include an emailed PDF info pack, sharing with you where you can buy tools, glass and hardware. Many of our students have gone on to set up their own studios and have told us this information was invaluable to them, along with our advice – provided free to anyone who’s attended one of our classes!

 

Now – soldering your pieces together.
This is where things get a bit trickier! It’s not possible to solder foiled glass unless it’s horizontal. Just a moment thinking about how lamps are made up of several ‘sides’ joined togther and it’s clear that some arrangement to hold the pieces together while soldering is needed.

Supporting all the sections when soldering them togther – we make our own jigs for this

This is where a jig comes in!
We make all our own kit like this – you may find something suitable online if you don’t have the resources to make your own kit.

The jig needs to perform two functions – holing sides together to allow them to be soldered on the outside, and then to hold them for soldering on the inside.
The jigs we use do both tasks to make life simpler for our students – and ourselves!

Soldering a lamp like this takes a bit of skill, and rather more patience.
Over the years we’ve been teaching lamp-making on our extended courses we’ve developed some techniques that take some of the worry out of this essential stage.
We share these on our workshops of course, and the aim is for each student to finish up with a well-soldered lamp.

The next stage – soldering a brass ‘spider’ gives the lamp more strength, and a means to mount the lamp holder.

For the lamps made on our 2-day workshops we update this with a modern, low-energy LED lamp, which we provide.
The skills and techniques are the same though, so if you fancy making a different type of lamp, you’ll know how to approach it.

The next stage is to patina the lamp – giving a finish that’s a blend of traditional and modern – enhancing the look and making the solder lines look smoother too.

And then it’s time to mount the lamp on to its base. We provide a stained wooden base to finish off the lamp, and conceal the bottom edges of the glass sections.

Want to have a go yourself on our lamp-making 2-day workshop?
This link takes you the page on the Vitreus Art website where you can check out the details and book your place.

Happy lamp-making!

Mike – Vitreus art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you’d like to really get in to making stained glass?

There’s no question – stained glass can be beautiful to look at and enjoyable to make.

The popularity of Vitreus Art’s one-day beginners classes tells us that there are plenty of you out there who fancy having a go.
And the fact that our 5-day courses sell out each year suggests that some of you want to develop your skills or work on substantial projects in a learning environment.

So what advice would we give to someone aiming to build on basic skills, and what learning progressions are available to the student?

We know from our own experience, and from observing how some of our own students have progressed, that there are three areas to think about when discussing this sort of learning process.

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Learn by doing, but with feedback
  • Design your own projects

Let’s look at these in turn, starting with…

 What do you want to achieve?

We often ask our students this – it’s a great way to open any conversation with a student and the range of answers is wide!

For example, some are considering getting in to stained glass as a lifestyle business; I guess they’ve seen our fleet of Lamborghinis outside the gallery and correctly guess stained glass is a path to riches!

Others seek a stimulating artistic hobby, while others yet have a specific project – replace a window in their home is a common project.

The other aspect to this question is – how good do you want to get?
Good enough to make that window, good enough to sell work at galleries or craft shows, good enough even, to make a living?

It’s eminently possible to have fun making stained glass without some higher purpose, and really – you can get as good as you want.
But to get to a standard where you can sell your work – that takes more practice.

It’s also necessary to have an understanding of failure modes so that you don’t sell pieces that will fall apart.
A common issue of this kind is soldering hanging loops to the foil on the edge of a piece; it won’t be long before the foil comes away from the edge of the glass as there’s only the adhesive on the back of the foil to keep it there, and that ain’t that strong!
Better to solder your loops in to a bead (a solder line between two adjoining glass sections).

Or for leaded pieces, a long stretch of U came around the edge of a piece with no joining H cames will also come away from the edge of the glass, no matter how well cemented. Again, don’t solder hanging loops to these cames. Solder them to corners, or to H cames where they meet an edge came.
And we suggest you use silicone glue to secure that long piece of U came to the edge – like on a mirror, for example.

These sorts of tips are often shared in our workshops – we’re always happy to exchange ideas and make suggestions.

If your goal is more lofty than just ‘I want to make glass for fun’ then some business acumen is desirable – and if you’d like to make a living creating glasswork then it’s essential, along with marketing, accounting and selling skills. A realistic perspective on how good your work currently is will help in the long run, even if it seems a bit harsh right now.

Take a look at the work on sale at good craft shows, watch other artists at work if you can (open studios are a good opportunity for this), and ask questions. How does the design, execution, presentation of the pieces you’re looking at compare with yours? Better? In what ways?

Be honest with yourself and don’t be disheartened to discover you’re not there yet – every successful artist and craftsperson had to start as a beginner!
Like all artists, Jenny and I made plenty of pieces while we were novices that wouldn’t pass muster. Even now, sometimes a piece doesn’t work out well enough to sell, but luckily that’s rare or we’d go out of business!

And this follows on to the next element – getting good enough to sell your work if that’s what you want to do, or good enough to make a window that doesn’t let in the rain!

Learn by doing, but with feedback

We’ve been watching the rise of the distance-learning programme for art and craft subjects for some years now.

Indeed, we’ve often thought about setting up our own online course – a structured system with pre-designed projects, each designed to help the student work on a particular aspect of stained glass. Maybe we’ll actually run a course like this one day!

For now, though, there are a few questions we don’t have answers to.

How does the student get real-time feedback on their progress, or on their techniques? I guess the student could send photos of work in progress and finished pieces or share in a closed group, but that just doesn’t seem to provide the degree (and kind) of feedback we like our students to have.

We really enjoy sitting with a student, talking through what they’re doing, showing, demonstrating, observing and providing constructive feedback.
P1010379

We also enjoy having our own work on display in our gallery – we can use pieces as examples of design features, setting a standard of execution, and, we hope, inspiring students on their journey.

We find that it’s so much more effective to give feedback and guidance as the student is working – this is giving feedback the student can use right there and then, rather than after a piece is finished and before the next one is started.

We’ve found, for example, that being able to watch a student position their glass cutter as they prepare to make a score allows us to help them adjust the angle, pressure and placement right there. I don’t know how we would work on that vital skill at a distance!

I could give dozens of examples of this kind of ‘up close and personal’ teaching but I’m sure you get the idea.

As students progress, and especially as they get really confident, or practice at home, we still offer a critique of their finished work at any time – and are always available to talk about displaying or mounting or framing their work too.

Both Jenny and I get a buzz from seeing work produced independently by students past and present.
And we take pride in the amazing pieces many of them have created – often using styles and techniques and materials we haven’t tried ourselves!

Design your own projects

Yes – design your own projects. They don’t have to be complex, or massive. They don’t have to follow a style, or an art era’s visual language, they just need to be yours, like this lovely window, made by Sally on a recent course with us in Porthleven.
12278930_10153495909146284_6444070116217979908_n

There are (literally) millions of projects to find on the internet, many made available free of charge by generous creators. These offer a great opportunity to develop the mechanical skills required for stained glass in your own time but before long you’ll want to make your own designs.

You’ll have to learn about cuts that are impossible or at least very hard to accomplish in glass, you’ll learn about design weaknesses resulting from lead or foil lines that cross the whole piece. You’ll have to learn about balance, colour, manipulating space and creating flow.

This post isn’t the place to teach these skills – they take time, and are often best acquired in the company of skilled tutors,

You could start with a main design element – like a rose or tree, or sun – and build a design around this – one way to design from scratch.
Study existing designs – why do the cut lines go where they do, how are the spaces and shapes balanced, do the proportions please the eye?

Read up on  golden ratios, learn how to draw circles, and find the centres of those circles (use the ‘box’ method – Google is your friend here), and get a book or two on the subject.

Maybe take elements from existing designs and incorporate them in to your own designs and discover how those elements themselves were created

And one further recommendation – learn to make those tricky scores work. Practice cutting deeper and deeper concaves, learn to cut circles accurately; this way your designs won’t have to be limited by your mechanical skills.

We often encounter novices who’ve avoided having to learn these skills by only making pieces with straight lines. Feel the fear and do it anyway!

If you lack confidence at first, use a flexi curve and a French curve, or circle stencils to develop abstract designs to make and thereby hone your skills. Some of the best stained glass we’ve seen was conceived this way. If it looks good and you enjoyed making it, nobody needs to know how you designed it in the first place!

Learning progressions with teachers – where Vitreus Art comes in!

We love what we do, and we want to help others get enjoyment from making stained glass.
This is the ethos behind out programme of classes and courses – take you from beginner to whatever level you aspire to reaching.

You won’t be surprised that  we suggest a beginner’s class to start with. In most counties you’ll find stained glass makers who offer classes – some off classes as an occasional adjunct to their main business while others (like Vitreus Art) run programmes of classes as an integral part of their operation.
Dscf7666

At the risk of appearing to sell you two classes where one might suffice, we usually recommend trying both traditional leading stained glass and then sampling the more modern ‘Tiffany’ or foiling  method. Unless you only intend to make foiled pieces we feel having at least a little competence in both methods hugely broadens the range of projects you can take on, as well as growing your appreciation of the history of stained glass, giving you more confidence in your abilities and aiding your understanding of the design constraints of stained glass.

But then what?

If you already have a project in mind you have two options with us –

If you’re feeling confident in your abilities you can hire a space to work in and the tools you’ll need by the day – as many days as you need to finish your project. These sessions are un-tutored but of course one of us will always be on hand to offer guidance or encouragement. You can buy your own materials or use ours, charged at cost.
Many of our students have made some fantastic work in this way and we like that way our gallery feels when students are working here!

If you’d like to combine working on your own design with a full workshop level of tuition, and with all the glass you’ll need provided, we offer weekend project workshops twice a year (and at other times by arrangement). We set a maximum size for your project in these courses to ensure you can achieve your aims without too much pressure!

We’re flexible about the kind of project you choose to work on  during our weekend workshop but we do ask that you’ll have done at least a beginner’s class in the method you’ll be using for your piece. We’re always happy to talk through your plans before you book to make sure you’re getting the best value from your course place.

And then we have our legendary 5 day courses – held in Porthleven, Cornwall and at our gallery-studio in Northamptonshire, near Milton Keynes.

Open to beginners and those with all levels of experience, these course give you the scope to tackle some really adventurous projects, or make a number of smaller pieces to develop a whole range of skills in one week.

On recent courses students have made projects ranging from highly complex mandala designs, to kaleidoscopes, to prairie-style 4-sided or 6-sided lamps, garden sculptures, windows of many shapes and sizes through to a life-size stained glass sheep to be displayed in the student’s garden!
12141798_10153436528056284_6975931116524733741_n

As with our weekend project workshops, our 5-day courses are fully tutored – and with a student to tutor ratio of 1:4 at the most there’s the scope for a really intensive learning experience.

Our course in Porthleven can be equally thought of as a artistic retreat, a creative holiday and a stained glass course!
We love teaching this course as the range of challenges our students bring to us broadens our own experience, and the environment of our studio right by the sea in a delightful Cornish fishing harbour inspires us as well as our students…

And back at our studio, our October 5-day course gives us the scope to host smaller class sizes for even more personal attention, usually for the most sophisticated projects. As with our other courses, we’ll work with you on your design in advance – to make sure it’s achievable and will withstand transport, hanging or mounting.

The final option for budding stained glass artists is to work with us to develop a programme of learning focused on achieving exactly what you want to achieve – which may involve exercises to develop skills, joint projects where we work with you on your project (like the 4 door windows below) or a weekly or monthly series of projects to test particular aspects of the art (and craft) or stained glass.
Dscf0733So there we have it – if you want to get in to stained glass – for a hobby, to make a project with sentimental significance, for your home, or even to sell, get in touch and we’ll help you get started on your journey!

Mike

 

 

 

 

“Lovely space, really nice work” – warning – Facebook meme within

“Lovely space, really nice work” – a recent comment from a visitor to our gallery and 11427176_10204465462260814_7970850652963678962_nstained glass studio in Northamptonshire.

By now, most people will have seen one of the many Facebook memes going around telling us that every time we buy something from an artist or craft maker we buy a little piece of unique creativity, directing money in to the local economy, helping those artists survive and continue to enrich our lives.

Well, of course I agree with the sentiment, even if I find the memes themselves often a bit saccharine.

And just recently I’ve seen several blog posts from independent shop owners reminding us that small shops and independent cafes or restaurants need to be supported if they are to survive.

Again, I agree wholeheartedly.

Every day something seems to make the chances of survival for small retailers a little poorer – out of town developments, parking restrictions in our towns, tax law changes that give large multi-nationals an unfair competitive advantage.

By design, our business at Vitreus Art is not dependent only on sales of art and crafts – we have a well-attended programme of craft courses plus the art holidays we run in Cornwall and a steady stream of stained glass commissions to keep us busy.

But as a small business we still face many of the same challenges and so we’d like to invite you to help all small retailers continue to offer you nice things the big chain stores don’t!

So what can you do to help keep Britain’s high streets and shopping centres vibrant and independent?

One)
If you see a piece of art in a gallery, or something handmade and delightful, or are tempted by a delicious-looking cake in the window of a tea shop, don’t say ‘I’ll come back and get some Christmas presents later / bring my friend to tea here next year’.

How about buying that piece of art now if you can afford it (art is its own reward!)?
How about biding a while now with a cup of proper tea and a slice of home-made cake?How about getting a huge headstart on the December crowds by buying your Christmas presents now, when you see them, from a crafter at a fair, or a local art gallery or handmade gift shop?

Two)
If you’re in the market for original, collectable art, buy art created by an artist who’s still alive – the dead ones don’t need the money!
History is littered with musical geniuses and artists who died poor and then got rich!

Three)
Instead of waiting for your retirement to try a new craft or take up paint brushes, find a spare Saturday or evening, book yourself on an art or craft course and start creating straight away. Imagine how skilled you’ll be when you do retire!

Four)
If you’re on a tight budget, instead of buying greetings cards (printed in high volume overseas) from high street chains (whose designers and artists receive a mere fraction of the price you pay) buy your cards from a local gallery or gift shop.

I can tell you for every card we sell in our gallery at Wakefield Country Courtyard, the artist gets a useful reward for their work, and not just an insultingly tiny percentage!

Five)
Tell your friends about what you’ve done! Share the business’s Facebook page, join their email newsletter and spread the word!

By doing these things you’ll be playing a part in keeping an artist alive and you’ll be helping the gallery or shop owner stay in business.
If they thrive, that’s one less ‘lovely space’ with ‘really nice work’ in danger of becoming a betting shop or tax-avoiding-paying chain coffee shop!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. You can visit us in person at:
Vitreus Art @ Wakefield
Unit 4, Wakefield Country Courtyard
Near Potterspury, off the A5
NN12 7QX

And online at:
www.vitreus-art.co.uk

And we have greetings cards!

It’s been too long since the last time….the Vitreus Art & Wakefield Gallery March Newsletter

Hello!

With spring tentatively springing and most of us emerging from hibernation it feels like it’s time to turn the creative dial up a bit!

We’ve got lots of fun classes to offer you, new art work in the gallery and some events we hope will get you out and about in the NN12 7QX area!

How about getting to grips with Mixed Media?
Clare Tebboth’s new one-day class will expand your artistic horizons and is suitable for beginners and established artists alike.

Or for the complete beginner, Clare Tebboth’s Painting & Drawing for Beginners will boost your confidence and inspire you to start creating your own masterpieces.
Clare will introduce you to a range of essential techniques including sketching, colour mixing and brush control, use of watercolours and more.
The course takes place over one morning per week for 5 weeks.

Clare Tebboth Mixed Media Madness, 9th May or 6th June £65 per person including materials and lunch.
Clare Tebboth – Painting & drawing for beginners, 5 week course, mornings, £85 for all 5 sessions, starting 24th April, including materials.

Find out about Clare’s courses here:
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes

We’re delighted that Phil Madley (artist and encaustic wax evangelist) is to be running his highly-rated one-day class in our studio. You will use heated scribes, wax irons and coloured waxes to produce abstract art as well as exploring natural subjects via this unusual (and ancient) artform.
Materials are provided and the class is suitable for beginners.

Encaustic Wax art with Phil Madley, Weds 22nd April & Saturday 2nd May, £70 per person including materials and lunch.

Find out more about Phil’s classes here:
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/encaustic-wax.html

And for everyone interested in working in 3d, take a look at what you can achieve on Liz Dixon’s Textile Sculpture classes. Liz will demonstrate the use of textiles and Powertex resin to create unusual figures and sculptures. As with all our classes, materials are included, and so is fun!
Liz tells us that many of her students go on to make more sculptures at home after her classes!

Textile Sculpture with Liz Dixon – 20th June, £95 per person including all materials and lunch.

Find out more about Liz’s classes here:
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/textile-sculpture.html

And for the budding stained glass artists, we’ve added some additional beginners class dates for both leading (aka garden panels) and foiling – the next foiling classes with places available are on 27th June and 25th July, leading on 4th April and 30th May.
These are all suitable for beginners and cost £125 including all materials and lunch.

Find out more about our stained glass classes here:
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/stained-glass-classes.html

And for something glassy but a little different from our stained glass classes, how about learning the art of glass appliqué? Appliqué has been described as ‘see-through mosaic’ and is easy to do at home too.
Jenny will teach you how to use appliqué to make pictures in glass as well as decorate a mirror or a simple glass vase on these Tuesday classes.

Glass appliqué with Jenny Timms – 7th April and 5th May, £60 per person including all materials and lunch.

Find out more about our appliqué classes here:
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/glass-applique.html

All our classes are limited to 6 places (5 for stained glass) so early booking is advisable.

Events coming up at Wakefield Country Courtyard

On 3rd April (Good Friday) we’ll be running free stained glass taster sessions for anyone who’d like to have a go at making a simple piece in the foiling method.
Each session lasts about 90 minutes. Get in touch to reserve a time slot soon as places are limited!

Also on Good Friday several of the other businesses at Wakefield Country Courtyard are running events.

Join the friendly folks at Upton Smokery for their tasting day – sample local deli produce, pies, cider and beer, smoked meats and fish and all sorts  of tempting goodies!

The ARTea Rooms are running afternoon tea with sandwiches, tea and cakes (as road-tested by Jenny and her Mum recently!) and pet owners can have their pets photographed by local photographer Barefoot Photographics at Bark N Purr pet boutique.
Have a look at the Wakefield Facebook page to see what’s going on!

Our gallery will be open 10-5pm on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Monday, closed Easter Sunday.

A bit further ahead but definitely one to put in your diary – how about visiting some artists during Bucks Open Studios in June?
BOS is a 2-week-long festival of Art throughout Buckinghamshire during which we’ll be offering taster sessions, running classes and showing new stained glass plus a few surprises that we’ll hint at in future newsletters!

Last year’s BOS involved 500 artists exhibiting at 200 venues and this year’s season is expected to be bigger yet. This year’s event runs from June 6th – 21st and all exhibitions are free to enter.
There are no prizes for telling us that our gallery / studio is in Northants!

For more info go to:
http://www.bucksopenstudios.org.uk

New work in the gallery – Sophie Court Designs and Tlws Johnson

Continuing our policy of displaying work from the best local artists, we’ve just added cute animal and bird acrylic & paper framed art and jewellery from Sophie and amazing cast glass ammonites from nationally recognised Tlws Johnson.

All our work is affordable with prices starting at £5 and appealing to tastes from serious to frivolous!

Finally – we’re currently taking commissions for stained glass mirrors – just tell us what kind of shape, what size and colours you’d like and we’ll do the rest. Prices start from £50 for square mirrors.

We hope to see you at our gallery soon!

Best wishes,
Mike & Jenny

P.S. We’re delighted that the popularity of Poldark is generating new interest in Cornwall – we’ll be visiting some of the best locations seen on screen during our painting and photography courses in September.

Later in the series, some of our favourites – Gunwalloe (or Church Cove) and the Crown Mines at Botallack – feature in dramatic scenes (no plot spoilers here).

How do we know this?
Mike and photographer Stuart Grieve were scouting for locations for this year’s 3 day photography workshop while the series was being filmed and we bumped in to camera units at several of our chosen locations!

We have a few places left for both painting and photography in Porthleven in September – details here!
http://www.cornwallartschool.co.uk/index.html