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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome new artist Laura Slade to Vitreus Art @ Wakefield Country Courtyard

We’re delighted to have three original watercolours from Milton Keynes artist Laura Slade.
Take a look at these beauties!

  1. Vixen – £195
  2. Pip – £165
  3. Soren – £195

Laura tells us:
“I have always had a love of animals and nature.
Growing up surrounded by wildlife and rugged landscape has provided me with lots of inspiration. I began experimenting with watercolour after the birth of my daughter and developed my own expressive and colourful way of painting. I use the unique qualities of watercolour, with vibrant colours and soft brushstrokes to portray the natural world. I take great pleasure in applying bright watercolour to paper and watching the paint take on a life of its own.  ”

Pop in the the gallery and see just what Laura means, in the flesh!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make your own silver jewellery with Precious Metal Clay – it’s like magic!

What is PMC (Precious Metal Clay)?

At its most fundamental level, PMC is particles of fine silver bound up with an organic binder and a little water to make a malleable clay-like material.

 

 

 
When shapes made out of this clay are fired (in a kiln or with a blow-torch) the binder and water burn away, leaving a fine silver piece, ready for polishing.

The finished piece contains higher-purity silver than 925 sterling silver and can be hall-marked just like silver jewellery made with silver sheet, wire and blocks.
The binder materials accounts for about 10% of the overall volume of the clay, so the fired piece ends up 10% smaller. This is important to know when making rings, for example!

Because the clay is 90% silver, it’s not an inexpensive material to work with. Many crafters will be familiar with polymer clay (you may recognise brand names like Fimo) and graduate to PMC to make silver jewellery using similar techniques.
The cost of the materials, and the discipline this imposes on managing waste and controlling the size of projects sometimes comes as a shock!

Why is PMC good for home experimenting?

The upside of PMC though, is that a starter kit of tools isn’t expensive to buy, and small pieces (like earrings or small necklaces) can be fired with a chef’s blow-torch instead of a kiln.

 

 

 

Unlike the benches, bench-hooks and silver-smithing tools needed to make silver jewellery using traditional techniques, PMC can be shaped and refined using clay modelling processes – great for home experimenting.

PMC is available from many retailers in the UK, and in a variety of pack sizes, so the experimenter on a budget can carefully control their use of their key raw material!
One aspect to note is that opened packs of clay will dry out if not handled carefully, or left unused for a while. Open a pack of the size needed only when needed and carefully preserve the remainder!

What will you learn on our class?

We’ve structured our beginner’s class to give you a feel for a range of clay-modelling techniques you can develop at home.

You’ll learn about the properties of the clay to begin with – important to minimise costly waste and ensure you’ll have enough clay for all your beginner’s projects.

You’ll also learn about rolling and shaping, taking a lump of silver clay and making the basic shapes for your pieces.

 

 

 

We’ll introduce you to the use of textured surfaces to give your jewellery more interest and show you how to add bails to necklaces.

We’ll cover the stages of clay shaping, drying, refining, firing (also called sintering) and polishing; each one of these is an important step towards making a finished piece that will be strong enough to be worn regularly.

What can you make on our class?

You’ll make three pieces on our class. If you have spare clay and finish your three pieces before the end of the class, we’ll aim to make a further piece.

First, you’ll make a pair of earrings (like Jenny’s).
This will introduce you to clay handling, shaping, cutting and sanding. The size of these allows these to be fired with a blow-torch – instant gratification!

 

 

Then you’ll make an initial letter necklace – any letter of your choice!
You’ll discover how to roll a smooth snake of clay and shape it in to a letter.
We provide a template for all 26 letters of the alphabet to work to.

This is a tricky assignment but worth it as rolling and shaping is a key technique, applicable to many jewellery design elements.

 

 

 

Finally, you’ll make a pendant incorporating a bail to hang from a necklace, textures, added silver details and a highly-polished section – known as ‘high shine’ in the trade.
You’ll learn about rolling textures in to your clay, cutting shapes and integrating layers.

You’ll also learn about making bails and securely adding them to a pendant base as well as polishing and finishing.

 

 

 

After your three projects, if you have clay (and time) left over you’re welcome to make another project. We’ll help you decide what is achievable in the time, with the clay that remains.

The aim of this beginner’s class is to give you a feel for the versatility of PMC, introduce you to some key techniques you can use at home, and to send you away with three pieces of silver jewellery you’ve made yourself!

Want to have a go yourself and enjoy the magic of making silver jewellery out of clay?
Visit our PMC begonners class website page here and let’s get creative!

If you’re not ready to book but you’d like to receive updates and our monthly newsletter, you can subscribe here.

Happy crafting
Mike

It’s called Shibori and it’s like tie-dyeing. You remember tie-dyeing!

Yes – the ancient (and much revered) Japanese art of Shibori – tying and dyeing silk to create wonderful effects.
And with modern silk paints, vibrant colours with just an iron to fix. great for home experimenting, and a pleasure to teach in an art class environment.

But what actually does Shibori silk painting involve?

A quick Google or visit to Wikipedia reveals that Shibori is not only an ancient art but a complex one too. In the West, one technique seems to have become used more than the many others – using thread to tie silk around formers before applyimg the silk paint.

In our Shibori classes we explore four techniques that will give you distintively different end results.
We’ll give you 4 silk panels – one for each of the core methods.
The aim is to identify the technique to be used to make an end product – for a beginner’s Shibori class that’s a pleasingly soft silk scarf, using a silk often referred to as Pongee – light and delicate.
Choose the effect you like most and use that for your final silk scarf.

We also use modern iron-fix dyes; the alternative is steam fixing. We suspect the steam fix dyes available might give a more saturated colour, but our aim for this beginner’s class is for you to take your silk scarf home on the day. We’ll just use a household iron to fix the dyes and your scarf is ready to show off!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s have a look at the four techniques you’ll try on our beginner’s class:

First up, try this method – tie the silk around a series of round objects and then apply silk dye (as many different colours as you like) to parts of the silk before drying it and ironing it.

 

 

 

 

 

Technique number two involves wrapping the silk tightly around a former and applying dyes, as demonstrated by Jenny:

 

 

 

 

 

Now, technique number 3 – folding. A delight this, but tricky – calling for precision ironing and folding if you’re to achieve nice, regular shapes and sharp lines.

 

 

 

 

 

And now, technique 4 – tieing the silk around beads and dyeing. As demonstrated by Jenny again! Fiddly, but a very nice effect so worth the bother:

 

 

 

 

 

On our class, testing each of these techniques takes the morning.
Of course we include lunch in our class – to keep you fully nourished and attentive!
Then in the afternoon, it’s time to use your chosen method to make your scarf.
We provide a range of dye colours, and show you how to mix colours to creat your own custom colours!

Fancy having a go at making your own Shibori-dyed silk scarf?
Our website page is here:
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/silk-painting.html

As with all our one-day beginners classes, lunch, materials and fun are all included.
We look forward to meeting you at our gallery!

Vitreus Art – craft studio and art gallery
Wakefield Country Courtyard
Potterspury
Northants
NN12 7QX – UK