Jenny and I hope you’re well and looking forward to restrictions easing a little next month?
Following our look at two of our favourite women artists last time, we thought we’d tell you a little about another of our under-recognised arty women heroes… Clara Driscoll.
Clara (1861-1944) was one of the glass designers and studio managers at the Tiffany Studios of New York. Louis Comfort Tiffany himself must be the most significant figure in the history of contemporary stained glass, but the role of his many designers (the majority of whom were women) is less well-known.
Although L.C.Tiffany is known for being a difficult man to work for, he did recognise the contribution his designers made, financially, if not publicly.
Clara herself earned around $10,000 a year at one point – making her just about the highest paid artisan employee working in New York at that time.
Clara worked at the Tiffany Studios on and off for 20 years, and is perhaps best known (now, if not at the time) for her designs for the most famous Tiffany lampshades – the Dragonfly, designed in 1900 and the Wisteria, designed in 1901.
The Wisteria design itself was a pattern – from which many examples were made, each comprising around 2000 individually-cut pieces of glass, selected by eye for colour and texture.
In 1906, the price for a “Wisteria” lamp was $400.00, making it one of the more expensive lamps in Tiffany’s line.
In recent auctions, genuine examples have sold at Sotheby’s for $715,000, $817,000 and then in 2013, an example from the collection of Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza sold for more than $1.5m. This was nearly double the top estimate despite the lamp having noticeable signs of age and oxidation, and 30 cracked pieces of glass!
We have a gloriously illustrated book on Tiffany lamps at the studio – you’re welcome to have a leaf through next time you visit – and maybe plan your future auction acquisitions!
Coming slightly back down to earth, you’ll find plenty of new pieces from our own studios just added to our website and on-display from April 12th!
For example, here’s a new fused glass and reclaimed wood piece by Jenny, called Ebb and Flow.
The wood is Laburnam, and is finished in wood oil. The glass section is made up of fused glass sea ‘pebbles’ melted together over a mould to give a glossy depiction of the ebb and flow of the sea where it meets the shore.
And I’ve been experimenting with copper-foiled glass on copper rods – starting with these flowers.
There will be other styles of pieces to follow, including feathers and leaves, and options to buy these made to order in pots or on wood.
We’re looking at adding similar projects to the list of pieces you could make on the 3d Stained Glass workshops we run…(the next 3d-foiling session is in May).
And there are more fused ‘bendy’ glass pieces and wall pieces from Jenny too, including these: Lollipop Tree and Coastline.
Also new on the website (and in person next month!) – lots of entrancing mixed-media paintings
from Lesley Passey (seen above on the day she delivered 5 new large works of art).
Each is created out of many layers of photographs, painting and added textures – all beautifully framed by our own local framer and each makes a statement.
Ready for you to enjoy at home! Click the pics to see more.
And a little reminder that we have new turned and painted wood delights from Rosemary Wright,
many of which show off her interest in the clean Japanese aesthetic currently in vogue.
And how about getting a bit arty yourself when we’re all allowed to?
Arty crafty workshop activities should be allowed to resume from 17th May.
We’ll be keeping the visors, workshop spacing and sanitising, and small class sizes – group sizes will be maximum 6 including tutor.
We’ve re-organised the workshop and gallery areas to give more space for lunch too.
And our ‘Covid-bookings-promise’ will continue to apply – re-bookings, transfers, credit notes or refunds all available in case of class cancellation or illness.
So here are a few highlights from May and June….
The full programme of workshops for the next 6 months is on the VA website of course, with lots of info, pics, booking details and the small-print in our COVID-19 FAQ which you can find linked from each workshop website page.
May classes with places available:
21st May – Printing Without a Press with Clare Tebboth for Beginners
22nd May – Stained Glass Copper Foil 3d 1-day course for Beginners
23rd May -Scented Candles for Beginners
June classes with places available:
5th June – Glass Fusing Fusion-Inclusion for beginners
7th June – Pebble Bowl Glass Fusing for all levels (3 evenings)
8th June – Art for Beginners Evening Course (6 weeks)
13th June – Fused Glass Lanterns for Beginners
16th June – Fused Glass Tealights for Beginners
19th June – Introduction to Oil Painting for Beginners
20th June – Fused Glass Slumping for Beginners
23rd June – Stained Glass Design Workshop for all levels
25th June – Fused Glass Kiln Carving for all levels
26th June – PMC Silver Jewellery for Beginners
27th June – Stained Glass Foiling for Beginners
30th June – Scented Candles for Beginners
All classes and courses can be found here:
You’ll notice that there are some workshops and courses especially for the painters and printers…
Clare Tebboth’s highly productive Printing Without a Press runs on May 21st.
And Clare will be running her exciting Oil Painting for Beginners 1-day class in June too – and it really is suitable for beginners, as well as all painters who’ve yet to discover the magic of oils!
For anyone who’s yet to discover the magic of any sort of Painting or drawing, Emily Brady’s Evening Course – Art For Beginners – is a well-structured and friendly way-in to art, building up your confidence and gently easing you towards a body of work over 6 evening sessions.
All these and more are on our website now.
But – please note – because we have to accommodate new workshops plus rescheduled workshops from earlier this year and last in just over 6 months of 2021 there may not be multiple sessions for some workshops; if you like the look of a class or course, don’t let procrastination be the thief of opportunity!
And one last thing – we’ve loved seeing and sharing what you’ve created during various lockdowns and time spent indoors. Do keep sending us photos – no matter what medium or level of experience!
Well – it’s time to say cheerio and stay safe,
Mike & Jenny
P.S. One place has become free on the next Intensive Glass Fusing evening course.
This is a new 6-week course for anyone starting out in glass fusing.
Lots of different projects to try, loads of techniques, guidance, written notes on firing and kiln schedules, all starting in June.
Details are here: