Monthly Archives: January 2022

What do you get for the woman or man who already has everything – apart from somewhere to keep it all?!

What do you get for the woman or man who already has everything –  apart from somewhere to keep it all?!

Most of us have wrestled with this question ourselves, or will do at some point.

There’s an understandable resistance nowadays to buying more stuff – many of us of a certain age have the things we want or need – and we may have a finite space to accommodate more.

Certainly my own little country cottage is already pretty full!

What many of us increasingly value is new experiences – and especially ones that stretch our creative minds.

Just a couple of years ago a study by Deloitte announced that spending on what it defined as ‘leisure experiences’ was outstripping retail spending by almost 50%, and was growing at 5% a year in the UK – noticeably faster than any growth in the UK’s overall economy.

And as some wallets get tighter, spending on leisure pursuits remains important to many – defying expectations from some.

One of the growth areas in what might be classed as ‘leisure experiences’ is the creative course or holiday.

Course providers (and this tallies with our own findings at Vitreus Art) are reporting that bookings for creative activities, especially ones with a defined outcome – like a hand-made object, or a series of paintings – are increasing year on year, despite a general gloominess on the high street.

Perhaps this signals that shift away from shopping being a leisure activity in itself and towards a wish for more fulfilling leisure time?

Speaking to students who’ve attended craft courses at Vitreus Art we hear observations like “I’ve never made anything by hand before and I didn’t expect it to feel so good” or “I love being able to switch off my phone and tune out distractions while I’m learning new skills.”

Inhabitants of most large towns and many small ones are well-served with places to discover the satisfaction of an artistic or craft activity – there are craft workshops and art schools in or near all the larger towns in the area, with many smaller independent art schools and course providers.

It doesn’t have to be gentle crafts like card-making or needlework either: we know of glass blowing studios, blacksmiths’ forges and chainsaw sculpting courses in our area too!

At the Vitreus Art craft & art studio, you’ll find stained glass courses including traditional and modern styles and glass fusing classes using a kiln to melt and manipulate glass into unique pieces of art.

You can also discover the remarkable properties of Precious Metal Clay, allowing absolute beginners to create their own pieces of 99% pure silver jewellery.

Students keen to develop their painting and drawing will benefit from our tutor Clare Tebboth’s lively teaching style, producing work to a high standard while having fun!

And there’s always glass work being created and local art on show at the working studio and gallery.

Vitreus Art is located at Bell Plantation, just off the A5 near Towcester, Northants, UK. On site you’ll also find the Bell Café, garden centre, and a number of other independent retailers with plenty of free parking.

So if you’d like to buy a gift for someone who already has everything, or discover the long-lasting satisfaction of making your own piece of art, visit the studio in person or online at

Make 2022 the year you exchange buying more ‘stuff’ for an unforgettable creative experience!

News from Vitreus Art – January 2022 – let’s get creative!


Have you been inspired by all the painting and pottery programmes on TV starting this month?

Well, January is a good time to re-ignite the creative spark so here’s an introduction to some of the painting and printmaking  workshops running here soon that will get you back in to the swing of things!

If you’re feeling a bit lacking in cheer right now (and many of us are!) then getting in to (or getting back in to) some sort of creativity can really help.

If you’d like a gentle (but productive) introduction to art, Emily Brady’s (left) 6-week evening course for beginners starts on 1st March. This 6 evenings course on Tuesdays will lead you along (not astray!) a path towards confident mark-making and you’ll produce a range of work that will get your creative juices going.
Find out more here:

Or how about a compact 1-day Introduction to Painting & Drawing with Clare Tebboth (right)?
It’s amazing how much learning and fun Clare can pack in to a day! If you need a boost, or a reminder of which end of the brush goes in the paint, or a gentle nudge back in to painting, this is a great option.
Find out more here:

Fancy trying your hand at Printing?
The next session of Clare Tebboth’s Printing Without a Press is on 6th March and is sure to get you thinking about print in new ways. The focus is on techniques you can try at home, including lino-printing. As with all our full-day workshops, materials lunch and refreshments are included.
Details are here:

And later on in March Clare’s back again to lead her legendary Expressive Watercolours workshop.
A great opportunity for painters to up their skills, learn new colour mixing and masking techniques, and experiment with some watercolour paints they may not have tried before. Another great workshop from Clare!
Find out more here:

Phew – lots to think about there. Let us know if you need more information. Each of the workshops and courses above has a website page of its own with a video from the teacher introducing you to the structure of the course too.

We’ll come back to the glass workshops further on but now…..

What’s new at the gallery this month?

There’s loads of new work – we’ve been busy photographing and labelling more than 100 new pieces but there’s more for next time too….

New from Richard Ballantyne – quirky Raku-fired  animals and birds with character.

Just arrived from glass guru Alison Vincent – stunning blown glass sculptures and vases.

Recently received from Hilary Audus – characterful ceramic birds and animals from an award-winning creator with a background in animation.

New on the walls – several new paintings from expert watercolourist Clare Tebboth (so if you want to see if Clare walks the walk as well as she talks the teaching-talk take a look!).

Just in from Sharon, aka. Across The Bay Designs – super-popular seaside cottages from reclaimed wood all the way from Cornwall.

And from versatile painter Val Goldfinch – new charming slate paintings to replace the ones sold in December (and to add to the new framed watercolour originals also recently arrived).

Examples of work by all our artists can be seen here:

Time for a Vitreus Art workshops update…

Since we announced the new Ocean Wave Glass fusing workshop last time the first date is now fully booked, and an additional spring date is half-full. There’s another date for the summer with places if March is too soon….

Details are here:

And the first Sunflower glass fusing weekend workshop with seasoned fuser Roger Loxton now has just two places remaining. If you fancy some glass fusing in a different direction to our regular one-day workshops, these might well fit the bill!

Details are here:

If you’re in to stained glass (leading, foiling, 3d or mirrors) and have a more complicated project you’d like to make, our 2-day Weekend Project course is coming up at the end of March.
This is a fully tutored course, designed for those who’ve done some glass work before and want to make something that will stretch the brain and techniques more.

Previous students have made large mirrors (like the 2-layer Tulip gothic mirror shown above Lynne designed and made in two days), 3d sculptures, windows for their homes and more on this course; what would you like to make?
Details are here:

We’re continuing to provide visors, maintain spacing and small class sizes and keep up the sanitizing routine – our students have told us they feel safer like this and so do we!
We’re taking lateral flow tests frequently and we ask workshop attendees to do the same.
If you book a workshop and need to reschedule for health reasons we will happily re-schedule.

As always, we read all replies to these emails so if you have questions about workshops or the art in the gallery, just hit ‘reply’!

Until next time, look after you and yours.
Best wishes
Mike & Jenny

P.S. We’re looking at running some mini- taster workshops over the June extra bank holidays – with a contribution to charity from the proceeds.
We’d love to get some of your ideas for practical fused or stained glass projects that can be made in half a day.
We’ve got ideas ourselves but let’s have yours please!


Welcome to the first Vitreus Art update of the year!

Welcome to the first Vitreus Art update of the year….new workshops, new art, new news – from Mike & Jenny – aka. Vitreus Art


Welcome to the first Vitreus Art update of the year!
Mike and I hope you are all feeling refreshed after a relaxing couple of weeks and looking forward to being creative in 2022!Although we have been closed over the festive season, we haven’t been idle – well not too much.

So, without further ado it’s time to share with you all the new things that are happening in the Gallery and the studio now that we’re open again Tuesday to Sunday.

Firstly, we have had a good re-organisation in the gallery, hung and displayed lots of new works of art – over a hundred pieces in fact.
Joining us for the first time in 2022 is Sally McRae – a fused glass artist creating not just beautiful, but also functional pieces of glassware. Sally’s collection is on our website now.

Marlene Snee has been exhibiting with Vitreus Art since we opened our first Gallery back in 2014.
Recently Marlene has taken her art in a new direction, and we are delighted to have some of her brightly coloured reduction lino prints on display for the first time. These and more are on our website now.

There’s also new work on the gallery walls by local artist Lesley Passy.

And on display for the first time since completion, Louise Thomas is exhibiting her latest Greenland panoramic oil on canvas paintings, a real ‘must come and see’.
Then there is also a plethora of new ceramics on display too, including stunning new raku fired pieces by the ever-popular Richard Ballantyne.
These will be on our website soon.

And new work by Milton Keynes based artist Kirsten Holuj –  some of her textured pieces such as the ‘Winter Scenes’ really do need to be held in the hand to get the full experience of a piece of Kirsten’s work, as it is so very tactile.

Not to mention the amazing animated animal ceramics by Hilary Audus.
You may not know this but during her career Hilary has worked on many films you may have seen.
She co-scripted and animated on The Christmas Classic, “The Snowman” and directed and scripted “The Bear”, by Raymond Briggs.

More recently Hilary co-wrote and directed the sequel to “The Snowman”, “The Snowman and The Snowdog”.
So, if when looking at Hilary’s creations you see a likeness to something you may have seen before, you will know where from!

All these will be added to our website in January.

Now what’s new in the Studio??

As mentioned in the last newsletter we said we would tell you about 2 new workshops coming up, and we will, but first here’s a quick look at some workshops in January that still have one or two spaces on – so if you fancy getting your creative ‘KICK’ in early this year, don’t hang around!!

Short notice we know, but due to postponement there are 2 places available on Tuesday 11th Jan for our Fusion/Inclusion workshop, suitable for beginners or those wanting a bit of a refresher.
This is a great introduction to fusing as it gives you hands-on experience of a wide range of fusing materials.
Vitreus Art Glass Fusing with Vitreus Art (

An Introduction to Oil Painting with Clare Tebboth on Friday 21st Jan has a few spaces available – Vitreus Art Oil Painting One-day Introduction with Clare Tebboth (
I might just have to give this one a go, I keep saying I must get the paints out again!!

Saturday 22nd Jan – Fused Glass Lanterns, 2 places available:
Vitreus Art Fused Glass Beginners Classes – Make a Lantern (, I just love this class, not just pretty, but usable too!!

All the other classes in January are already fully booked, so if the above doesn’t tickle your creative fancies you’ll need to take-a-peek at February dates….to be found here:
Art and Craft Courses with Vitreus Art (

So how about those two new workshops we mentioned – well, here we go and if you haven’t already, grab a cuppa and biccy (or two) and we will get started.

Firstly (and JT, is most excited about this one) Fused Glass Sunflower – make your own brightly coloured glass Sunflower window art approx 23cm across on this 2-day workshop under the guidance of long-term glass artist Roger Loxton.
This class will give you a brief introduction to glass cutting, tack fusing, including the differences between the types of glass you can fuse with, and some of the essentials of kiln operation and is suitable for all levels, especially beginners.
As with all the classes at Vitreus Art the materials and tools needed to create your own sunflower are all provided, with enough time to make a piece like the ones shown.

Firstly, Roger will teach you how to cut clear glass so that you learn the skills of glass cutting and how to use the tools required.  You will then move on to cutting the coloured, fusible glass for your sunflower.
Roger will then show you how to construct the first stages of your flower before going into the kiln.
You will also learn the basic preparation for the kiln operation along the way!

This course is structured over two days. On day one you’ll learn how to cut circles in glass (for the centre section) and how to apply frit, ready for your circle section to go into the kiln at about lunchtime.
You’ll then learn how to cut the 48 petal sections from 3 different colours of amber glass too.

On day two you’ll finish cutting the petals and assemble your sunflower using the centre circle section fresh from the kiln. We’ve allowed plenty of time for this important step as the appearance of your sunflower depends on getting this stage right!

After firing you’ll be able to collect your sunflower – you’re now ready to enjoy your art at home!

There’s a video on the website page explaining how this workshop runs.
Just click on the link to book your place – Fused Glass Sunflower workshop for Beginners with Vitreus Art (

Now for the 2nd New workshop of 2022 – are you ready??
And this is the one that Mike is super excited about, as he’s the one teaching it.

Fused Glass Ocean Wave (Splash!)
Have fun making your own glass Ocean Wave art complete with a wooden display base (looks very professional) approx. size will be 250mm wide and you can do all this in just one day.
The photos show an early example made by a student as a test – it looks fab!
You’ll be using float glass, coloured frit and glass you’ll crush with a hammer to make the water ‘spray’ for your wave.
You’ll start by cutting a number of glass shapes out of glass under Mike’s expert guidance.
You’ll then lay out the first layer, and build up the overlapping second layer to ensure a strong end result.

It’s then time to add coloured glass frit and crushed clear glass if desired to create your own individual sea-themed piece of glass art.
After firing you’ll be able to collect your glass wave and attach it to the base which we’ll supply.
You’re now ready to enjoy your art at home!

This class will give you a brief introduction to glass cutting, basic tack fusing, including the difference between the types of glass you can fuse with, and some of the essentials of kiln operation and is suitable for all levels, especially beginners.
And not forgetting that as always – all materials, refreshments and lunch are provided on the day – no need to bring anything with, just your enthusiasm!!

There’s a video on the page for this workshop too – featuring Mr C in person.

Check out the link here – Fused Glass Ocean Wave Making workshop with Vitreus Art (
As usual we are keeping the classes nice and small for these two new classes to ensure everyone gets the attention needed.

It’s been great chatting and we hope you have enjoyed all the new news for 2022.
Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you in the Gallery and/or studio or hearing from you via email, Facebook or even Instagram!!

Here’s to a fun, healthy and creative 2022
Jenny & Mike

P.S. Our opening hours are now back to normal – Tuesday to Sunday, 10-5 weekdays and Saturdays, 11 to 4.30pm Sundays.