Tag Archives: art

Vitreus Art Lockdown update and re-opening – June 16th

We are so very excited that we can invite all our lovely students and visitors back to Vitreus Art on Tuesday 16th June (subject to no changes from official guidance)!
We have certainly been missing you all very much, but our doors will be open again soon.

As with all businesses opening soon, Vitreus Art is following the most up to date guidelines to keep us all safe.

Both the gallery and the studio have been deep-cleaned with all surfaces, floors, tables and chairs cleaned and then wiped down with The Wharf Distillery Sanitizer (thanks Lawrence Connisbee!), which is made to the ‘WHO’ guidelines and is 80% alcohol.

Cleaning is a major priority for us and all tables and chairs and hard surfaces visitors could come in to contact with will be cleaned and sanitised between uses.

Our mutual health and safety is our priority so a few changes have been made and will remain in effect for as long as required:

·         The Gallery and Studio now have their own doors.
·         Studio entrance is for those attending classes only
·         We ask that on entry to either the studio or the gallery you make use of the hand sanitizer and wear a mask (which are provided, if you don’t have your own)

·         Class sizes going forward will be for 4 students only – this ensures the required 2 meter distance between work tables and room to move around the studio.

·         We can accommodate 2 people in the gallery at a time – this allows for safe distancing; there is also a one way system that we ask you to follow.

If you’d prefer to visit out of hours we’ll be happy to make an appointment – to talk about a creative project you’d like to make, commissions, or to allow personal viewings of any of the work we have (and there’s lots of new work on the walls now!).

·         As always we have hand-washing facilities available and more hand sanitizer on hand.

·         We have always had a policy of each student having their own set of tools on our workshops, but it’s more important than ever that these tools are not shared between students – even if you want to be helpful.
Not sharing is the new helpful!

·         Tea and coffee will still be provided for workshops, with washing up of mugs followed by sanitizing between each use.

·         Finally, we will be unable to provide lunches during our workshops for a while so we must therefore ask that anyone attending our workshops brings a packed lunch with them.
·         Finally, Finally if there is anything you think we have missed please feel free to tell us; these are new and strange times for us all and we all need to work with each other to make our world a safer place to be.

We’ll be operating different opening hours for the time being, starting on June 16th:

Gallery
11am to 4pm – Tues, Wed & Thurs
11am to 6pm – Fri – Sat
11am to 4pm – Sunday
Or by appointment outside of these times.

Studio
Workshops will take place as per the times they are advertised, from July in our re-organized space.

As you can see, we’ve changed the layout of the studio and gallery to make space in the studio for classes, and layout out the gallery area to encourage distancing.

We understand that you might be reluctant to venture out on or shortly after the 15th June – so get in touch if you’ve seen something on our website or Facebook page and would like to test drive it at home rather than come to us.

When you are ready to come over, you’ll find new art and craft from Peter of WdWorks, Lou Thomas, Sam Burke, Linda Johns, Abby Cork, Marlene Snee, Ken Flegg and more.
There are lots of online mini-galleries to view on our website here:
https://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/wakefield-gallery.html

And we’ve made lots of new pieces in lockdown too; these are just a few examples…
Hit this page to see all the new pieces we’ve made – there are loads!
https://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/stained-glass-art.html


Workshops resume (cautiously) in July

The good news is that we should be able to resume workshops in July.
This could change, of course, but the plan currently is:

The first workshops to start are the ones where spacing can be easily achieved without reducing the learning enjoyment and where no tools or materials need to be shared.
The full list of workshops due to take place in July is below but there are a few we’d like to highlight.

On Friday Clare Tebboth will be running her next Wild With Watercolours 1-day workshop.
As places must be limited for spacing, there’re just two places available on this session – open to all painters who want to develop their use of watercolours in imaginative ways.
https://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/wild-watercolours-with-clare-tebboth.html

On 4th July Clare is back again, to teach her one-day Introduction to Painting and Drawing for absolute beginners. Again, there are just a couple of places free on this one.
https://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/introduction-to-drawing-painting.html


And then we have a pretty full month of workshops – most of which have one or two spaces remaining.
On each workshop the studio will be laid out for maximum space between work-spaces. Take a look at the photos of the studio to see how we’ve positioned the benches and teacher’s station.

It’s probably going to feel a bit strange for a while, but so many people have been asking about when classes can start again we felt this was a good time for an update!

As we said before, if you’ve booked a workshop and can’t attend, or prefer to join a session later in the year, just let us know. Just as some are itching to get back to being creative, some are understandably cautious.


So here’s the list of July workshops. As usual, there’s lots of info on the web page for each session.
If you want to discuss any potential concerns you have about how a workshop would run before booking, just reply to this email.

July classes with places –

All workshops are here:
https://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/index.html

Finally, next time we’ll include details of the mini workshops we’ll be offering exclusively to everyone who’s agreed to move the date of a workshop as a result of CV as a thank-you.

And now it’s time to say thanks for reading, thanks for your support and do remember to support as many of the independent businesses around you as you can – they and we will be especially appreciative over the next few months!

Best wishes and stay safe,
Mike and Jenny

Lockdown News from the Vitreus Art Studio – April 2020

Well, hello!

We do hope you’re getting the opportunity to enjoy at least a little of the sunshine that we are having at the moment.
We also hope that you are able to be creative in some way – we would love for you to share your creative endeavours with us via our Facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/VitreusArt/

Just before we had to furlough ourselves to our home studio I (Jenny) had started taking painting and drawing lessons for beginners with the lovely Emily Brady.
Thankfully, she was able to impart enough knowledge (there is only so much you can learn in 12 hours!) for me to practice at home so that’s what I have been doing.

Far from perfect (working my way there slowly) I have just finished this painting of a place that is very close to mine and Mike’s hearts and we are looking forward to heading there in October (all being well).
The elephant is still work in progress!

So come on, I’ve shown you mine, surely you can share yours with us too?


And now a request – if you have participated in any of our classes or workshops –  be they taught by ourselves or one of our lovely tutors – or visited the gallery and liked what you found, would you be kind enough to leave a review on of the following please? Thank you!
You’ll be helping to continue to spread the word so we can carry on bringing you fun and creative workshops when the lockdown has ended.

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/VitreusArt/

Tripadvisor:
https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g2184602-d8113838-r363142235-Vitreus_Art-Potterspury_Towcester_Northamptonshire_England.html

Google Reviews:
https://www.google.co.uk/search?ei=dc6iXtv5MIKP8gLKtoqYBg&q=google+reviews+vitreus+art&oq=google+reviews+vitreus+art&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQAzoECAAQRzoECAAQDToICAAQDRAKEB46BggAEA0QHjoKCAAQDRAFEAoQHjoICAAQCBANEB46BAghEApQzrUGWIrNBmC91gZoAHACeACAAWaIAZQLkgEEMTAuNZgBAKABAaoBB2d3cy13aXo&sclient=psy-ab&ved=0ahUKEwibiNTW-4DpAhWCh1wKHUqbAmMQ4dUDCAs&uact=5#lrd=0x4877030b1fa97965:0x4f6a69e10a538d7d,1,,,


Wow – we actually have some new pieces of art work to share with you on this occasion!
Some new fused glass pieces from me, some new garden panels, a lamp and some commissions completed by Mike, and some pieces not ready to show that we’ve both worked on together.

How many projects were tucked away waiting for the right time to finish? Lots!
Coral – Fused Glass by Jenny; Falling Water by Jenny; Mosaic Lamp by Mike; Commission by Mike

There will be more, too, so plenty to see when we can re-open.

You will be pleased to know that Mike is keeping busy with plans for a new 3D lampshade workshop (because the devil makes plans for idle hands!).
Plans will be revealed once he has the programme in order; but something nice to look forward too.
There will also be new jewellery and glass fusing workshops anon…


Mike has also been busy getting more work purchasable online from the lovely artists who exhibit at the gallery.
The list is growing day by day and currently includes Lou Thomas, Marlene Snee, Clare Tebboth, Richard Ballantyne, Graham Lester, Niki Thomas,  Lesley Passey, Brenda Stewart, Abby Cork, David Burton, Hilary Audus, Brian Kichenside and John Damsell.
The aim is to have work from most or all of the artists we work with fully online by early May.

See them here: https://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/wakefield-gallery.html

He did tell me to keep this bit of info ‘hush hush’ for now, but those of you who know me, know that I always do as I am told!! (Not).
And when you do get to venture out to us, you’ll notice the whole place looks different!

There’s new work from Marlene, Abby and Peter of WdWorks and a fresh new gallery layout.

We even waved a paint brush around!


Mike and I would like to thank you for your continued support, and we are sorry we can’t bring our workshops to you just at the moment – but hold tight they will be back soon.
And should you fancy trying your hand at any of our courses later in the year you can always book online in advance and get the date in the diary, giving you something to look forward to.

By way of a ‘thank you’, to all of you who have happily postponed your workshops with us to later in the year, we would like to arrange a small offer of thanks to you.
For all who have deferred your workshops (without a single request for a refund from anyone, which is fantastic) we would like to offer a free taster workshop to you later in the year.
Please keep an eye on your in-boxes –  when things get back to some form of normality we will schedule these into the diary and send you your own personal invite to join us.

For now stay home, stay safe, stay well and most of all, keep being creative.

Best Wishes,
Jenny and Mike

Creativity and wellbeing – can art or craft really help?

Have you opened up a magazine or Sunday newspaper supplement lately to find bold claims being made about the power of creativity to boost wellbeing?|
There’s a good chance you have – it’s one of the most written-about topics in the health world at the moment and there’s a growing appreciation that enjoying a creative pastime or artistic activity can indeed improve that sense of ‘living well’.

It’s not all anecdotes –creative experts worked with civil servants to research a report in 2017 with findings that agree – being creative helps keep us well and socially engaged.

And in 2018 age UK released its own study – Creative and Cultural Activities and Wellbeing in Later Life. This considered the links between participation in artistic activities and the wellbeing of 15,000 respondents aged over 60.

Overall, these and other studies conclude that being involved in art activities or belonging to creative groups has real potential to enrich all our lives, at any age.

To get our own informal insight, Jenny and I at Vitreus Art asked some of our students how they felt they benefited from the art workshops they attended at our studio.

Precious Metal Clay )PMC) – a great way to get started in Silver jewellery making

 

 

One said, “I lost track of time, I was so engrossed in what I was making”. Another said, “I haven’t learned something totally new for years – how refreshing”. A third said, “I love being able to forget about work, the cold, dark winter and home chores”.

And then there’s the new vogue of TV programmes devoted to traditional crafts and restoration skills, along with painting and pottery competitions pulling in sizeable night audiences!

This, plus the rise of the maker-movement and growing appreciation of traditional skills means the idea of making one’s own craft or art is more appealing and more accessible than it’s been for years.

And independent shops selling hand-made or upcycled goods and craft-collectives where makers collaborate to supply and sell are injecting some much-needed vibrancy and variety to our town centres.

We’re are all better served than ever when it comes to places to learn new skills, or to discover the joy of making now.
There are friendly card-making and stitch-and-bitch groups in towns of any size now, there are independent shops and galleries selling hand-made goods and art close at hand, and several art workshops running craft courses in just our area alone (Northants, UK).

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 in to unique pieces of art.

You can also discover the amazing properties of Precious Metal Clay, allowing complete 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 and productive teaching style, producing work to a high standard while having fun!

A working glass studio and art gallery as well as friendly art workshop venue, there’s always glass work being created by resident artists Jenny and Mike, or craft workshops being taught. Visitors are welcome to call in during gallery hours to find out more.

Vitreus Art is located at Wakefield Country Courtyard, just off the A5 a few miles south of Towcester. On site you’ll also find the ARTtea Room and plenty of free parking.

So if you’d like to learn a new craft or create your own art, visit the studio in person or online at www.vitreus-art.co.uk and make 2019 the year you improve your own wellbeing!

The pleasure of learning something entirely new…

How often do we, as adults, set out to learn a completely new skill?GlassBlowing

I don’t mean learning how a new phone works, or becoming familiar with the latest version of an established piece of software – I mean learning a skill unlike the ones we already have.
Possibly not very often if you’re at all like me.

Considering how refreshing learning a new skill can be, especially if it’s learnt for pleasure rather than for work, this tells me lots of us are missing out on a real pleasure, and possibly on new life chances too.

Jenny and I have been thinking about this recently and decided that we would set out to gain some new skills by attending courses in art forms completely new to us. We’d like to offer a wider range of classes at our studio-gallery and that’s part of our motivation to look for new skills.

Since that point (about 18 months ago) we’ve progressed a fair distance in our desire to develop our capabilities as glass fusers, for instance. In fact, our beginner’s classes in glass fusing (which we ‘Fusion-Inclusion’ as we focus on using inclusions to make fused glass art) have become our 3rd most popular class, right behind our stained glass beginners’ classes.

We’re at the point now that our starter kiln is pretty much fully used all the time and the capabilities (and cost) of a larger kiln is often on our minds.

Another one of these new skills is to be the subject for future classes at Vitreus Art and I’m keeping our powder dry on this one! Suffice to say we set out on a certificated course to gain an appreciation of how the art-form ‘works’ and to figure out if we could build our proficiency to a level that would enable us to teach our own students in time.

Of course we don’t expect to be brilliant straight away, but we flatter ourselves that with practice, plenty of ideas to experiment with and recourse to our organisational and planning skills we’ll be able to put on a good show when we feel we’re ready.

We’ve enjoyed (and learned from) the process of following a structured teaching environment too – it’s not all about the new skill, some of the learning has been about the process of learning!
And more recently we tried something even more removed from our present artistic activities – glass blowing.

We set out with no expectation that we would ever want to blow glass on our own.
This was purely for pleasure and to satisfy an urge Jenny has nursed since seeing glass makers on the Venetian island of Murano where some of the world’s most accomplished glass-blowers make their magic.
And what a blast it was!

We chose to attend a one-day introduction to glass blowing at ‘The Glass Hub’ near Bath, in the UK. One of several creative businesses located on a farm complex, the whole place feels like it’s dedicated to artistic endeavour, which is a stimulating environment to learn in – no adult-education at a formal college feels like this!

Glass blowing is hot, potentially dangerous, exciting, and a little scary.

In stark contrast to much of our own glass work, glass-blowing is very much ‘in the moment’ – things happen quickly, glass heats and cools rapidly, the processes need to be timed carefully.

Our tutor Dylan was at pains to apologise for seeming to bark instructions at us but we understood perfectly why that was – something needs to be done – re-heating the glass, rolling it, shaping the molten glass, blowing air in to the embryonic vessel – and there’s little time for thinking, it’s all about action!

The end results were (to be completely candid) not perfect!

We watched Dylan and his colleagues effortlessly melting, shaping, colouring all manner of beautiful blown glass vessels and then made lumpy, uneven attempts of our own. But we love what we’ve made, and we loved every minute of the process. It’s fast moving, sweaty and challenging, but the emotional high of making something recognisably like a glass object from scratch is powerful.

The patience and skill demonstrated by our tutors, their delicately timed interventions, and the humour of the whole class left us a bit breathless and a lot excited!

Now we understand the ‘high’ our own students have told us about – learning new skills, the pleasure of owning a piece of art you’ve made, the collaborative experience of working with craftspeople to create something long-lasting – we’ve felt it and we always hope to deliver that same feeling in our own studio.

From now on we’ll be thinking a lot more about how we can spread that pleasure – it’s not just about making something, it’s about discovering that our hands can achieve results we hadn’t imagined, and enjoying the distinctive pleasure of learning new skills.

What sort of art-form would you like to try that’s new to you?
How would you like to learn a new craft skill and discover what your hands can achieve?

You could do worse than having a look at the classes and courses we run at Vitreus Art.
We’ll help you discover tghe pleasure of learning something new!

Who would start a gallery with the economy the way it is?

It’s a good question – who would start a gallery with the economy the way it is?

I intended to write this a year ago, when our gallery-workshop was just a few months old.
Back then we felt full of optimism but still heard nagging inner voices telling us we were a bit daft for even thinking of setting up what was effectively a shop, just when so many others were going to the wall.

On top of that, it was necessary for Jenny to leave the stability (and predictable income!) of a regular job. What were we thinking?

One year on from that part-written blog post and nearly a year and a half since we got our slightly sweaty hands on the keys to unit 4 Wakefield Country Courtyard the optimism is still there, the inner voices have been quelled and our early marketing efforts have paid off.VitreusArt-gallery-studio-Wakefield-Country-Courtyard

We’re delighted to have regular customers who seem to come in just after we’ve put new stock on display.
Our classes are steadily drawing new would-be and established artists and crafters keen to develop their skills or gain new ones.
Our studio is being used to create interesting (sometimes amazing) projects by students.
And we’re finding that folks who used to visit the Courtyard have started returning, having discovered that there’s more to see, do, eat and drink than there used to be.

So of course we’re optimistic – we’re working hard to make our business a success and seeing that pay off.

Some of the things that have really worked for us include:

Having a mix of income – we sell our own stained and fused glass, we sell other artists’ work for a commission, we run a host of our own classes in fusing, stained glass, glass appliqué and more.

We also have a talented band of artists who teach their own art forms to students for us, and we make our space and facilities available for a small fee to those who want to create but lack the tools or a suitable place to work at home.

We’ve built up a really good mailing list over the years. Our regular emails get open rates and click-through rates (which is actually much more important than opens) that are significantly higher than is common in our line of business.

A testament to this is that we’ve just taught a couple of ladies who joined our mailing list after attending our third ever class about 10 years ago; they’ve been receiving our monthly emails ever since and got in touch to ask for a private class at our studio this year.

We keep up our advertising in local magazines. When we get visitors telling us they saw us in a local magazine we know our adverts are being seen. Of course this doesn’t translate in to ROI, but we’re still ‘young’ and working to build our footfall.

We’ve also taken a leading role in encouraging our neighbouring businesses to join us in co-op advertising and that’s making a noticeable difference to the footfall across the site. It’s tempting to ease off on the advertising now we’re in our second year –it costs money after all – but we plan to keep the momentum up.

Running demo days and taster days to show visitors what we’ve got going on. These have been a huge success for us, and are a blast to run too. We invite our artists to join us for our demo days, and show off their skills.
Visitors get to see artists in action and are often inspired to join a class and have a go themselves.

The outcomes of our taster days are similar – we give customers the chance to try one of our glass crafts in a short session for just a fiver. Many then book a place on a full class knowing that they’ll enjoy it, thus reducing the risk!

Listening to customers and hunting out work we think they will like. We’ve tried hard to find work that synchronises with what our customers tell us they like, or actively looking for. We’ve also had to learn that what we like may not appeal to our customers. We remind ourselves every now and again that we are not our own customers!

Of course there’s a lot more we do that’s helping bring in customers – giving talks at WIs for example.
It’s all part of doing what we can to build our gallery, grow our reputation and help our lovely customers own or give art as a present, or even make their own art.

We’d love to hear from you if you’ve seen art you like, have tried a class and enjoyed it, or if you’re an artist yourself.

If you’d like to visit and find out about art and craft classes or check out the art we’ve got on display you’ll find us here:

Vitreus Art, Unit 4 Wakefield Country Courtyard,
Off the A5, near Potterspury, Northants NN12 7QX
Tel 01327 810320

Join our email newsletter group here…

VitreusArt-mapWakefield-Country-Courtyard