Tag Archives: beginners

Glass Fusing – what’s it all about? Fusing Workshops at Vitreus Art….

Here at Vitreus Art we offer many different types of glass fusing workshops and we know it can be a little daunting to know where to start your glass fusing journey, but we are here to advise.

Primarily we use the same materials in each workshop, the difference comes on how you layer up your glass and then fire it in the kiln.

Glass Fusing for Beginners

Although, we are happy to teach all our workshops to beginners, the one that we believe is the best starting place, is our ‘Glass Fusing for Beginners’ (formally known at Vitreus Art as Fusion/Inclusion).

On this one-day workshop you will learn not only how to create some lovely pieces of glass art; but we will also teach you the basics of how the glass behaves in the kiln, and more importantly what glass fuses with what glass – you may be surprised to learn that not all glass is the same!

A question we get asked a lot is, ‘Is it just glass that you can fuse together?’, the simple answer is ‘no’, but there are things you do need to know, you can’t just put any old thing into your glass!!

Introduction to glass fusing – Fusion-Inclusion

Take a look here to see everything that is included in our ‘Glass Fusing for Beginners’: Vitreus Art Glass Fusing with Vitreus Art (vitreus-art.co.uk).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tack-Relief Glass Fusing for Beginners

If you fancy adding texture to your glass art (JT’s favourite), then you might like to try our ‘Tack Relief’ workshop. We work with the same materials as on our ‘Glass Fusing for Beginners’, but this time we only work with one layer of base glass.  In addition, we will also work with coloured sheet glass, so you will add glass-cutting to your skill set – always a helpful thing to know when working with glass. It’s not as scary as it looks once you have been taught how.

Vitreus Art Fusing workshops - Tack Fusing
Tack-Relief Fusing – learn to make glass art with relief

More information on our ‘Tack Relief’ workshop can be found here: Vitreus Art Glass Fusing Tack Relief (vitreus-art.co.uk)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fused Glass Slumping for Beginners

Glass Slumping’  is like our ‘Tack Relief’ workshop, but we then add a 3d dimension to our work. The starting point for this is a 30x30cm sheet of fusible glass, and you can decide if you want to make one large piece, a large bowl or platter, or we can cut the glass into smaller sections and you could make several pieces, the choice is yours.

Vitreus Art glass fusing workshops - Slumping
Fused Glass waves – make two of these on our 1-day workshop in Slumping

Click on the link to find out more Vitreus Art Slumped Glass Fusing Workshops (vitreus-art.co.uk)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fused Glass Lanterns, Pocket Vases, Tealight Holders, Fused Glass Jewellery

If you are looking to make something that is a functional piece of glassware rather than a piece of artwork, then look no further than these classes: –

Fused Glass LanternVitreus Art Fused Glass Beginners Classes – Make a Lantern (vitreus-art.co.uk) this one is similar to the ‘Tack Fusing’ workshop with lots of lovely texture,  but you get to make something that will give lovely light in your room and/or garden.

Vitreus Art glass fusing workshops - Fused Glass Lantern
Decorate a lovely lantern in one day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tealight holders & Pocket Vases – If you fancy having a go at glass fusing and don’t have the time to devote a whole day then these two might be up your street.

Vitreus Art glass fusing workshops - Fused glass Tealights
Fused Glass Tealight holders – make 4 in half a day
Vitreus Art glass fusing workshops - Fused Glass Pocket vases
Pocket Vases – make four sweet water-tight vases in half a day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vitreus Art Tealight Holders Glass Fusing Workshops (vitreus-art.co.uk)

Vitreus Art Pocket Vases Glass Fusing Workshops (vitreus-art.co.uk)

These two workshops are run as a morning or afternoon session, so if time is tight these will be a perfect fit for you. Or if you want to try your hand at glass fusing, but not quite sure, these will give you a little taster.

Fused Glass Jewellery workshop where you create pieces of glass art that are wearable – Vitreus Art Fused Glass Jewellery Making with Jenny Timms (vitreus-art.co.uk) this is similar to our ‘Fusing for Beginners’, just on a much smaller scale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pebble Bowls made from Fused Glass

Pebble Bowl – (For me, JT) a pebble bowl is more a piece of art than a useable item, but if you wish to use yours than it would work perfectly as a fruit bowl or similar, not great for holding your soup though!!

Vitreus Art glass fusing workshops - Pebble bowl
Fused Glass Pebble Bowl – made over 3 sessions

This workshop is run over a course of 3 sessions of  2.5 hours, the first session you create your glass sheets of colour, 2nd session your can let go of all your inner tension and have a smashing time with the hammer and your glass. All the smashed glass goes back into the kiln to make your ‘pebbles’. On the final session you will take the time to carefully place your pebbles in the mould, to create you bowl!

Vitreus Art Pebble Bowl Glass Fusing Workshops (vitreus-art.co.uk)

These bowls are things of beauty – not sure I’d be putting anything in mine (just saying).

Screen Printing on Glass

A new workshop to Vitreus Art for 2022 is our ‘Screen Printing on glass’, here we get to use glass powders and stencils to create 2 or 3 dimensional images on to sheet glass.  Most of the work for this class is in the preparation in creating your own stencils Screen Printing with Fused Glass workshop with Vitreus Art (vitreus-art.co.uk)

Vitreus Art glass fusing workshops - screen printing on glass
Screen Printing on glass – a new workshop at Vitreus Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New workshops – fusing with Float Glass

Mike is also venturing into the glass fusing arena – he has now expanded his glass range to include a different type of glass to that used in many of our fusing workshops.

Using ‘Float’ glass Mike is now offering Glass Fusing workshops in:

Vitreus Art glass fusing workshops - Fused Glass Flowers
Fused glass flowers – make 2 over two evenings ready for planting

Glass FlowersFused Glass Flowers – Vitreus Art Glass FusingCourse for Beginners (vitreus-art.co.uk)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ocean WaveFused Glass Ocean Wave Making workshop with Vitreus Art (vitreus-art.co.uk) we have a feeling this is our most popular fusing class currently!

Vitreus Art glass fusing workshops - Ocean Wave art on wooden base
Fused glass ocean wave on wooden base – all materials provided, including the base!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Christmas Decorations too –

 

Vitreus Art Glass fusing workshops - fused glass icicles
Fused glass icicles – make up to 6 in one easy evening session ready for Christmas

Fused Glass Icicle Christmas Decorations Making workshop with Vitreus Art (vitreus-art.co.uk)

Fused Glass Christmas

Vitreus Art glass fusing workshops - Fused Glass wreath
Fused Glass wreath made in half a day (or an evening)

Wreath Making workshop with Vitreus Art (vitreus-art.co.uk)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fused Glass Sunflower

Mike and I are very lucky to know some very talented glass artists, and we have invited one of them, Roger Loxton, to come and teach the fused glass ‘Sunflower’ workshop here at Vitreus Art.

Roger has been creating these sunflowers for some years now and they are always a hit in the gallery. So, we thought we would give those of you who wish to try making your own the opportunity Fused Glass Sunflower workshop for Beginners with Vitreus Art (vitreus-art.co.uk)

Vitreus Art Fusing workshops - Fused Glass Sunflower
Fused glass sunflower – created from scratch over two days

You will learn how to cut glass (if you don’t already know), one the first day you will make the centre of the sunflower, and this will be fired overnight and will be ready for the next day. On day 2 you will cut our all your petals and assemble your sunflower ready to go into the kiln.

 

 

 

 

 

Longer courses in glass fusing

For those of you who would like to jump in the deep end, we run a 6-week evening course. The first 3 weeks are spent learning several different techniques in glass fusing and the final 3 weeks are spent creating your own glass fused project using the skills you will have learnt in the first 3. Vitreus Art Glass Fusing Intensive Evening Course for Beginners (vitreus-art.co.uk)

Vitreus Art Glass fusing workshops - 6-week Glass fusing evening course
Fused glass bowl made on our intensive fusing evening course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, for those of you who have done some glass fusing before, whether it be at Vitreus Art or elsewhere we are running our ‘Turning up the heat’, two-day intensive workshop.

If you are possibly thinking about purchasing your own kiln, but not sure where to start, or find it a bit daunting when you have looked then this course might be the one you need before making that large purchase. Or if you have purchased your kiln, but it’s just sitting in the corner of your studio as you are too scared to plug it in, or not quite sure how to programme it!!

Vitrgeus Art glass fusing workshops and courses - 2 day fusing course for improvers and intermediate learners
Turning Up the Heat – 2-day intensive glass fusing course

This workshop is taught by both Mike and Jenny (me). Mike will give you a good grounding in all things technical from the kilns to how and why glass behaves at different temperatures, whilst Jenny will run you through the pretty stuff along with the how’s are wherefores of how to prepare your kiln before firing it up. We will work on small projects making notes of what we are doing and why, and what part the kiln plays in the process.

 

 

 

 

We hope this has helped you decide on which course would be best for you, but if you do still have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Learn to paint like Monet - one-day workshop with Clare Tebboth at Vitreus Art

Get painting (or brush up your skills) with Vitreus Art and tutor Clare Tebboth

Are you inspired by the amazing art being created all around and want to get started yourself?
Want to brush up your skills, gain confidence, try new paints, new styles, even new media?
These Art classes at Vitreus Art near Towcester are created just for you!

All our art classes are suitable for beginners, improvers and the ambitious keen to expand their skills.
Coming up soon and available to book online or at Vitreus Art studio:

Textured landscapes – working with acrylics, collage and texture pastes

A one day mixed media art workshop with Clare Tebboth, for beginners and up

Mixed media workshop with Clare Tebboth at Vitreus Art
Textured Landscapes – a mixed media workshop for painters at all levels

Friday 29th April – Textured Landscapes Mixed Media – 4 places remaining

 

Expressive Plants and Flowers in Watercolours with Clare Tebboth

A one day workshop painting flowers and plants in watercolours.
Suitable for beginners and beyond.

Expressive Watercolours workshop with Clare Tebboth at Vitreus Art
Expressive Watercolours – a great way to develop your watercolour skills and learn some new techniques

 Friday 13th May – Expressive Watercolours – 3 places remaining

 

Oil Painting – One Day Introduction with Clare Tebboth

A one day course, suitable for absolute beginners and those with some experience in painting in other mediums.
Learn the ‘alla prima’ or wet-on-wet technique for modern oil-painting.

Oil Painting in a day with Clare Tebboth at Vitreus Art
Discover the joys of oil paints in just a day with Clare on this fun workshop

Friday 20th May – Oil Painting in a Day – 3 places remaining

 

Paint Your Own Monet Masterpiece with Clare Tebboth

A one day course, ideal for painters with some experience (but not essential) – learn to paint like the great master!

Learn to paint like Monet - one-day workshop with Clare Tebboth at Vitreus Art
Paint your own ‘Monet Masterpiece’ with Clare Tebboth on this one-day workshop

Wednesday 6th July – Paint Like Monet – 5 places remaining

 

Linocut & More – Printing without a Press

A one day workshop for beginners with Clare Tebboth covering 5 home-friendly printmaking techniques culminating in linoprint.
A fun and productive day for artists at all levels.
Printing Without a Press – learn 5 home-friendly printing techniques including linoprint

Printing Without a Press one day workshop with Clare Tebboth at Vitreus Art
Printing Without a Press – learn 5 home-friendly printing techniques including linoprint

Friday 9th September – Printing without a Press – 4 places remaining

All our one-day classes and longer art and craft courses can be found here:
https://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/

Nominate a hero to receive a free glass workshop with Vitreus Art

Well, as 2021 approaches, we’d like to say thanks once again for your support.
We’d also like to say we hope 2021 offers some glimmer of easier times for all of us.

As this is our last email of the year, there are just a few pieces of news, starting with our opening and closing times.

We re-open for visitors on January 7th, subject to any new restrictions from the government. We’re open from 10am to 5pm weekdays and Saturdays, from 11 to 4.30pm on Sundays and closed on Mondays in January.


Nominate a hero to receive a free glass workshop with Vitreus Art

A reminder from last time – we’d like you to nominate just one person you know who you think has gone ‘above and beyond’ during the time of the pandemic who would appreciate a free craft workshop next year.
Please email us at hello@vitreus-art.co.uk telling us what they have done.

The competition will run until close of business Christmas Eve (16.30Hrs); nominations received after this time will not be included (sorry).
Mike and I will make a short list and then the final 2 winners will be chosen by 2 independent judges
.
The winners will be offered their choice of any of the beginners glass workshops run here at Vitreus Art for free, with the workshop being taken between February and April 2021.

We will announce the winners in the mid-January newsletter.
So once you have finished reading this one newsletter please get your thinking caps on!



Gift Vouchers – last date for emailing

We’re getting a great response to the new design for our vouchers.
Why not give the gift that shows you have great taste?

Vouchers can be printed here in the gallery right up until we close on Christmas eve at about 4.30pm, or can be emailed as a PDF you can print at home any time.

Vouchers can be purchased for a value, for a specific workshop, or for a special project by arrangement with us.
Workshop vouchers can be purchased directly from the website page for the workshop you’re looking at; or vouchers for values from £25 to £100 can be found here:
https://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/voucher.html


Next, we’d like to celebrate some of the new art just arrived.

You’ll find updated online galleries for Richard BallantyneLesley PasseyTina AshtonMarlene SneePenny GermanGraham LesterJulissimo JewelleryClare TebbothNiki Thomas, and Jane’s Inky Arts on the VA website, and a whole host of new work on show at the gallery.

We’re steadily adding more new work to the website too.

And thanks to Lesley and Richard for being the latest artists to being brand new work in. As you can see, Richard’s quirky style is still in evidence with his Angry Battery Hens and Raku Pig series , and Lesley’s new, contemporary depictions of cities, skies and woodlands are just as captivating as ever.
  


And now, before wrapping up for this last newsletter of the year, here’s a special offer for you if you’re thinking of joining us for a workshop in 2021.
Please note – we haven’t said anything about ‘new year, new me’!

The offer is this:
If you book any of our beginners workshops in stained glass or fused glass, or Precious Metal Clay or Silk Painting, you can bring a friend for half-price!

This offer applies to workshops due to be held between 1st April and 30th June, and the offer closes on 15th January at 6pm.
The way it will work is:

  • Decide which workshop and which day you’d like to attend
  • Check with your potential second attendee
  • Book your own place and then email us at hello@vitreus-art.co.uk to request an invoice for the half-price second place.
  • We’ll confirm your second booking when payment is received.
  • Please note – if it’s necessary to issue a refund or a credit note, this will be for the class fees paid.
  • Our usual cancellation terms apply – these can be found via the link on every workshop web page.
  • As all our full-day classes are limited to 4 attendees, please make sure there are enough places showing as available on our website before booking if you’d like to book for a friend.

 


Finally, many thanks to the many folks who attended our charity glass upcycling workshops this year. We’re just about to send off your donations to Myaware, and there’ll be some more money to send to Macmillan too, thanks to your generosity.

This year we made mini ‘Christmas wreaths’ from offcuts of glass.
Photos chosen purely on the basis of which could be cropped to fit the format of the newsletter – there are more over on our Facebook page!
  
If you have an idea of a mini-workshop you’d like to try next year that we could run for charity, we’d like to know your ideas!

Well – it’s time to say stay safe, and we hope you can enjoy some down time or family time when Christmas finally arrives!
Thank-you for your support this year – Jenny and I really do appreciate it.

Best wishes for 2021,
Mike & Jenny

P.S. Please do keep sending photos of your lockdown / Christmas / arty projects – we love seeing what you’ve been up to, and so do our Facebook followers!

The photo here shows an amazing glass advent calendar Alison made here over a few project days, using glass in layers, with wire work to add details, mounted on a base made by her hubby.

The whole concept was designed to be posted to Alison’s daughter in Dubai, with the base made in two halves, and with bespoke fabric pouches for each of the ‘days’ to allow the secret to be revealed one day at a time. Brilliant!

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

What does it cost to get set up in stained glass?

Using the circle cutter for stained glass
Using the circle cutter for stained glass

We get this question often – at craft fairs, exhibitions and gallery demo days: I fancy having a go – what will it cost me?

The flippant answer is – your soul! It’s an engrossing hobby, can become an all-consuming lifestyle, and some even do it for a living!

But sliding back into reality for a moment, it’s not cheap to get started, which is why a day’s course or spending time with an established glass artist is a good idea: it’s not like buying a pad and some paints!

So, come on Mike, what’s involved?

Well – the fundamental tools you will need for copper-foil (Tiffany method) stained glass are:

A glass cutter – not the £3 job you can buy from a DIY store, a proper oil-filled tungsten-wheeled one. Our preference – Toyo Supercutter, costs about £25.

A good pair of grozing pliers, for nibbling, and a pair of cut runners, or glass snappers. Together these are about £15. We use Glastar snappers.

Next, you’ll need a grinder. We have several Glastar grinders, large and small, for teaching, and the lowest-priced one we’ve found that lasts is the Superstar, at £150 now that VAT has gone up.

You’ll also need  decent soldering iron. There seem to be two that are worth considering, both by Weller, the giant of soldering technology! The 80W ‘starter’ iron is ok for occasional use and costs about £50 with a stand to keep it safe when working. The 100W ‘pro’ tool is about £90.

So those are the main tools you’ll need.

But you’ll also need a work surface, a straight edge, layout strips and pins to hold your design together when soldering, and pens, paper, something to keep your glass in, and a good working light. All this lot could cost you £50 if bought in one go.

Oh, and let’s not forget – the consumables!
Foil is now about £10 a roll, and you’ll need at least a couple of rolls to begin with, and solder is now about £10 for half-a-kilo, which is enough to get started with. And flux and grinding lubricant for your grinder, and cutting oil (or white spirit) will add about £10 on top.

And now – glass!
This is a tricky one. We start our students off on clear ‘horticultural’ glass initially while they learn to score and break glass consistently.

This is cheap, but once you’re confident enough to make something with ‘proper’ coloured glass, you’ll find that sheets about 12″ by 12″ cost from £5 up. The fancier glass costs more, but we always recommend newcomers start with Spectrum glass as it’s affordable and easy to cut. And looks great!

For any sort of interesting design, you’ll need several different sheets, and the off-cuts may not be very usable shapes or sizes.

As a guide, we reckon on about £30 for glass and consumables each for our students on our Vitreus Art one-day class.

If you’re looking at leading, a collection of tools to add to the basics above can be bought for about £25, plus the lead itself.

Check back next time for info on some other tools that are fun to use, like the circle cutter in the picture above.
In the meantime, do leave a comment and let me know which tools you’d recommend to a novice, or which you found hardest to use!

Happy glass making,
Mike

P.S. If you’d like to know more about our one-day beginner’s classes, go to:
www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes

Or email me via this blog.