Tag Archives: craft

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 Gentleman Crafter – as seen on TV and now on the road!

A post by Jenny…

We all like to share and re-post helpful FB comments, Tweets etc. that raise awareness of charities, disabilities and even political issues.

This is all very well, but apart from raising peoples’ awareness of these issues what does it actually help to achieve?
I for one am not really sure.  I find myself reading these things (sometimes, if I have time) but don’t actually do anything about it and I am sure there are a lot more out there that do the same as me.

So to actually help and hopefully make a little change, Vitreus Art is getting involved  with The Gentleman Craftsman, AKA Mr John Bloodworth  as he sets out on his new charity challenge – The All Counties Craft Challenge.JohnB

https://gentlemancrafter.wordpress.com/all-counties-craft-challenge/

We will be giving over our studio space on the 6th & 7th August so John can run two days of paper crafting in aid of MIND (http://www.mind.org.uk/about-us/)

In short MIND provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding – and a lot more besides.

The Gentlman Crafter (as he likes to be known) will be traveling the length and breadth of the United Kingdom in his trusty campervan and inviting people to take part in all manner of crafts.
You can book on to any of his workshops whether it be in your county or not, and learn a vast array of different crafts with John.

Some of these events will take place in his campervan so numbers are limited, due to space. Others will take place in venues like ours at Vitreus Art, Village Halls, anywhere able to provide a space for John to teach his crafts to like-minded people.
All proceeds will be going to support MIND.

Check out The Gentleman Crafter’s website to find out more about The All Counties Challenge – https://gentlemancrafter.wordpress.com/all-counties-craft-challenge/

If you would like to book on to one of the days being held at Vitreus Art’s studio-gallery you will need to be quick as spaces are limited here!
The cost of the workshops here are £30 for the day, and will include the materials you will need for the day.
The ARTea Rooms on site here will be open for lunch or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch with you.  Tea, coffee, soft drinks will be offered during the day as will biscuits!!

During the day you will create a framed paper art picture. This will incorporate various paper shaping techniques including quilling, paper cutting, scoring and folding for artistic effect, punching and making dimensional paper folds all of which will lead up to the finished piece. It’s going to be amazing!

All that for an amazing £30 per person which will go to MIND!!

To book go here and choose the required date, you can pay via card or paypal, it couldn’t be simpler: https://gentlemancrafter.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/all-counties-craft-challenge-group-workshop-potterspury-northamptonshire/#more-7823

If you can’t make the dates for this workshop but would still like to make a donation then please go here https://www.gofundme.com/allcountiescraft

It really is in aid of a good cause which needs all the support it can get, so please do help in some way.
Please don’t be like me and just read about it, take some action – NOW!!

Thank you.
Jenny T (50% of Vitreus Art)

 

The art of giving – guest post from Jenny Timms

Jenny Timms - stained glass artist
Jenny Timms – stained glass artist

The Art of Giving….(or not)!
A guest post by Jenny Timms of Vitreus Art

A few days ago I spent a very pleasant evening at my first Christmas Shopping Evening. Mulled wine and mince pies, Christmas tree and decorations – all in place to make those coming through the door get into the ‘Spirit of Christmas’. Already I hear you cry… It’s only November!!

For me personally Christmas should be about being with your family and friends, eating lots for food, playing silly family games and possibly having one or two glasses too many of Gran’s sweet sherry.

But, for so many it’s all about the ‘bad’ advertising running on the TV (and this year seems particularly bad too me). The kids making a list of all the nasty plastic toys, that will probably just about make it into the New Year, if the batteries last that long; the latest electronic gadgets, the most expensive perfumes and the list goes on.

What happened to the wonderful jumpers granny used to make and wrap? I hear children talking with each other about the most expensive gifts (yes, more than one!) on their list, and they’ll put them at the top, ‘coz mum and dad think what’s at the top is the most important!

Mum and Dad are stressing because most of the gifts on the kids’ lists are around £100 or more each, and they still have the turkey to buy. The children give little or no thought to the cost, it’s just the latest thing in the playground and they must have it.

So what to do?
Say ‘No you can’t have it’, and potentially ruin Christmas because you will ultimately upset the children and they will sulk all day?
Or buy the gift on the top of the list and have a semi-happy day because they have received at least one gift on the list?

Well, for me personally I would say ‘No’; they’ll get over it (bah humbug, I hear you cry) – honestly they do, mine did. And because of my saying ‘NO’, they have learnt the importance of what Christmas means in our house – family time, not purchasing power!

All of my personal views don’t mean you can’t buy gifts. Indeed, I do buy gifts for the family, but they are gifts that have thought associated with them – not advertising power! Hence why I spent last Thursday evening at the Hertfordshire Craft Collective at their Christmas Shopping evening – it’s a place that makes and sells some lovely arts and crafts and interesting vintage fashion.

Also, over the next few weeks in the run up to the ‘Big Day’ – why not take time away from the High Street and visit some of the wonderful Arts & Craft Events that spring up at this time of year.
At these events you will find art, craft and gifts being sold by the artists and crafts people that actually made them – these are not items that have been mass produced or mass advertised, but lovingly created with time, energy and creative thought by an artist.

So before you hit the High Street or the online shopping button – think, what do your gift ideas say about you?
Advertising power, children power – Do they have you in their grip?
Or thoughtfulness and family times – special gifts that you have gone to the trouble to find?

I will now leave you to ponder this.

And to help divert you for the High Street may I recommend you visit the St Albans Christmas Art & Gift Fair on the 3rd December –10am to 5pm?

This is an event organised by Herts Visual Arts and you’re sure to see a wealth of tasty craft and art work, handy for Christmas!
Mike and I will be there with our stained glass Christmas decorations too!
The Old Town Hall, Marketplace, St. Albans AL3 5DJ. www.hvaf.org.uk

And another little suggestion – if you must go to the High Street, why not take a look in some of the lovely arts and craft galleries that have sprung up recently?

Take a look here for some handy places near our studios to visit –
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/buy.html – you’ll find them listed on the right-hand side of the page.

And dare I say it before the 1st December?! Happy Christmas to you and your family.

P.S. To those of you that are religious I apologise, I do know that Christmas has more important values for you – but this blog is written with the world of consumerism in mind.

To share your craft…. Or not?

A guest post by Jenny Timms, Vitreus Art.

To share your craft…. Or not?

Vitreus Art - Jenny Timms teaching stained glass
Jenny teaching a group of intermediate students

As you may know I am one half of Vitreus Art – a small stained glass art studio based in Buckinghamshire. We design and make stained glass art to be displayed in the home,in windows or the garden.
We make pieces ranging in size from small simple sun-catchers to large statement, privately commissioned work.

Mike (the other half, of Vitreus Art!) and I started our company a few years ago after taking a one day stained glass course. This was after seeing some glass work which we both really liked in our favourite place – Porthleven, Cornwall (pay it a visit sometime, it is the most Southerly Harbour on the UK mainland – and it’s a wonderful place).

Anyway I digress, sorry.

Mike and I now teach our craft (or is it an art form? That I think is another question to look at another time).

One of the questions we’re often asked by our students, and others is, “Aren’t you teaching people to become competition?”
Well,  maybe we are, but I don’t mind. It’s taken us sometime to get to where we are, so I think it will probably take our students sometime to catch us up (I hope!).

In years gone past people would have learnt the craft – which was needed back then to create windows for the home – by being trained as an apprentice or by the craft being handed down from father to son. But that is no longer the case. If you want to learn the craft of stained glass art you have to study at college or like us take a simple course and follow that up with years of practice.

Personally, for me I think it is important to share this craft with others, as otherwise it risks being a dying art form.

Both Mike and I get an immense amount of pleasure seeing our students arriving in the morning with little knowledge of what they will be going home with at the end of the day, and then  seeing them leave us exhausted, but having achieved so much, in just 8 hours!
They will have learnt many new skills and will be taking home a beautiful piece of art work which we hope they will treasure for many years to come.

Some of our students will go on to take up the craft; others may tell their friends about the course. We’re always delighted to hear from past students who have bitten the bullet and bought a set of tools and started making pieces!

Even if they do no more glass work, their friends may join us and take up the craft – so one way or another this chain will go on and the craft thrive.

So for me, yes, it is important to share the craft, and I hope others agree.

Get in touch or leave a comment and tell us about your craft experiences!

Jenny

Thanks Monty Don, Mastercrafts Stained Glass

Yes, thanks to Monty Don – much admired by green-fingered housewives (so I understand).

On the 19th April 2010 the BBC broadcast an episode of Monty Don’s programme Mastercrafts, following 3 stained glass novices as they  learned how to design and construct stained glass panels. The programme concluded with a competition to win and create a commission for a local school.
BBC programme link here…

The students were taught by hugely experienced artist Sophie Hussein over a period of 6 weeks. Naturally the 1-hour programme condensed the processes and left much out – but it was still a very interesting piece of TV.

For me it was good to see genuine crafts being given a respectful airing, rather than the superficial ‘here’s one I made earlier’ treatment by another programme last year. (No names, no pack drill…)

Why do I bring this up now, 6 months after the show aired?
Because yet again, at the weekend as Jenny and I were teaching a class of beginners on our one-day stained glass workshop, a member of the public visiting the adjacent gallery (Rowans Galley, Brackley) said to me – ‘Oh, I saw that programme with Monty Don and I thought – that would be nice to try.’

I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said something like that to one of us when we’ve been exhibiting or demonstrating since the programme went out.

And a number of those keen, arty folks have signed up to one of our classes to find out how it’s done;  some have since gone out and bought the tools and got started on their own projects.

So thanks Monty, Sophie (and the 3 talented students featured)!

If you’ve been stimulated by the programme, or would like to try stained glass, we offer our Introduction to Stained Glass course just for you!
Get in touch to find out more or visit my stained glass website.
www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes

I’d like to hear what got you started with your craft or artistic passion – leave a comment!