Tag Archives: workshops

Open up for news from Mike & Jenny – aka Vitreus Art

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:
https://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/index.html

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,
Best Wishes
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:
 https://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/classes/glass-fusing-evening-classes-beginners.html

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

What’s new at Vitreus Art?

 

Well you asked for it, and we listened!!

It’s time to take a peek at what we have on offer at your favourite art gallery and creative studio, take 5 minutes from your busy lives and have a relaxing read.

New workshops to enjoy after lockdown are what you have been asking for . So we have come up with a couple of little beauties for you. We’ll set out how we’re re-organising the workshop space at the end of this blog post.

Many of you have been admiring the lovely pebble bowls that Jenny has recently created in the studio, and some of you have purchased them too, thank you.
But, we know that many of you have also been asking how Jenny makes them, and you’d like to create your own.
 
So here you go – follow this link and you can find out all about how you can spend 3 fun evenings in the studio creating your very own pebble bowl. We  announced this workshop last time, and as we are only taking 3 people per course it sold out within a couple of days. So we are now offering a set of new dates in September for you, and surprise, surprise, one place has already been snapped up – so only 2 places currently available, or you will have to wait until we put more dates in the diary.


We ran taster sessions before Christmas where we showed you how to make your very own tealight holders and the demand was so great we have decided to bring you this as a proper workshop.  Again we have listened, and have noted that not everyone can commit to a whole day, so this one will be a half day workshop. Follow this link and you will see pictures and details of the fun session and of course how you can book your place!!
 


The other workshop you have been requesting is ‘Bendy Glass’.
To those in the know this is officially called ‘Glass Slumping’, as you ‘slump’ the glass into a mould using heat from the kiln – but we do like the name that one of our visitors came up with recently, so we are sticking to it – ‘Bendy Glass’ it now is.  Not only will you be adding texture to your glass, but also form.
For more information click here.
 

Wow, that’s an awesome 3 new workshops so what are you waiting for?
Take a look and see what gets the creative tingle in your fingers going.


We know how much you all love Clare Tebboth’s workshops, as her Painting & Drawing course is always fully booked and seldom makes it on to our website.  But aside from the 6-week Painting & Drawing course Clare runs at Vitreus Art, she also runs a selection of one day workshops.
 
Her next one day Oil Painting For Beginners class in the alla prima technique is on 2nd October and there are just 3 places remaining, so if you have ever wanted to try your hand at oil painting, this is the one for you, don’t miss your chance.


Art For Beginners and Art For Improvers Evening Courses with Emily Brady

We know not everyone can make a daytime art course so we asked Emily to run a beginners painting and drawing course on Tuesday evenings for us.

The first Beginners course was a great success with feedback like:

‘An excellent opportunity to try new techniques’, ‘An excellent introduction to various mediums’, ‘Very interesting and fun’, ‘Learned a lot about different techniques and mediums, I feel comfortable about experimenting further’
 

Emily is now teaching the next level up – Art For Improvers, starting on Tuesday August 11th. This is also a 6-week evening course and is perfect for anyone who’s done a little painting or drawing and wants to develop. Small Class sizes, warm studio, tea and biscuits, and a friendly environment – ideal for developing your creativity!
Follow this link for the dates and info – just 3 places left now.And the next 6-week evening course Art For Beginners (which really is for complete beginners and up) starts up again in August. As places are limited we suggest you look at your diary soon and get your place booked!


For further dates coming up after we resume workshops in July please see our Classes website page and you will find an easy to see list on the left hand side of the page.


 New Work in the Gallery

We are very fortunate to know some very talented, local artists and are delighted that we have some new pieces in the gallery from Lou Thomas; on the left, Coniston; on the right – Mont Blanc.


And if you happen to follow our Facebook page you will have seen that Jenny has also been a little bit busy too, creating her new piece ‘Velocity’. This piece actually took 4 firings in the kiln.
Jenny was keen to get the colours just right, so only added small amounts of colour at a time until she reached the point at which she was happy with it.


New Artist in the Gallery
We are very pleased to have recently made the acquaintance of Peter & Greta Holland who between them create some lovely pieces of woodwork for the home and we are delighted to have some of these pieces on display in the gallery now.
 



And now, something a little more serious….
We need to take precautions!

When we resume workshops we’ll be making a number of changes to keep us all safe.

We’ll be restricting access to the gallery side of our premises, and ensuring that the workshop space is kept separate from visitors to the gallery by using the door to the gallery just for gallery visitors and keeping the workshop door closed to other visitors.
  • We’ve re-organised the workshop space so we’ll all be further apart, and not facing each other as has been the case in the past.
  • We’ll all be wearing masks – which we can provide if you don’t have your own.
  • We’ll have cleaning stations and sanitiser at each entrance and workbench.
  • We’re reducing class sizes for the time being and spacing out our teaching benches and student benches.
  • We’ll be cleaning all the surfaces and workbenches, card readers and desks and door handles as well as the kitchens between each session, and at the beginning of each day too
We’re following the official guidance and reviewing the COVID-19 retail and education checklists provided by HM Government in drawing up our workshop and gallery plan.

If you’d like to make a personal visit outside our normal hours so you can visit on your own, just let us know via our contact page.

Thanks for reading, and your support as ever.

Best Wishes
Mike & Jenny

 

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!

Make your own stained glass column lamp – a new 2-day workshop with Vitreus Art

A finished lamp, made to one of the designs we offer on our 2-day workshop

There are few stained glass projects more satisfying than making a piece that’s decorative and practical at the same time!
Our established stained glass mirror workshop gives you a chance to experience this joy for yourself in a beginner-friendly environment.

And now, after quite a bit of planning and thinking and experimenting, we’ve developed a new workshop – 2 days to make your own stained glass column lamp.
We’ve decided to go for a column lamp design for a couple of reasons – it’s a cool, modern design that suits contemporary home decor moods, and it’s a practical project for a beginner with two days to spend, and no prior experience.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy to make a lamp like this though – there are some challenges to overcome, and that’s what this workshop is all about!

Firstly, cutting your glass. For lamps, one generally uses opal glass – it conceals the lamp and gives a pleasing, diffused illumination. However, the partial opacity of opal glass means cutting on top of the deisng (how stained glass is usually cut) doesn’t work as the design’s cut lines are indistinct, or more likely, invisible!

Cutting glass using a lightbox – essential for accurately cutting opal glass

This is where the lightbox comes in, as the photo shows. Make sure the lightbox you use is sturdy enough to use as a cutting surface, like the ones we use in the studio. Most art lightboxes won’t be – they’re designed to be used for tracing.

It’s essential to make sure all the sides of your lamp will fit together precisely too. This depends partly on the accuracy of your glass cutting, and how you set up your sections when grinding.
This workshop will share all of these techniques with you.

 

 

Using jigs is the way to make sure all the sections of your lamp will fit together properly!

Take a look at how I’ve set up my grinding and soldering jig here – using pins and aluminium strips to ensure the sides of my lamp sections are parallel, and that the sides end up the same size!
I used this when grinding the glass, and then again when soldering.

All our stained glass classes for beginners include an emailed PDF info pack, sharing with you where you can buy tools, glass and hardware. Many of our students have gone on to set up their own studios and have told us this information was invaluable to them, along with our advice – provided free to anyone who’s attended one of our classes!

 

Now – soldering your pieces together.
This is where things get a bit trickier! It’s not possible to solder foiled glass unless it’s horizontal. Just a moment thinking about how lamps are made up of several ‘sides’ joined togther and it’s clear that some arrangement to hold the pieces together while soldering is needed.

Supporting all the sections when soldering them togther – we make our own jigs for this

This is where a jig comes in!
We make all our own kit like this – you may find something suitable online if you don’t have the resources to make your own kit.

The jig needs to perform two functions – holing sides together to allow them to be soldered on the outside, and then to hold them for soldering on the inside.
The jigs we use do both tasks to make life simpler for our students – and ourselves!

Soldering a lamp like this takes a bit of skill, and rather more patience.
Over the years we’ve been teaching lamp-making on our extended courses we’ve developed some techniques that take some of the worry out of this essential stage.
We share these on our workshops of course, and the aim is for each student to finish up with a well-soldered lamp.

The next stage – soldering a brass ‘spider’ gives the lamp more strength, and a means to mount the lamp holder.

For the lamps made on our 2-day workshops we update this with a modern, low-energy LED lamp, which we provide.
The skills and techniques are the same though, so if you fancy making a different type of lamp, you’ll know how to approach it.

The next stage is to patina the lamp – giving a finish that’s a blend of traditional and modern – enhancing the look and making the solder lines look smoother too.

And then it’s time to mount the lamp on to its base. We provide a stained wooden base to finish off the lamp, and conceal the bottom edges of the glass sections.

Want to have a go yourself on our lamp-making 2-day workshop?
This link takes you the page on the Vitreus Art website where you can check out the details and book your place.

Happy lamp-making!

Mike – Vitreus art