This evening I attended the first of six beginner’s stained glass classes at Northern Art Glass, a local studio that (in addition to offering a whole bunch of courses) does custom and restoration/conservation work. They do some seriously gorgeous work (one, two, three) so I was pretty excited when I stumbled across their website poking around for a place to take a class.
What surprised me most (and is clearly an indication that I need to get out of the house more often) was that the store (in spite of the “Closed” sign on the door) was full of people. There was at least one or two other classes being taught, and it seemed like a bunch of other people were there using the studio/workshop space for personal work. My class only has three other people in it, and Lynne (the instructor) was fun and friendly and obviously excessively knowledgeable about her craft. I’m pretty sure she could have gone on for the full two and a half hours just talking about the various types of glass available.
After a quick rundown on the whole process of doing copper foil glasswork, we finally got down to the serious business of turning larger pieces of glass into smaller pieces of glass using a variety of glass cutters (and, to the man, drawing blood in the process). Lynne, after watching me struggle valiantly with a pen-like glass cutter, made fun of me a little, asked me how sore my arm was, then suggested a more ergo-friendly cutter. Valuable advice, in that it made my cuts easier, more accurate, and significantly less stressful on my wrist/fingers/arm. Yay! Ergo stuff rules. (Aside to shaver: Yes, I ordered my Kinesis gear.)
So after chopping up some plain old glass into random bits, we spent some time chopping plain old glass up into non-random bits, following a very simple three piece apple pattern. Once we got a hang of that, we moved on to actual coloured glass and chopped it up into the apple bits. Then, surprisingly, it turned out that 2.5 hours was over, and I jumped on a bus to come home.
I had a lot of fun, and am already looking forward to next week. I’ve always loved stained glass (windows, doors, lamps, candle holders, panels, room dividers, what have you), so I could see this actually becoming a relatively viable hobby. The equipment and materials aren’t exceedingly expensive, and it might be a nice way to get away from the machines for a while. Hm!