On Saturday I did a one day beginners’ Fused Glass course with Rainbow Glass Studios in Stoke Newington, north London. Wanting to make sure I got there in plenty of time I set off at crack of dawn to get the Piccadily Line to the other side of London. My reward was breakfast in the Clissold House Cafe in beautiful Clissold Park.
My tutor Eleanor Watson gave me a warm welcome and told me that due to unforeseen circumstances I was the only student that day so I got a private 1-2-1 lesson!
Eleanor started with a thorough explanation of tools and equipment, different types of glass and then moved on to the actual scary bit – cutting. As the position to your workbench is very important I was given a box to stand on so I could reach!!
Eleanor repeatedly demonstrated cutting and then it was my turn. Of course it is a totally different technique to cutting mosaic tiles so I had to forget mosaic and learn to understand how glass works. The hardest part for me was holding the cutter correctly. Once I got it, off I went – not at all scared of the beautiful sheets of glass I was slicing into.
After lunch we got stuck into making actual (sort of) recognisable pieces. The reason I want to learn fused glass is to be able to make small shapes to go into my mosaics e.g. fish, boats etc. I have used bought pre-made pieces before to good effect so felt it was time to expand with my own designs.
With Eleanor’s help, guidance and encouragement I realised the potential of all sorts of pieces that I can make which opens up a whole new style and range of mosaics to me. We experimented with small fish, bubbles, leaves and then I tried larger pieces that can go into trees and lastly some sea/wave strips that can form the base of my seascape mosaics. There are so many different things to learn and I tried to utilise as many as possible, while all the time scribbling notes.
Eleanor is a brilliant teacher and I had a great day creating. She is professional, informative, patient and extremely generous with her knowledge, experience and materials.
At the end of the day we loaded a mixed ability and selection of goodies into the huge kiln you can see in the picture of myself with Eleanor. They will be ‘fired’ over a 24 hour period.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day and would highly recommend a course with Eleanor at Rainbow Glass Studios. I came away with a feeling of exhaustion, satisfaction and a whole new vocabulary: Bullseye, running pliers, tack-fuse. I have to wait to go back and collect my treasures so all that was left was a slow walk through Clissold Park again before getting on the Picadilly Line to go home to the other side of London.
Coming soon: Fused Glass – Park 2.