Recently I unplugged and took time for myself. I wanted to try something artistic I had not done before, so I took a stained glass class. It was so much fun!
I had learned about the class from a stained glass artist who has studio space in Gallery 222 in Malvern. Her name is Jill Huentelman and her business is Huentelglas. I actually know her a bit and one of her stained glass Christmas ornaments has hung on my Christmas tree a few years.
I love stained glass. I have since I was in elementary school and we took a field trip to a glass blowing and stained glass place. I wish I could remember where it was. I bought a pear stained glass light catcher that I still have today. I have light catchers all over. A bunch from my childhood that my mother gave me, some I found, and a bluebird that belonged to a mother of a friend once upon a time.
Before we started to work on what I was going to create, I learned about a bit of the history of stained glass. Then in with the history came to safety aspects of how to behave in the studio, and how to act around the glass for lack of a better description. Jill is a wonderful instructor and I loved every minute of my time in her studio.
So in the end, I decided I wanted to make a bird instead of a pear. Jill will choose a pear with people to make because that way it is a simple design and not extraordinarily complicated for the first time working with glass like this.
I drew my pattern. Next came choosing the glass.
Jill has so much glass and it’s so cool. There’s plain glass and glass that has pattern and almost texture to the top of it. The glass I chose was reminiscent to me of slag glass I have seen in church windows in Chester County.
Wow, I was learning to cut glass for stained glass! First, I learned how to cut straight lines. Then I learned how to cut curves, and then I was ready to cut out my pattern. It was fun! (And nerve wracking because I didn’t want to make a mistake!)
After I cut out my glass, we did the grinding to smooth any sharp edges and make the design look more like what I wanted. After it was cut out and ground, it got a quick wash off.
Next comes this copper foil. Wound and worked around the edges and rubbed smooth with a special stick which has a name- I think it’s a burnisher, but I think it also has other names.
Next comes the soldering. And soldering involves this stuff that looks like dark Vaseline called “flux.” It makes the soldering stick.
After the soldering and the gluing of the bird’s little eye came another bath and rubbing it down and shining it up with a finishing compound. It keeps the soldering silver and made the glass shine more. It’s a shine and buff.
My class was actually a few hours long and it flew by so quickly it seemed like it was half an hour.
The classes are reasonably priced. You can find everything on her website. The price of the class includes all your materials and there is also a waiver to sign before you enter the studio. Another thing that I should’ve mentioned before is that at various times during this creative process, you rinse your hands off with a special soap that pulls metal and things out of your skin because we’re touching things that contain metals like lead.
It was SO much fun and I think my bird turned out great! So far the classes are just a one off, but if Jill did a series, I would totally sign up! If I took another class, I would like to learn how to make those cool stakes that you can put in your flower pots.
Also, while I was there, I got to see what was hanging on the walls of Gallery 222 in Malvern, which is such an awesome place.
Having art in your life, and the ability for creative outlet is something I’ve always found to be important. Much like gardening, it’s just good for your head and soul.
Thanks for stopping by!