Outside of my writing I've never had much luck with creative endeavours. I do play a little guitar but would love to be able to do something else with my hands that isn't painting or drawing!. When Bristol's Creative Glass Guild invited me along to try a tester day in stained glass making, I jumped at the chance.
The day involved an introduction to some of the basic skills used in stained glass making, at the company's Bristol Studio in Bedminster. Working in a small group (just eight people) we got familiar with the basic tools needed, chose our glass (I opted for some good old Bristol Blue) and set about learning how to cut it. Using a pattern, we cut the lead channelling used to hold the pieces in place and then soldered it all together to make a stained glass mirror. The day course starts at 10am, runs until around 4.30pm and costs £70. Because it involves working with lead, for safety reasons it's not really suitable for pregnant women, and I'd recommend wearing old clothes and shoes or boots, not sandals: hammers hurt when you drop them, and cut glass is sharp!
Our instructor, Karen, was amazingly patient and good-natured and managed to walk all eight of us novices through each stage of production, filling us in on a little of the history of stained glass production and use along the way. The Creative Glass Guild provides all of the materials you need and you'll be amazed at just how easy it can be to create something you can be truly proud of.
What surprised me is just how accessible a hobby stained glass making is. The basic tools are not expensive – you need a hammer, some nails, a glass cutter, a soldering iron and that's about it and, if you're not adverse to a bit of skip diving, you can find off cuts of glass around for next to nothing (remember to use gloves and ask permission though!) I had intended to give my mirror as a present to Mother but instead it now hangs in my bathroom; I couldn't bear to be parted from it.
Creative Glass Guild. 16 Whitehouse St, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 4AY
0871 200 3389, www.creativeglassguild.co.uk
Darryl Bullock. Published issue 59, Nov 09
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