The Art of Stained GlassWritten by Nick Volpe
As with all forms of art, its beauty is defined by sensations it arouses. Perhaps most intriguing aspect in art of stained glass is in its' versatility. It's durable, yet fragile, challenging, but yielding to experienced hands of artist. I discovered this form of art some seven years ago when my girlfriend and I decided to take a series of evening classes at a local stained glass retail store. We took six classes and I have been hooked ever since.
If you are in need of a way to take away stresses of everyday life I would recommend stained glass as great way to "download" and at same time get into a new hobby. It is a form of self-meditation. The steps you'll follow in arriving at your finished work of art will teach you self-discipline, and provide a great sense of artistic achievement. And if you're like me, you will not be able to get enough of it. That's when you'll want to expand out and begin doing projects for others.
But be careful, once word gets out that you're into stained glass, all of your relatives (you know ones) will be first to ask you to make them something. Actually, it's not so bad at first, because they make great test cases and you'll want to experiment.
Where to begin? I suggest a visit to your local stained glass retailer. While not all towns have one (here is a great business opportunity for you) a look into your telephone book should yield a location or two or you can perform an Internet search for local retailers. Start by inquiring into whether or not they run classes. Most retailers usually do because it's a source of increased revenues to them (they know that you'll probably be buying your supplies from them). Cost of classes will be relatively moderate for same reasons. Check out your local County Colleges as well. My instructor also taught night classes there.
TIP: Bring a friend with you; it will add to fun and you'll be able to compare notes.
The place you'll be taking classes from will no doubt also provide you with basic beginners kit, which will contain tools needed to get you started. Expect to find a glass cutter; there a variety of types and you should choose one that your most comfortable with. I have tried a variety myself but in end settled for basic non-oil filled type. A breaker, similar to pliers, is used to snap off glass after being scored. A specially designed scissor is used to cut out your pattern, and of course a soldering iron is used to join cut pieces of glass together. Expect to pay somewhere in neighborhood of $100.
There are other items that you'll need along way, but they will be available to you during your classes, such as grinder, which is used to grind down excess glass, not removed by cutting process and to polish off edges of cut glass. This last part is important because of foiling process that takes after glass is ground down. Foiling is a process whereby copper foil is placed around edges of ground glass. The foil is sticky on one side allowing it to adhere to glass. The purpose of copper foil is to provide a surface for solder to stick too.
Mounting and Framing Your NeedleworkWritten by Katrina Renouf
To start with, I want to state that I am not a professional framer, and many of tips I am about to give are things I have learned from other people, and I have not necessarily had a chance to try them all myself.
Frames are extremely easy to find, and they can be very cheap as well. In my opinion, best places to find them are at yard sales. People are always trying to sell old pictures that they no longer like, and you donít need to like them either, as long as frame is nice. Often you can get them for under a dollar! Thrift stores are another good place to look; I love going to dollar stores just to see what I can find. If youíre in a rush, you can always go to Wal-Mart of K-Mart and pick up something for a couple dollars too. It isnít necessary to have glass in frame, but if youíre not going to use glass, make sure to Scotchguard your work to prevent staining.
The first step in framing is to decide whether you want to use either a padded or non-padded mounting board (I have heard that if youíre not using glass, a padded mounting board looks great). Then cut mounting board about 1.8 in. smaller than back inside measurements of frame. This gives you room to fold over fabric. Next you need to center your needlework. There are a few different ways to do this. One is to eye center and pin fabric to board, then count fabric threads between edge of design and pin you placed. This will make it very accurate, but some people would find it too time consuming. Another way to do it is to measure mounting board and stick a pin into very center; then put center of needlework on pin too.
There are two main ways to mount your needlework. The first one is easiest, but also has more of a chance of damaging your work over time. The other option takes more time, but is relatively risk free. To start with, I will explain easy way. It involves using a sticky mounting board. There is also a great trick to save you some money. You can use cardboard backing that came with your frame and just put some spray adhesive on it. There are two kinds of spray adhesive, repositionable and permanent, so be careful if you use permanent, because you canít move it once itís in place (hence name). Once itís in place, remove excess fabric so it is only 1.5 in. over edges of board, and use masking tape to fold it over to back. This keeps fabric from fraying.