…Well if you have there is a hobby out there for you that’s First Glass!
Looking for a new hobby that doesn’t involve sweating, does involve creativity, but doesn’t presume you’ve lifted a paintbrush since 1st year in Hight School? Then Kiln Time is for you.
Gently ‘encouraged’ to attend alongside Editor and would-be Andy Warhol Suzanne Martin, off we toddled on a sunny Thursday evening for 90 minutes off glass art. What? Well indeed. My main concern going in was whether I would leave with arm hair singed within an inch of its life. Well neither of us need have worried as we were in the capable hands of Glass artist extraordinaire, Julie.
Now a bit about the master of Julie. Stained Glass work has been her life since 1996, first at GSoA, then, through gilded walls and glassware at The Arthouse in Bath St. There was also a quick stop at masterclasses in worldwide glass HQ, Caithness. Julie has run workshops at the Briggait, King George V Docks and now brings her craft and knowledge to the West End.
It’s quite obvious that this is someone who is passionate about her art, but what else motivated Julie to teach it? Julie says ‘I found 2020-2022 very difficult… isolated and my mental and physical health both suffered. Towards the start of 2022 I found I could lift my mood through glassmaking and re-immersed myself producing lots of work.’
Julie admits she had lost her confidence through this time and didn’t believe she had what it takes to simply sell her creations. ‘I came across a course for women on career breaks who were looking to find flexible, worthwhile work. Making Work Work, based in Edinburgh, are a fantastically supportive organisation… Although it was scary I found out I could manage it and even started to enjoy it again.’
Julie felt so strongly that craft sessions could have such a huge effect on mental health. She wanted to share it with others. Voila – Kiln Time. The class itself is fun, relaxed and indeed, EXTREMELY relaxing. I myself had experienced what can only be described as a day from hell – school run, back to back commitments, vet appointment and double parents night, before running out the door at 5.30. By 6.30, myself and partner in crime Suzanne were surrounded by colour, light and most importantly, space to breathe.
So what goes into the class? Julie uses the science behind glass heating to manufacture little glass semi-spheres of different sizes and extensively different colours. In class, patterns are used and placed under clear glass tiles. Choose a pattern, or like me, just go with the flow and be creative, selecting beautifully coloured spheres to attach to your glass tile design. You have 90 minutes and it’s gloriously laid back; chatting, laughing, enjoying the light, the colour, the space. Breathing out.
The Results are in…
After the class, Julie works on your design at home, melting them on her kiln to fix the glass permanently. They are cut to shape and fired again to polish the cut edges. You can choose to have your tiles as a stand or as a hanging piece.
And so, to the finished pieces???
And, yes, before you ask we ARE taking commissions following our clear talent in this area!
But joking aside, this class is about so much more than walking out having created a physical end product. Creating a space mentally, just for you, just for 90 minutes a week? That’s some pretty special handiwork.
Last words to Julie. ‘I hope to continue guiding others in ways to find happiness and build enough confidence to refind themselves after a setback. And also to provide a place where just being yourself is enough. A no judgement zone.’ Beautifully put.
And no sweating.