Fall Workshops and Classes

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If you follow Stafford Art Glass on our Facebook page, you will  know about the slew of delays I have had in getting the studio back online again.  It has been kind of exciting, in a weird way, if only because of the significant improvements I have been able to work into the studio while waiting.  Oh, and the fingers I broke last Fall are doing very well, thank-you (the first of a few of the snarls time-wise!).

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Myself, I have tried to remain as Zen about this as possible.  While I very much want to have glass available to an eager group who has expressed interest in it, I also know that once I get in the thick of things once the furnaces are turned on and the gas bills keep climbing, it will be harder to make the changes that I have made this past Spring and  Summer.  These are all great changes, they just took some time (some longer than others!).

As I sit here, the furnace is actually on  its second melt, which means that it is producing excellent glass, the doors to all of the furnaces and a kiln have been hooked up to pneumatic foot control (nice for when you are holding a blow pipe),which means they open and close without having to muscle them open and closed by hand. The vent hood has been enclosed for more efficient ventilation, a fan has been wired in for that vent hood, and some other equipment have also gotten some upgrades.

 

Over the course of the last several months I have ordered over 50 new glass colors, and I put in another order for over half of that amount just yesterday. I have ordered glass color that I think will make for really interesting pumpkins as well as expanded color choices for ornaments, increasing the choices ten-fold. Some of these colors are ones I have not used in my own professional production over twenty years of working in the field (so this is a big step). None of this has been cheap, but it makes for a better experience for all of the people who are eager to sink their teeth into some exciting new offerings at the studio. One of the upgrades has been making sign-up for classes or workshops something that you can do from your phone or computer online.

Beginning the first of October, I will be rolling out my new internet booking calendar.  This calendar will be available right here on this blog at www.staffordartglass.blog.  This calendar will allow you to book classes from the comfort of your mobile device or from your living room.  From now until the calendar goes live, there will be upgrades and changes being made to the calendar to make it more useful for most of the classes that will be taught at the studio. Even though it is up right now, changes are in the process of being made, so it is not just yet ready for prime-time (but soon!).

Here are some of the classes that will be offered beginning October 1st:

  • Blow Your Own Pumpkin – offered from October 1st through to November 18th. You can pick a thirty minute slot for a small pumpkin or two slots for a larger pumpkin (I will have examples of these two sizes when we get closer to our class roll-out).
  • Blow Your Ornament Ball (BYOB) from November 30th through to December 22nd.
  • Make Your Own Paperweight – available year round.
  • Make Your own Suncatcher – available year round.
  • Weekend Glass Blowing Intensive – the first weekend of each month (subject to minimum enrollment).
  • One-Day Glass Blowing Intensive – the second Saturday of each month (subject to minimum enrollment).

That said, this schedule is just a guide to make things easier for all involved.  However, if someone would like to make a pumpkin in January or even in May, all you need to do is look on the calendar and see if the time is available.  The same goes for ornaments. If you would like to blow an ornament in October to avoid making something in December, you are welcome to do that. The way the calendar and the classes are set up for single items, I have those designed so that an ornament can be made  within a 30 minute booking session (which is how the first calendar is set up—and yes, there may be individual calendars for different classes but I have to work out the coding for that first). Since all classes are individual and include one-on-one instruction (except for the one and two-day intensives) this makes scheduling much easier. In truth, it might only take 15 minutes to make an ornament or suncatcher, but I give you that time to make sure we cover all the bases while each and every person is here.  Likewise, a small pumpkin can be made in thirty minutes and a large one can be made in an hour (you would book two thirty minutes slots and let me know that you want to make a large pumpkin when you arrive). The elegance of the way these experiences are set up is that by doubling up on two 30 minute slots is you get the right pricing and enough time to make your piece.  It is a modular system I developed that makes scaling up simple and easy.

There are many things I do not know just yet about the full functionality of the calendar and how many options I will be able to include, but right off the bat I know that there are some options as I write this that will be available.  For example, this calendar will be able to utilize coupon codes so those of you who follow Stafford Art Glass at Facebook or on other social media sites like Twitter can grab coupon codes that will be announced there and bring them here for making your final booking. To take advantage of these, go to the site for Stafford Art Glass on Facebook, hit “Like” and get the latest codes and updates.  We are located on Facebook  here:

https://www.facebook.com/Stafford-Art-Glass-273860936858/

In instances where the calendar does not allow for the type of flexibility that I might have hoped, I will be announcing work-arounds in the event that someone wants something custom or different from the norm.  But as of right now, I am still learning how to make this calendar as flexible for your use as possible.  I am using one of the highest rated booking calendars out there available for the Word Press platform (it even takes payments) so I am expecting a high degree of functionality once I uncover all of the bells and whistles in the next few weeks.  Given how this past year has gone, I am a little gun shy about making promises about exactly how I expect something like the new booking system will work.  I just know that once I sink my teeth into it, I will be able to work through the software to help bring value to my customers.

If you subscribe to the blog, you will be kept up to date about any new classes or events happening that involve booking your place for an event.  While there will also be updates on Facebook, these can easily get buried under new posts. Word Press makes it so that you can receive updates through email as well as SMS (text message to your phone) which can be even more convenient for many of you. I can also provide class descriptions here that may be too lengthy for Facebook readers.

You will find that prices are inclusive for all of our classes. That means no pesky add-ons that you have to worry about. Anyone taking a class also receives 15% off all merchandise in the gallery as a special thank-you for educating yourself about what it takes to delve into the world of glass making.

In the meantime, until we reach the first of October, I will be working to produce samples of a full line of ornaments that will make deciding on an ornament color combination easier once you show for your time slots. I will do the same with sample pumpkin color combinations, too. Then, if you get here and can’t decide what colors you would like, I will have some samples that might make deciding easier.

Thank you all who have been following along for your patience!  My hope is that the changes will be welcome and will make everything just a little bit more easy. Here’s to a fun and exciting Fall!

Keep It Hot,

~Parker

 

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HoT GLass WeEkend! January 11-12

Come help us make Stafford Art Glass sustainable into the new year!  With the popularity of our BYOB event this past Christmas, it’s decided that we will continue to offer another event so those who were too busy or did not notice in time, can take part.

The studio in Newport Virginia

Join us for a weekend of hot glass at the studio in Newport.  Located just ten minutes from Blacksburg on Route 460W, the studio is a gallery and hotshop all in one. It is also a place to learn how to make beautiful objects in glass.  At this event you have the opportunity to sign up for thirty-minute slots to make either a suncatcher or paperweight; a suncatcher takes half an hour, a paperweight takes about an hour.  Double up your thirty minute slots, back to back, so you can make a paperweight during this event!

Event runs January 11-12 10:00 a.m. – 8 p.m. each day.  Sign up for blowing slots by “liking” us on Facebook and messaging us what times work for you and what you plan on making.

We are also having a sale at the gallery that is 50% off wholesale pricing as well as a second sale of selected works from the production floor.  These are at unheard of prices.  One example is our Andromeda Geodes, a paperweight with a galaxy inside, which normally sell for up to $120.00 in galleries are as low as $18.00 at this event only.  People sometimes ask us why our Perfumer2seconds are priced as they are and its simple.  Our seconds never have ANY structural flaws.  No chips or cracks, only slight cosmetic flaws that keeps us from selling them as firsts.  Most people do not even recognize these “flaws” as flaws at all!  For example, pieces may be a slightly different size, or the design in the center might be slightly off-center, or the galaxy might not be perfectly symmetrical.  I know it’s a small thing, but our work has to be perfect, gallery ready, and our galleries want consistency as one smaller piece in a grouping might not sell as readily.  So we keep them and sell them at our studio!  This is an excellent opportunity to buy great work at unbelievable prices.  Perfume bottles for a song, all original made in our studio quality work!  Bowls, vases, paperweights, ornaments, suncatchers, and yard ornaments, pendant jewelry; it all goes for half off!

If you want to sign up to make something during the weekend, slots are reserved on a first come first served basis.  At this price, slots go very quickly and availability to limited!

Whether you plan on blowing glass or simply watching the fun ensue over the weekend and looking over our sale offerings, this is a great family friendly weekend!  For those who wish to blow glass we ask that you wear all cotton shirts, preferably with long sleeves when possible (we do have arm protectors) and sunglasses (we do have safety glasses that fit over regular glasses if needed).  No

A recent participant in our BYOB event in December making a suncatcher (hers is the red and pink piece directly above this image)
A recent participant in our BYOB event in December making a suncatcher

open toed shoes, and jeans are best.  Everyone has a different comfort and skill level and we adapt to your needs as a student.  We work as a team one-on-one to realize your glassy creations!  Work made must anneal in our kilns overnight for ornaments and 24 hours for paperweights. To keep things simple for us, we ask that you either respond to this post or respond on facebook and message us there so we can keep our scheduling quick and easy for all involved!  Thanks for your understanding!

For questions you can message us here or go onto our facebook page to find out more!https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stafford-Art-Glass/273860936858

Classes At Stafford Art Glass – Two-Day Intensive

This is what you came here for.  This is the one class that gives you the most bang for your buck and the most in-depth experience in blowing glass.  With two days available you have the opportunity not only to try certain objects for the first time, you get the opportunity to hone your skills and create work that any budding artisan would be proud to call their own.  I often explain to students that were you to buy the objects that you will make in this class, you would wind up spending almost the same amount without ever having gotten the experience of doing it yourself.  And it is true. A handblown ornament made by a U.S. artisan approximately 5 inches in diameter easily sells for $24.00 in most galleries and boutiques across the nation.  You will have the opportunity to make up to three of these during the class including a large suncatcher, which we were told were selling for $110.00 at a gift shop in North Carolina recently (these large suncatchers are slightly smaller than a soccer ball and work great in large sunlit windows and can be adapted during class to be used as a yard ornament on a copper holder).  Paperweights range from a low of $75.00 on up to $200.00, for example.  This is a great class for making truly one of a kind gifts as well as building skill in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The Two Day Intensive Class at Stafford Art Glass is a stellar opportunity to immerse yourself in the art of hot glass in a fun and supportive environment.  For beginners, there is no better way to satisfy your curiosity about this ancient craft that is part art and part alchemy!  I pride myself on taking people who do not believe they have a creative bone in their body and showing them the rich potential that glass has for expression and creativity.  When you consider that for a material that looks dazzling after it has been drizzled onto the floor, think what you can do when you apply some direction and burgeoning skill into the mix!  We guarantee that you will come away absolutely amazed by the beautiful things that you will get to make.  There is nothing in the world quite like glass for its color, brilliance, and expressive potential.  So far, we have a long list of believers that are growing by the day.  This makes glass an excellent material for teaching art and craft.   You owe it to yourself to catch the wave that is glass and find your own creative inspiration!

What’s Included

All materials, tools, and supplies are included for the making of the work you choose.  All color that is currently in stock is available to students to use during the class.  Shipping costs extra but is done so at cost.  No packing charges are made for our students (only costs for materials and actual shipping costs for the carrier of your choice – USPS, FedEx or UPS).

Lunch is provided by the studio both days. We make for our students a  large hero sub on freshly made bread sourced from our local artisan bakery made with fresh ingredients with condiments of your choice to add.  A variety of drinks are available from iced tea, water, juice, and soda from our local healthfood store.  Fresh fruit is served for desert.  Anyone who is vegan, vegetarian, or who has food allergies or sensitivities to certain food, should alert us  and we will accommodate your request with an option agreeable to your needs! All food needs require three days notice prior to the start of class so our staff can make sure all necessary menu items are on hand and prepped for the day in question.

The studio stocks a variety of healthy snacks for those who need an energy boost through any part of the day.  These vary but may include protein bars like Cliff bars, nuts, trail mix, and fruit.  The studio also has a shower for anyone who would like to dress out of sweaty clothes and get cleaned up.  Towels are available for your use as well as several types of shampoo, conditioner and soaps.

Classes at Stafford Art Glass begin at 9:30 and after introductions, the course begins with a review of safety guidelines and the tools and equipment used to make hot glass.  After this brief introduction, guests are taken right into the making of their first object; the ornament and sun catcher.

Each student learns how to gather glass from the furnace, shaping the “gather” and apply color to the clear glass coming from the furnace.  The glass is heated at the reheating furnace, and,  working together, the student and teacher work to blow the ornament or sun catcher ball.  A hanger is then put on with hot glass and the piece is put in an annealing oven where it will cool slowly.

The next piece is the paperweight, which will include all of the same color applications and shaping processes as the ornament but in a solid piece of glass.  A wide variety of shapes have been made during these classes from egg shaped, spheres, and disks.

There are a number of options available to students based on their interests. Normally we teach students how to make their own tumbler first in order to introduce them to the world of vessel making.  It is also pretty cool to have your own drinking glass.  It is after the drinking glass that we then focus on making bowls.  A variety of techniques will be covered from frit application, color wraps, as well as optic molding for unique ruffled shapes.  Normally all of this is accomplished the first day, although the course is paced to the students so sometimes we can move quicker or slower depending on how the day goes.

By the second day, we are working either on bowls or beginning to work on flowers.  We finish up the day with the option to repeat tumblers, bowls, suncatchers , paperweights, or to go on to make a small vase form.  If there is time available students will be shown how to make a special art glass pumpkin (with unique colors and metallics utilized in the design).  The class ends at approximately 5:00 p.m. each day.  I say “approximately” because if necessary, we can stay longer to complete an entire rotation if we are close to getting everyone finishing up tumblers or bowls on the first day, or getting all objects complete for everyone on the second day.  Me and my staff work hard to make sure that students who lose a piece on the pipe (rare but it can happen) get to make up the work so they get as many pieces completed as possible!

Students continue to come out for these classes because of the broad range of possibilities provided.  Students have a gallery and a working studio where work can be viewed in various stages of completion partly to see what is possible and to draw inspiration.  All participants also receive 30% off all glass made at the studio in the gallery or in the workshop during their visit to the studio for the class.

Cost

Regular retail cost:  $475.00 per person.

Bring a friend and get $55.00 off per person.  Bring three people and you will get your class at half price. Participants that you bring also get $50.00 off

See us on Facebook (stafford art glass) or contact us directly to learn more about current promotions that can save you 50% and more on this class!  All classes prepaid 14 days in advance receive a 4% discount.

Requirements

Requirements for classes are no open-toed shoes and all-cotton clothing.  No synthetics should be worn.  Wear comfortable clothes.  Ages 13 and up may participate in our classes. Work made must be annealed and also finished and can be either picked up three days after the class, or we can ship your items to you.  Each class requires a minimum of four students per class.  We require two week notice for the scheduling of the two day intensive class.

Registering

Purchase can be made with cash, check, or charge.  Stafford Art Glass accepts Visa and Mastercard.  Reservations for specific days can be made via email or phone by sending email to info@staffordartglass.com or text/call (540) 605-0034.  Hours of operation are Wednesday and Friday 10-2 and 3-5 p.m.  Saturday 10:00-6:00.  Other hours are available by appointment and while we do not post Sunday or Monday hours, both days are available for classes.  Normally the two day class is offered on a Saturday and Sunday unless otherwise scheduled. 

Hotel and Transportation

We can be your source for helping you find suitable lodging and if you are flying into the area.  We can provide you with transportation to and from the airport as well as your hotel for an additional fee.  There are a number of very nice local Bed and Breakfast opportunities in Giles County as well as franchise run hotels within half an hour drive of the studio.  The studio is  fifty minutes from the Roanoke Airport and twelve minutes from Blacksburg.

Classes At Stafford Art Glass – Daylong Intensive

The Daylong Intensive Class at Stafford Art Glass is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the art of hot glass in a fun and supportive environment.  For beginners, there is no better way to satisfy your curiosity about this ancient craft that is part art and part alchemy!

What’s Included

The course begins with a review of safety guidelines and the tools and equipment used to make hot glass.  After a brief introduction, guests are taken right into the making of their first object; the ornament and sun catcher.  We work throughout the day on correct methods and techniques while also enjoying the process of creating beautiful objects in glass.
Each student learns how to gather glass from the furnace, shaping, as well as applying color to the clear glass coming from the furnace.  The glass is heated at the reheating furnace and working together, the student and teacher work to blow the ornament or sun catcher ball.  A hanger is then put on with hot glass and the piece is put in an annealing oven where it will cool slowly.

The next piece is the paperweight, which will include all of the same color applications and shaping processes as the ornament but in a solid piece of glass.  A wide variety of shapes have been made during these classes from egg shaped, spheres, and disks.  We include techniques that include solid jewel colors, powder applications, and even cane work.  There is a color palette available at the studio.

There are a number of options available to students based on their interests.  In some cases, flower have been made, in others we have worked on making tumblers.  While tumblers take more time, they also provide the student with the widest range of skills for glassblowing and helps to set the stage for then learning how to make vases.  Having your own drinking glass is also pretty cool.

NOTE:  Our weekend or two-day intensive includes these items while expanding the range of forms possible including sculptural glass, yard ornaments, bowls, flowers, as well as abstract sculptural pieces.

Discounts Available

Students continue to come out for these classes because of the broad range of possibilities provided.  Students have a gallery and a working studio where work can be viewed in various stages of completion.  All participants also receive 30% off all glass made at the studio in the gallery or in the workshop.

There are also discounts available to groups who help us to set up classes by bringing friends, coworkers, and family.  The cost for this class is $220.00 per person and has a four person minimum for forming a class.  If you bring friends or family with y0u, there is a $30.00 discount available per person that you bring.  You can keep this discount for your own or spread the discount to all other participants when coming as a group. Classes are considered a service and are not taxable, so you save an additional 5% when purchasing a class.  If you are a student with a valid student I.D. you can save an additional 10% after all discounts have been applied.

See us on Facebook (stafford art glass) or contact us directly for promotions for classes that can save you up to 50% off the regular list price for classes!

Requirements

Requirements for classes are no open-toed shoes and all-cotton clothing.  No synthetics should be worn.  Wear comfortable clothes.  A long sleeved shirt over a t-shirt is advisable for maximum comfort.  Ages 13 and up may participate in our daylong classes.  Work made must be annealed and also finished and can be either picked up three days after the class, or we can ship your items to you.  Stafford Art Glass provides bottled drinking water for all participants.

Registering

Purchase can be made with cash, check, or charge.  Stafford Art Glass accepts Visa and Mastercard.  Reservations for specific days can be made via email or phone by sending email to info@staffordartglass.com or text/call (540) 605-0034.