If you have always wanted to learn to make stained glass but never followed through on learning the craft, you probably think you have a good reason. As the owner of a stained glass studio, I have heard a ton of objections and a variety of reasons why folks don’t take the plunge and try a class.
Most of the people who stop by our studio while considering whether or not to take classes give us some variation of seven basic reasons they have put off learning to make stained glass. We have tried to give good, sound answers to each. Listed below are the problems and some of the responses we give when these issues are raised.
I’m not “artsy” or creative
You don’t need to be! Can you put together a puzzle? Stained glass uses the same principles. Patterns for all sorts of projects are readily available online and from local studios. Once the pieces are cut and fitted, they are assembled like a puzzle. No need to create the designs yourself. The “art” of stained glass is more how you choose colors and textures of glass to create the effect you want. You can always get help with that!
I don’t have much hand/arm strength for cutting glass
New tools have been developed to address this issue. The pistol grip cutter has replaced the old pencil style cutter. It is more efficient and even helps relieve wrist fatigue when you are working long hours. The Cutter’s Mate adds weight to the cutter to help those with strength issues. Check out these and other helpful new tools at your local studio. Besides, it only takes 12 pounds of pressure to score glass!
I’m afraid of getting cut
OK, it’s true you may get cut — after all, you are breaking glass! But if you use proper safety precautions, as you would if you were baking, cleaning or engaging in any hobby, the chances of getting hurt are slim. Even if you get an occasional cut, it’s generally more like a paper cut you might get in an office setting. The average cut isn’t deep and it heals quickly.
I’m too busy
Stained glass work is easy to do in small steps. You can work when you have a little time, then put it down and come back to it again any time. Each step can be separated from the next to cut the length of each work session. Given it’s stress-reducing quality, stained glass work may be the perfect hobby for the busiest people.
It looks complicated… I’m not sure what I’m getting into
It’s no more complicated than most any other hobby, and less so than some. You’ll learn to cut, grind, foil, solder and finish your piece. These same 5 basic steps are used for any glass piece from a suncatcher to a church window. Go to your local studio and ask them to give you an overview of these 5 steps and you’ll see they aren’t complicated at all.
I’m too old to start now!
Come on… It’s never too late to start a fun new hobby. Creativity at any age is good for the mind. We had an 85 year old take the class and go on to make many priceless gifts for his family members. The key is finding a good teacher who will work with you till you get the hang of it.
If you have health problems, you can still make wonderful pieces by making a few modifications to the usual process. For example: If you don’t see well, try mosaic work; if you have arthritis, try using one of the new cutters; if you have back problems, work in shorter time segments, coming back to the table several times until you finish a piece.
I tried it once before but didn’t get it
There are so many new tools and new techniques coming out every year that you owe it to yourself to take another look at the art. The problem may also have been the teacher (perhaps he or she didn’t work with you until you understood the steps completely) or the class (there were too many students for individual attention).
Maybe there was just one aspect of the craft you didn’t “get.” See if there is another studio in your area offering classes or refresher courses and try again. You’ll be glad you did.
Of course, these aren’t perfect answers for everyone, but I hope they help relieve some of your hesitation about at least trying a stained glass class, and maybe finding a new hobby.