By Ann Roberti
If you have always looked at beautiful stained glass windows and thought, “I’d love to be able to do that,” you are in luck. Suzanne Fortin has brought her design, execution and teaching skills to Andes, and interested area residents should take advantage! I have always admired beautiful stained glass panels and I jumped at the opportunity to learn how to create one when Suzanne posted on Facebook about classes she was offering. Each class is limited to 3 students, giving Suzanne plenty of time to spend with each participant, guiding us through each step of the process of creating a panel of our own. The studio is comfortable and welcoming – a lovely place to spend 2 ½ hours each week for the 6 weeks of our class. The environment and class size make for a wonderful evening talking, laughing and encouraging each other as we work on our individual pieces.
On our first night, we learned about the different types of glass used in stained glass work, different types of foil, patinas and more. Suzanne talked about the physics of glass and how to cut and break it the way we want rather than the way it wants. Soon we were picking up tools and cutting glass into straight pieces and even curves. We then selected designs from various templates Suzanne offered for our class projects, and we went home thinking about color options for our designs.
The next class was spent picking the glass we would use for our projects from Suzanne’s large collection of beautiful colored and clear, smooth and textured glass. We also looked at many of the beautiful pieces Suzanne has in her studio and photos of work she has done for customers that are now installed in their homes. Suzanne is a skilled teacher and my two other classmates, Mary Davis and Liz Brosi, and I marvel at how much we accomplish in each class.
In subsequent classes, we cut the glass to fit the various pieces in our designs, ground the edges to rough them up and then carefully foiled the edges of each piece.
With one class left, we each had all the glass for our projects cut, ground and foiled and anxiously looked forward to our first lesson in soldering. Soldering turned out to be the most challenging part for us beginners, but we were all pretty happy with our final pieces after we cleaned them, applied a patina to the solder and buffed the whole panel.
We enjoyed the class so much that we three classmates immediately signed up for the intermediate class and look forward to our next project and to spending more time with these classmates and teacher who have become friends.
Suzanne continues to offer beginner and intermediate classes. If you are interested, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out when the next classes are set to start.
Suzanne also accepts commissions for both stained glass and mosaic projects and has made many wonderful pieces custom-designed for happy customers around the country.
You can see more of Suzanne’s work at the following websites:
Another great class being offered in Andes is pottery throwing at The Potter’s Schoolhouse. These classes are being offered by the very talented Stephanie Theado of Stephanie Charlene Ceramics (formerly Little Delaware Pottery). Lessons are one-on-one and can be scheduled online. More information can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thepottersschoolhouse/ You’ll be hearing back from me on this cool class soon.~