Glass engraving – principles, practice, potential with Nancy Sutcliffe

Ref: SLW09569

Suitable for all

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About this course

Be inspired by the fascinating craft of glass engraving. Explore the different engraving styles with small rotary and handheld tools. Beginners will learn the basics or use the course to refresh and extend your skills.

Course Description

Explore the fascinating craft of glass engraving and gain a thorough grounding in the core skills and techniques of engraving with a flexi-drive drill. From this solid base, you will be encouraged to work in a spirit of experimentation to discover your own personal engraving style.

This course is suitable for both the complete beginner, and for those who already have a degree of proficiency who wish to refresh and extend their skills.

As a group we will consider the importance of design on both flat glass and vessel forms, and discuss the different types of glass suitable for engraving (including recycled). The course will explore the different styles of engraving possible with small rotary and handheld tools. Working from your own original drawings, or from photographic reference, you will be guided through all the stages necessary to transfer your ideas onto glass and begin to develop your skills.

Beginners will work at their own pace, with help and guidance, through short specifically designed exercises which closely examine the range and purpose of particular stones, diamonds and polishers. Improvers will be supported in developing their own projects and original work and are encouraged to bring work in progress to the course.

Most teaching will be one-to-one. There will be lots of demonstration with the opportunity for questions and group discussion; the emphasis is on sharing experience and skills in a supportive atmosphere, with the dual goals of improving technique and encouraging experimentation.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • A basic set of burrs and some practice glass.
  • Drills will be provided. Please bring any good clear glass you may want to work on, along with any burrs you may have and a micromotor if you own one; if you do not have burrs, you may purchase some before starting the course.

What students need to bring

  • Bring your own drawings, designs or black and white photographs/photocopies for inspiration. Try and look at examples of good engraving in museums and galleries or online. Bring some glass to practise on (try charity shops or discount retailers). Improvers should bring a small example of their earlier work.
  • A small container of methylated spirit
  • A small container for water
  • A black cushion / black velvet fabric
  • Any tools you may already own, micromotor, burrs etc.
  • Glass with lead content
  • Practice glass - not pyrex or heat treated.
  • Wooden cocktail sticks
  • Polishing paste if owned
  • Roll of Kitchen paper
  • Roll of cling film
  • Apron
  • Enclosed toe footwear (essential)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Burrs
  • Hand engraving tools
  • Black paper
  • White crayons/pencils/Staedtler pens
  • A selection of diamond burrs, stones, rubbers for use in flexible drives
  • Some pieces of practice glass
  • Tumblers with lead content
  • Sketchpad and pencils


Nancy Sutcliffe

Nancy graduated with a degree in design from North Staffs Polytechnic, and is a fellow of the Guild of Glass Engravers. She teaches at Bild-Werk in Germany and exhibits internationally.
She has work in public and private collections, including the Glasmuseum Frauenau, Germany, and is an exhibiting member of the CAA gallery in London.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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