Glass kiln-formed leaves – slumping and sandblasting with Aline Johnson


Ref: SLW12387

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About this course

Explore texture found in nature, taking inspiration from leaves found in West Dean Gardens and translated into glass. Learn how to make a shallow mould, optimise the translucency of glass and embellish with texture and silver foiling.

Course Description

You will be exploring and studying the beauty of texture, found in nature, and then translating this into glass by making an imprint with loose plaster to be used as a shallow mould. Inspiration and leaves can be found in West Dean Gardens. You will be using clear and coloured fusing glass (Bull’s Eye –Tekta) to optimise the translucency and the textures. Also, you will be using sandblasting and silver foiling to add textures.

On the first night, you will shallow cast a few small samples in glass to be fired overnight (squares and leaf shapes).

The following morning, you will be shown work, inspired by nature, both by your tutor and other glass artists, before looking for objects with interesting textures in West Dean Gardens. The samples made the previous night will be discussed. You will design your panel (23 x 23cm), either by drawing on paper or by imprinting the leaves directly into the loose plaster on a kiln shelf. You can drill holes in the panel for hanging or you can curve the panel in the final firing, so that it becomes free-standing. You will cut leaf shapes out of glass (coloured or clear). The leaves and the panel will be fired at the end of the day, on top of the imprinted plaster.

On day two, you will explore the sandblasting process. You will be shown examples of work by your tutor and other glass artists. Using the samples and glass leaves made on the first night, you will use the sandblasting process to create interesting matt/shiny surfaces through masking certain areas.

When the kiln has cooled, the panel and the leaves will be removed and sharp edges will be ground down to create a smooth finish. They will be returned to the kiln for a further firing to create a flat hanging panel, keeping the imprint intact or curved over a mould; the leaves will go through the same process. You will be shown how to silver or copper foil the glass.

On the final day, you can design the sandblasting pattern and mask the glass textured panel accordingly. The curved leaves can either be sandblasted or silver foiled, or both.

The outcomes will be discussed at the end of the course. The leaves and the panel will be wired ready for hanging. In addition to the panel, all samples can be taken home and used as coasters (squares) and the glass leaves can be hung.


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 until 9pm, 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


  • The cost of 2kg of glass, kiln paper and plaster are included, and they are in addition to any items you may purchase individually. This course is based around the use of Tekta glass.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring along interesting textured objects that you would like to cast into loose plaster.
  • Please bring an apron and wear stout covered footwear (not open shoes).

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pencil and paper
  • Masking tape
  • Scalpel
  • We have a generously stocked craft shop, which opens daily from 8.30am–2pm.
  • For any materials you need to purchase from the shop, we suggest you do so during the first morning of your course, after having discussed them with your tutor.
  • Available from tutor:
  • Extra glass, wrapping material
Please note: Finished work will be fired overnight and the final pieces will be held until they can be collected by you. Pieces from the last firing can be posted (if they are not too heavy) or can be collected later the following afternoon. Your work will be kept for collection for six months. If you are unable to arrange collection within this time, you may wish to consider booking an additional night’s accommodation to enable you to collect your work the following day when the kiln has cooled. If you wish to have your work posted, please pay the postage cost before you leave. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


Aline Johnson

Aline Johnson works from her London studio at Cockpit Arts. After a career in fashion she trained as a postgraduate student at Central St Martin's in glass. She works mostly on glass lighting commissions in collaboration with architects and interior designer. She sells her work though craft shows and started teaching at West Dean in summer 2015.


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

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