The wonders of warm glass with Alex Powell

Ref: SSS08957

Suitable for all

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About this course

Learn new techniques each day as you explore the wonders of warm glass. You are shown how to cut straight and curved lines, how to slump and create texture, how to load and unload the kiln, and the firing cycle. You will design and make several glass pieces that could include bowls, panels and tiles, as well as many experimental sample pieces.

Course Description

If you are a beginner, this six day course is a comprehensive introduction to the wonders of warm glass - fusing and slumping for texture and form. For those that have worked with fused glass before, it is also an excellent opportunity to consolidate skills and learn new techniques across an extended course.

The teaching will centre around new techniques each day, with a selection of small samples being made by you to facilitate learning. You will also aim to make a number of small finished pieces which will be developed within a structured timetable of tutor-led projects across the week.

By the end of the course you will have designed and made a number of glass pieces including a panel or bowl, a handkerchief vase, a drop-out bowl or vase, a glass weaving, and a set of textural tiles as well as many sample pieces in which you may have experimented with techniques and tested out ideas.

Over the duration of the six days, you become acquainted with the glass kiln, understanding what happens to glass in the kiln during a firing cycle, learning about glass compatibility and how to load and unload a kiln.

Firstly the fundamental skill of glass cutting is taught which will cover many types of cutting: cutting straight lines, gentle curves, deep curves, circles and strips as well as cutting accurately to a pattern. The associated glass finishing skills using tools such as the grozing pliers, diamond pads and the glass grinder are covered though the emphasis will always be on accurate cutting to try and eliminate the need for these processes.

Secondly you master the kiln processes of fusing, to melt together layers of coloured glass, and slumping so that gravity is used to create a texture in the surface of the glass. You are introduced to more advanced slumping processes to induce three-dimensional form in the glass. You learn how to fuse or slump at different levels inside the kiln to achieve different effects in glass. A large selection of materials is provided including glass sheet, powdered glass frits, stringers and noodles, metal inclusions such as copper sheet, mesh and wire. Handouts cover kiln processes, chart the firing cycle and explain how to attain different levels of fusing in a kiln.

Thirdly you will be introduced to certain areas of coldworking glass. You will have the opportunity to cut a three-dimensional glass piece on a circular saw. You will also have a brief introduction on how to embellish glass with simple engraving, using electric tools.

Books on kiln-formed glass are available for reference, and images in books and laptop slideshows are shown in order to inspire you. At every stage of the course, demonstrations of specific techniques are made by the tutor to teach practical skills, and your skills are assessed individually against certain criteria to ensure learning is happening throughout the course.

Handouts are given to you to keep which relate to the timing of the course, the health and safety issues pertaining to the workshop, cutting shapes from glass, levels of fusing, the behaviour of glass in the kiln, the firing program and the individual techniques that are covered.

You are prompted to evaluate each other's work as it comes out of the kiln and also encouraged to create an atmosphere of mutual support through the sharing of ideas and knowledge. At the end of the course, there is also a group critique of the work produced and students are invited to talk about their experience of making their panel and of the course in general.

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for your summer school week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

Special Summer School features:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A swap-over session to another course of your choice

• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (pre-booked)

• A celebration with dinner, entertainment and music

• Workshop displays of students' work and informal end-of-course group reviews


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

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).

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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials


  • All materials required for specific projects set by the tutor, including glass sheets, glass products and inclusions, kiln paper and plaster, and firing costs and is in addition to any items you may purchase individually.

What students need to bring

  • The glass used for fusing is Spectrum System 96 fusible glass and the tutor will bring a comprehensive stock of this glass. However you may have your own stock of Spectrum System 96 glass from previous projects that you wish to use and you are welcome to bring this.
  • Apron
  • Fully covered footwear (essential)
  • Digital camera, if you have one

Available to buy

  • Sketch books
  • A selection of drawing materials, e.g. pencils, pens, charcoal, Conté, crayons etc.
  • Scissors
  • Paint brushes
  • Pencils, ruler

It is essential that you are able to stand for long periods of time as this course will involve being on your feet for much of the working time.


Alex Powell

Alex Powell studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute and Glass at Central Saint Martins. She takes commissions for architectural pieces and sells through exhibitions.


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

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