Oriel Glass Studio

Teaching & work with schools

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Helen has taught evening classes at Oaklands College in Hertfordshire and is a Short Course Tutor at West Dean College near Chichester. She also runs individual and small group courses from her studio in Harpenden.

Stained Glass is a complicated medium requiring you to learn a number of essential skills; design, glass cutting, leading, soldering and cementing. Once you have mastered these and made your first leaded panel you may go on to learn how to sandblast, paint and stain the glass. All this can take time and a considerable amount of practice.  It is also quite an expensive hobby as materials and tools are costly -  you should be prepared for this!  Having said all that, glass is a wonderful medium and with some perseverance you should be able to make something of real beauty.

For individual or group tuition please contact Helen directly, preferably by telephone (01582 764834). Classes can be negotiated to suit your particular needs. Costs will obviously vary depending upon group numbers (max 3) and the techniques you wish to cover - everything from simple glass mosaics, leaded windows or more advanced sandblasting and glass painting.


These courses are suitable for beginners or could be modified to suit students with previous experience. You will be working in a professional studio in Hertfordshire with a maximum of three students at any one time. Over the three days you will learn all the essential skills needed to make a leaded stained glass panel. By simplifying the overall design you might allow time to experiment with glass painting techniques and sandblasting – the choice is yours.

Course content

• an introduction to designing for stained glass
• an introduction to the types of glass available and how to use it in your design
• drawing a ‘cutline’, a full size pattern for your work
• glass cutting, leading and soldering, cementing and polishing

If you are a beginner, you can expect make a panel approximately 40cm square (or equivalent in any other shape!), with perhaps 20 - 30 pieces of glass.  You are encouraged to bring design ideas with you but there will be plenty of inspiration and help provided.

You will need to wear old clothes as most techniques are dirty and bring a suitable overall or apron.  No open toed shoes please!   As you will be handling lead, the course is not suitable if you are, or are planning to be pregnant.

Course fees

A three day course will cost £300.  This includes all the tools and materials you will need.  Tea and coffee is provided but please bring a packed lunch with you.

Course dates

Courses are generally organised to suit individual groups of students, ideally when three friends book together.  Courses can run throughout the year, on weekdays or over a series of weekends.  Bookings are currently open for;
Friday to Sunday 8 - 10 August,
Friday to Sunday 19 - 21 September and
Friday to Sunday
24 - 26 October

 Please telephone/email to check  availability or to negotiate alternative dates to suit you.

COURSES AT WEST DEAN COLLEGE nr. CHICHESTER (residential or non-residential)

Helen is a regular short course tutor at West Dean.   The course content is similar to those run from her studio in Hertfordshire although with larger groups of students.

For full details visit www.westdean.org.uk   Course dates for 2014 are 4 - 7 September (course code LW4800)  Please note that at West Dean there is an additional charge of £80 for materials in addition to the published course fees.


Helen has considerable experience teaching stained glass and mosaics to people of all ages from primary school, through GCSE and A level.  She has also made a number of windows for schools either as autonomous commissions or working with students helping them to create their own work

>>  Glass painting by GCSE students at Sir John Lawes School, Hertfordshire

Primary Schools
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Children of all ages are entranced by the magic of coloured glass and suprised by how safe it is to handle when cut into small pieces.  Helen works with adult helpers to cut glass into tesserae which the children can then arrange to form sizeable mosaics.  Examples of these can be seen in a number of Hertfordshire Schools.

  • Garden Fields Primary school, St Albans
  • Manland Primary School, Harpenden
  • Kimpton Primary School, Kimpton
  • Sir John Lawes School, Harpenden
  • Abbey Primary School, St Albans

>>  Kimpton Primary School, Hertfordshire - glass mosaic under construction

Secondary Schools
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 As a progression from work done with primary schools, older children can be taught to cut glass themselves, again forming glass mosaics.  Helen has also worked with individual GCSE and A level students helping them with some of the more complex proceedures of cutting, and leading glass to make their own small panels.  In 2009 she completed an Arts week project with Sir John Lawes School in Harpenden where GCSE Art students were taught to paint glass prior to it being fired and incorporated in a large window for the school''s Science Department

>>  Completed window at Sir John Lawes School, Hertfordshire commemorating the bicentenary of Charles Darwin

Abbey Primary school, St Albans - mosaic window