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Learning how to work with stained glass

Nancy Carillo, producer, holds one of the stained

Nancy Carillo, producer, holds one of the stained glass pieces designed at Stained Glass Workshop in Farmingdale, which offers classes, does custom designs and selsl supplies. (Jan. 5, 2011) Credit: Photo by Barbara Alper

Who can resist the awesome beauty of a stained-glass window with the sun igniting its vivid colors into fiery brilliance?

As an art form, using bits and pieces of stained glass as a medium is so appealing to amateur and professional craftspeople, it has found its way into the realm of producing all manner of objects - boxes, sun-catchers, cabinet doors, window panels, lampshades, sconces and ornaments.

"Creating objects of stained glass requires patience, perseverance and the ability to visualize each step of the process," says Jerry Fotinatos, owner of The Stained Glass Workshop in Farmingdale.


Beginners and advanced crafters alike can find professional help with every phase of creating stained-glass work, from retail suppliers for materials to classes and workshops for instruction.

Students learn to master the act of cutting glass in curvy shapes, edge them with copper foil, solder the pieces into a whole design and then frame and finish the piece with professional techniques.

Fotinatos estimates it costs about $90 for supplies and tools including a soldering iron and solder, glass cutter, pliers, copper foil, flux and grinding tool. Glass is often an additional expense. All the workshops listed use the copper-foil method of joinery because of its flexibility.


Stained Glass Workshop

80 Smith St., Farmingdale

INFO 631-249-3030,

CLASSES Five-week sessions 7-9:30 p.m. Thursdays. Next available beginner class starts March 24.

COST $175 plus tools and materials.

In business 35 years, Fotinatos' showroom is packed with inspirational examples of the art form alongside a comprehensive retail space that sells supplies and equipment. "Aside from being able to make a beautiful object for a fraction of what it would cost to purchase, it lets people explore their creative ability," Fotinatos says. Beginners make sun-catchers and window panels, while more advanced students choose their own projects.

K's Stained Glass Studio

1759-D Middle Country Rd., Centereach

INFO 631-648-8885,

CLASSES Five-week sessions run noon-2:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and 7-9:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays

COST $140 plus supplies.

Beginners make sun-catchers and small window panels. "I'm very flexible," says owner-instructor Karen Capasso. "Sometimes, people need a little help with a project and can't commit for a full course, so I . . . them walk in and pay $10 an hour for studio time. They've made things like garden stakes topped with stained glass butterflies, hanging lamps and weatherproof bird feeders with brass caps and even wind chimes."

Islip Art Museum

50 Irish Lane, East Islip

INFO 631-224-5402

CLASSES Seven-week course 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays March 5-April 16

COST $95 plus supplies.

Instructor Stella Castro has taught the craft of decorative stained glass for 20 years and encourages students to use imagination in creating original items. One made stained glass fan lights studded with colored faux jewels from India, while others have crafted trinket boxes of their own designs.

Art League of Long Island

107 E. Deer Park Rd., Dix Hills

INFO 631-462-5400,

CLASSES Six-week course will start in April (date and time to be determined).

COST $265 ($245 members), plus tools and supplies

Retired art teacher Julianna Kirk instructs students in making colorful, creative works. Students create stained glass panels up to 2 square feet using original or pattern book designs.

The Cellar Door 

3225 Sound Ave., Riverhead

INFO 631-727-2682

CLASSES Five-week beginners session 6:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesdays will be offered in April.

COST $150 includes supplies

The gift shop sells stained glass supplies and reserves work space with owner David Troge, who instructs beginners and helps advanced clients with projects by appointment. "For example, someone may have cut the pieces for a lampshade and need help putting it together," he says.

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