Crafting with a Mentor

Crafting with a mentor

This month has been the first time I’ve worked with a mentor in my pursuit to learn one new craft a month this year. It’s been a fun experience!

I’ve been learning about fused glass making with Carys Rodwell as my mentor. I say ‘mentor’ and not teacher because when you’re doing something with your own hands, you can’t really be taught. You can be shown, but [highlight bg=”#f7bd78″]to really learn you have to do things yourself.[/highlight]

Fused glass is such a tactile craft that it really brings that point across. Carys could show me over and over how to cut the glass and snap it apart, but only by doing it myself could I understand the glass and how much pressure it needed.

I admit it, it was scary!

The easiest way to cut glass is to cut it in straight lines. Fused glass likes to stay 6mm thick when it fuses, so my coasters project needed three layers of 2mm glass. (I’m very clever with maths.) Cutting everything to try to fit it in a 10cm (4 inch) square was a bit tricky.

You might remember that I showed off my in-progress coasters, before they were fused.

Glass coasters in progress before fusing

To the right, I took a photo before leaving them in Cag’s kiln. It was the last I would see of them before they were fused and cooled overnight. It was a new experience to wait for the final results of a craft. It’s the same sort of thrill you get when you bake. You don’t quite know what you’ll get until the results come out of the oven!

The best part of working with a mentor was that Carys let me pester her with questions about her work and about fused glass. I learned so much more than I got to put to practical use in my coasters. I’m already dreaming of future projects! Having a pro to guide me through the project meant less solo-study before I could put what I had learnt to use. I got to avoid making too many mistakes, too.

Yesterday I picked up my coasters …

Fused glass coasters with copper wire

… And I’m in love with them, wonky edges and all! (I told you cutting everything was a bit tricky!)

Can you see the blue tint to the bubbles by the copper wires? Copper can turn either blue or red when it’s fused, and there’s no way to control the result. It adds such a quirky edge to projects.

Copper in fused glass

A sample with copper hearts showing off how copper can change colour – even in the same conditions!

Working with fused glass has forced me to learn some other skills, too. Like how to take photos of glass without too many reflections! ;)

All the best,


Have you ever taken a craft workshop or worked with a teacher? What did you think?