Parquetry, Stained Glass and Calligraphy

So much has been learnt in such a short space of time since being at PSTA. A huge thank you to all the staff and visiting tutors that have given such amazing insights into the traditional crafts and skills so far!

In the last few weeks we have been producing stained glass, parquetry and lettering.

Here is a brief update on those.

Tom Bree introduced us to the technique of parquetry using thin wood veneers.

Having chosen a geometric design we produced a couple of cartoons. One to stick the veneer pieces onto and one to use as a template for cutting (and some spares in case of any mistakes!)

I chose a design I have developed previously, an eight pointed star and cross pattern, but influenced by the design found on the ceiling of Hampton court Palace in the Guard Room.

Using a chisel each piece of wood veneer is cut out around the pieces of the cartoon and then assembled and stuck onto the main cartoon.


It is finished by a layer of wood glue and pressed overnight to keep it flat. The picture shows the piece with the paper backing being removed by dampening slightly with water.

An incredibly productive week was that with Helen Whitaker, an amazing stained glass artist who taught us the processes of painting on glass and leading and glass cutting.

Glass designs are painted over the top of the cartoon using an iron oxide glazing pigment. The outline is then fired and the next stage is to apply shading.


The image shows shading done by the ‘stippling’ method. Once dry,  the shading can be wiped or scraped away to leave desired areas clear.

_DSC0588_DSC0590Stain is added on the reverse, fired and rubbed away to reveal the yellow colour.

Lettering and Calligraphy were taught by Tom Perkins and Gaynor Goffe.


We used geometry to strictly construct the Roman capitals with Tom Perkins, learning to proportion correctly and how to lay out a text. We also got to try out carving the lettering into slate.


With Gaynor Goffe we had a few days of working with differing nibs to use for calligraphy. The image shows the experimentation produced with a fairly wide nib.


We then went on to learn how to write in italics, lowercase, capitals and with flourishes. The lettering week was particularly demanding due the immense discipline and concentration needed to write a single letter.

I particularly enjoyed the process of stained glass and hope to produce further pieces in the future!

I was very pleased to have been visited by two representatives of NADFAS (The National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies) who have very generously supported my tuition at PSTA, making my study there a possibility. I am exceptionally grateful for their support and looking forward to taking part in the AGM this May.


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