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Paragon Glass creates stained glass and teaches the techniques

by Michelle René Sexton

Paragon GlassStained glass is an elegant art. Gothic Age stained glass was translucent pictures, complex mosaics with bits of colored glass joined with lead into intricate patterns. Medieval craftsmen illustrated an idea with natural or realistic images. The 15th Century became more pictures, less atmosphere, and today stained glass is seen more often in homes as well as traditional church windows. Patterns can be as striking as the black panther on a yellow background I saw in the Paragon Stained Glass shop or as intricate as Biblical murals.

Stained glass is glass colored by mixing pigments permanently into glass by fusing colored metallic oxides onto the glass. Fused glass is made by taking two to three layers of glass and melting them together. Both are an imaginative fun filled processes. Anyone can learn the six stages of constructing their own stained glass masterpieces. The Paragon Craft Shop at 216 Water Street in Summerside is the perfect place to get started.

Paragon is a relaxed and fun teaching facility where you can learn techniques for stained glass making. “To your surprise it’s not difficult,” exclaimed Erma Smith, owner and instructor. “It’s basic; a pattern, trace sections, cut them out, and put them together,” smiled Erma, pointing to the myriad of samples hanging from the ceiling, on windows, and on walls. Erma and her husband started their hobby over five years ago and since then the hobby has become a business and an obsession. Their daughter Angela has also been bitten by the stained glass bug, and has become Erma’s partner. “It started as a hobby with my dad but has ended as an obsession,” smiled Angela.

Along with Angela and one other instructor they specialize in a beginner course, which teaches glass scoring techniques; straight cuts, and inside/outside round cuts. It’s designed to give comprehensive understanding of art foil stained glass. The course includes all equipment except the glass itself. Intermediate is next. This course introduces edging, framing and reinforcing alternatives. The advanced class is three-dimensional projects, such as a decorative lampshade, a candy or plant holder, or a candle holder.

The Paragon offers a refresher class for those who have done this before but have forgotten a few steps. The Basic glass cutting is a pre-requisite for patio stone making. The final class is Patio Stone Making. Five to six hour sessions and you will create a personal piece designed for your garden or walkway. Patterns are provided and all techniques will be introduced, including pouring the stone, un-molding it, and making the final touches to your creation.

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