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The Incurable Hobbyist: A Lady of Glass and Substance

Posted by Christine / June 11, 2011

Window.jpg The Incurable Hobbyist is a highly subjective monthly series that examines various hobbies and the areas of the city that offer means to facilitate their practice. The goal is to inspire curious readers to develop hobbies they'll grow to love dearly, filling their hearts with the singular joy that comes with learning something special, something new.

2009, dragging into autumn, and it was with a body wrapped around a broken heart that I learned not to be afraid to move glass between my fingers, cup it with my palms.

You've likely seen it on your way up tired, well-trodden St. Laurent, the Verrerie D'art Classique. It was at its storefront that light touched glass a certain way, prompting me to stop my characteristically long, quick strides, and turn my face upwards. It had been a while since I allowed myself to notice anything beautiful, anyways. I took out my notepad (the one with the curled pages I only recently had to discard, full as it was) and wrote down what I saw tacked to the door there.

Located at exactly 4560 Boulevard St. Laurent, Verrerie D'art Classique opens its doors Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

It conducts stained glass introductory courses, lamp-making classes, jewelry lessons and more, all according to a varied schedule.

The stained glass introductory courses are highly recommended by your humble narrator. The next such weeknight sessions will take place July 5th to the 26th from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Weekend sessions will occur June 18th and 19th from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

2009, my body was experiencing the 9:30 a.m. of the world, and I sipped my corner cafe's French vanilla offering until there was nothing left but some anonymous black flecks. Dirt or coffee grounds, they could have been anything.

I was adequately caffeinated for both weekend classes, the cost of which is $169. This includes the price of the glass cutter, (I still have mine and it's the only one I've used since) as well your finished window (its glass, lead soldering, copper paper and frame).

The fee also covers the invaluable skills you'll learn from the very kind employees there. If you decide to pursue the hobby further, as I did, you'll come to see their friendly faces as you purchase your materials, now and again. They'll also answer any questions with honest, empirically-derived advice, sometimes with a few anecdotal flourishes. What good people to know.

But all of that came after. Listen, I was the very worst student, and that's the honest truth, no matter how you slice it. I am surprised that, despite not being a 'natural', I managed to develop an instant passion for window making. This seems downright masochistic considering the embarrassing amount of times I'd slice through my fingers and hands.

After which, I'd immediately raise said bloody part and mumble "Madame...", a little stupidly. The teacher would patiently tend to my wounds, only to do so again after about five minutes. Florence Nightingale had nothing on her.

Here's what I learned with time and bloodshed; when you fail at something enough times, it stops being embarrassing. Another thing I learned is that it is of the utmost importance that you cut glass with confidence. Any release in pressure or veering from one's path will result in a weaker break, which means that you'll end up with a crooked piece or the glass will shatter in your hands. If you're like me, you'll experience both in alternating turns.

Fast forward a few years and I've just completed my largest window yet, with my persons relatively unharmed. Scroll up and you'll see it. It's about 40 inches in length by 20 inches in width.

The reference I used is an approximation of the golden spiral, a logarithmic spiral related to the golden ratio. In brief, the golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, the expression of which was believed to be aesthetically pleasing during the Renaissance and beyond by certain artists who integrated it into their work. However, there is some contention over the mathematical soundness of the spiral supposedly revealing itself in nature or in human faces thought to be conventionally attractive.

I installed the piece in my apartment's East-facing window, so that the sun could rise into it. I had the romantic notion that I'd start every day off beautifully. When I describe this to people in person, I try to diminish it by attaching "silly" before "romantic notion," flustered and self-conscious. I chose autumn colors, which I often do. It's maybe to remember the time I fell in love with it all.

More information about Verrerie D'art Classique may be found at their facebook page.

They may be contacted electronically at or by phone at 514-844-5424.


Jack of All Trades, Master of Fun

So said the maestro:

"I have always striven to fix beauty into wood, stone, glass or pottery, in oil or watercolor by using whatever seemed fittest for the expression of beauty, that has been my creed."

-Louis Comfort Tiffany

Photograph by the talented Jeremy Cohen



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Vitraux Prestige / July 10, 2017 at 10:44 am
Very good, you can find good stained glass creation there too.
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