2023 Guild School

June 10-17, 2023 - Maine Maritime Academy, Castine, Maine

36 Hour Classes

INSTRUCTOR: Diane Almeyda, Artisan
COURSE: Metal/Enamel
PROJECT: Wirework Fan-Shaped Stained Glass Fireplace Screen (with Pendant)

Stained glass can be decorative as well as useful, in addition to being beautiful. A fireplace screen done in vibrant or subtle colors will make any room a knockout!

Learn the secrets of creating miniature stained glass utilizing an enameling technique called plique-a-jour. This art form was popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s and used extensively in the exquisite jewelry of Rene Lalique, Faberge, and Tiffany. Since that time it is rarely seen and practiced by few. Often referred to as the “tour de force” of enameling, it is a perfect way to replicate and/or create impressive and beautiful pieces of miniature stained glass.

The process begins by using fine silver wires of varying thicknesses to form the frame work and, using a jeweler’s torch, then solder it together. Ground glass is then applied to the openings and melted in a kiln at 1400F. This technique lends itself to designs resembling smaller versions of the wonderful cathedral windows of earlier times. But that’s just the beginning! Students can use their imagination and incorporate their stained glass piece of art in a fire screen, window, or perhaps, in a piece of furniture. Many different settings can show off the artwork! Including as a pendant, which students will also make in the class.

In addition to learning silver soldering (high temperature with a torch), students will also learn how to prepare and apply enamels, as well as learn finishing techniques to complete the resulting enamel work of art.

TIME: 36 hours. Completion is likely.

POWER TOOLS: flex shaft

SKILL LEVEL: All levels. Steady hands, fine eye/hand motor skills, and good eyesight (with magnification is fine) will ensure success. There is no sawing required in this class.

MATERIALS FEE: $120 to be collected in advance of school

INSTRUCTOR: Nell Corkin, Fellow
COURSE: Small Scale Structure/Mixed Media
PROJECT: 1:144 Scale Dutch Baby House

This class is FULL.

This baby house in an architectural style cabinet was inspired by the famous Dutch canal houses of Amsterdam. It is filled with furniture and details typical of the 18th Century, including a cozy Dutch box bed and tiled fireplaces.

Students will first complete the cabinet. This will include building the elaborate dormer window and finishing the cabinet exterior using textured brick pattered paper, scale roof tiles, moldings and strip materials. The interior will be completed by adding back walls, building the fireplaces, and adding doors and an open closet. One of the challenges of working in 1:144 scale is making detailed furniture and accessory items. This class will offer students a chance to try a variety of materials and techniques for achieving an attractive “in scale” result. Most furnishings including the bed, tables and chairs and cabinets will be scratch built using strip materials and scale parts, then painted. Accessories will be made from a variety of materials, including etched brass, modified metal castings, styrene and paper.

Students who complete the class will have learned techniques developed by the instructor to achieve an attractive, realistic look in 1:144 scale. The same techniques can be used for other small scales, as well.

TIME: 36 hours. Completion is likely.


SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate. No special skills are necessary for this project, but some experience with accurate measuring and cutting is required.

MATERIALS FEE: $85 to be collected at school

INSTRUCTOR: Beth Freeman-Kane, Fellow
COURSE: Mixed Media
PROJECT: Peacock

This class is FULL.

Create this anatomically correct peacock using a variety of materials. The instructor will provide a casting of the bird body as well as the pillar and planter he will be perched on. Students will be using real feathers for the tail, embroidery thread on the crest and a lot of fine painting on the body and spots. The instructor will also be teaching a new technique of wired feet, scaled appropriately for this considerably larger bird than she usually teaches. Although complex and challenging, this class will also be quite therapeutic!

TIME: 36 hours. Completion is likely.


SKILL LEVEL: All levels

MATERIALS FEE: $60 to be collected at school

INSTRUCTOR: Craig Labenz, Artisan
COURSE: Furniture Construction
PROJECT: Philadelphia Double Chest

This class is FULL.

In this class students will be building a replica of a double chest made by Thomas Gross Jr. (1775–1839) in about 1805–1810. Thomas Gross was a freed Black cabinetmaker working in early 19th Century Philadelphia. Furniture from this era wasn’t normally signed by the artist—making this piece particularly unusual because Thomas Gross signed it with pencil, “Thomas Gross, Maker.”

From Yale University Press: “The number of enslaved and free people of African descent who made, carved, painted, ornamented, or otherwise contributed to furniture making in colonial North America is impossible to determine because their work was almost always anonymous—and often conscripted. Under the flowing script of his signature, Gross defined his role—“Maker”—leaving this chest not only as a tribute to his own artistry, but also as a testament to the many Black artisans in early America, both free and enslaved.”

This chest is a classic Chippendale style with clean lines and lovely proportions. The ornamentation in the piece comes from the wood grain itself. The original was made from a beautiful imported figured mahogany—which would have made it quite expensive at the time. The class will use pear as the primary wood to achieve a similar look.

This class is intended for intermediate students and will be challenging because of the subtle details in the case construction and the large quantity of drawers with “cock-beading” framing the edges. Some of the techniques students will learn: case construction; drawer construction and fitting; mortise and tenon joinery; techniques for making molding; making scroll-cut feet using a jeweler’s saw; applying patina on brass hardware and techniques for applying the hardware on the drawers; and hand-mixing wood finish and finishing techniques to achieve patina and aging.

TIME: 36 hours. Students should expect to finish the case and drawer construction in class. The instructor will demonstrate finishing techniques in class, but because of drying times, students will likely need to do final finishing and some hardware application at home.

POWER TOOLS: table saw, drill press, shaper mill

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate

MATERIALS FEE: $110 to be collected at school

INSTRUCTOR: Chris Malcomson, Artisan
COURSE: Furniture Construction/Marquetry
PROJECT: Early Victorian Breakfast Tilt Top Table

This class is FULL.

Students will construct this fabulous table using a number of techniques such as turning the stem and shaping the delicate cabriole legs. The marquetry is an opportunity for students to show their creativity. Individual designs based on the techniques taught are actively encouraged with step-by-step tuition through the various elements of the design. The aim of the class is to not only give students an insight of how to construct a complex marquetry design, but also to use them on their own projects using relatively simple tools.

TIME: 36 hours. Completion is likely.

POWER TOOLS: scroll saw, lathe, flex shaft, drill press

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate

MATERIALS FEE: $50 to be collected at school

INSTRUCTOR: Mark Murphy, Fellow
COURSE: Furniture Construction
PROJECT: Connecticut Queen Anne Side Chair

This class is FULL.

This course is designed to teach the instructor’s techniques for creating this 18th Century Queen Anne (owl back) side chair. This will involve mortise and tenon joinery, shaping cabriole legs, turning the stretchers, scroll work on the splat and some light carving on the chair back. When the chair construction is complete, students will learn how to upholster the seat with leather, fabric or their own needlework design.

TIME: 36 hours. Completion is likely.

POWER TOOLS: table saw, scroll saw, lathe, drill press, shaper

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate

MATERIALS FEE: $70 to be collected at school

INSTRUCTOR: Troy Schmidt, Fellow
COURSE: Wheel Thrown Pottery
PROJECT: Learning to Throw Ceramic Miniatures

This class is FULL.

This is a general pottery class to teach the fundamentals of throwing ceramic miniatures on a potter’s wheel using both porcelain and red stoneware clay bodies to create pottery in a broad range of styles. Students will also learn the basics of glazing their pieces using dozens of provided glazes. Pieces will then be fired in an electric kiln. For those students who are interested in learning to fire their own work in the future, they may be as involved as they wish in the firing process with further in-depth discussions regarding a range of firing techniques and practices.

In the class students will: be Introduced and practice different techniques to center, open and shape clay vessels using the Guild School’s micro-pottery wheels; experience different clay bodies including the white porcelain body that the instructor uses for his work and some custom red clay bodies that he has prepared himself; explore basic forms—planters, bowls, vases, pitchers, etc.; pursue different styles of handles, spouts and lids; learn fundamentals of ceramic glaze application; fire the work in the Guild School’s kiln to melt and adhere the glazes as well as make the clay durable and permanent; and examine different methods to rescue fired pots that didn’t come out as expected—fixing glaze runs, limitations of re-firing.

TIME: 36 hours. Completion is likely.

POWER TOOLS: micro pottery wheel

SKILL LEVEL: This class is open to all skill levels and students will progress at their own pace. First-time students will focus on the fundamentals of throwing miniature pottery while those students with experience will advance further to create more intricate and sophisticated forms (thinner walls, greater refinement, more controlled glazing).

MATERIALS FEE: $40 to be collected at school