Glasshouse a short tour
The Glasshouse College first opened
its doors September 2000 on the site of the old Royal Doulton crystal
factory in Amblecote, the glass making district of Stourbridge.
The town of Stourbridge was chosen because of its connection with
the craft of glassmaking and the canal system that supported the
industry. As you enter the car park from the Wollaston Road, the
Stourbridge Canal stretches along the eastern border of the site.
As one of the first projects
at Glasshouse College, students worked with a local boatyard to
build a narrow boat for use as a floating classroom for numeracy
and literacy. Students also learn navigation and maintenance skills
and study the wildlife, history and geology of the canals. The narrowboat
also offers opportunities for trips out during the holidays. The
wharf provides access to the site from the canal and opportunities
for boat maintenance.
On entering the complex, the Ruskin Glass Centre is on the right
and houses a range of glass-related businesses and other small companies
and craft workshops. They can be accessed through the entrance (see
map) and welcome visitors to their showrooms and workshops.
Beyond the Ruskin Glass
Centre, you enter the central courtyard of the College where the
reception and administration offices are located. It also accesses
the weavery, pottery, blacksmithing and jewellery workshops and
the bicycle maintenance workshop. More craft workshops are located
in the Ruskin Glass Centre including bronze casting, stone carving,
felting, photography and the art room. The car maintenance workshop
is located in the Garage.
The Glasshouse Coffee
Shop provides refreshments and vegetarian meals for all staff and
students located on site as well as being open to the general public.
Opening times are Monday to Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. Students engage
in all aspects of the Coffee Shop as well as selling dry goods in
the Organic Shop.
The Literacy Room provides
the main centre for Basic Skills where students engage in Numeracy
and Literacy as well as expressing their creativity through the
written word. Poetry, stories, crosswords, quizzes and accounts
of experiences contribute to the monthly Glasshouse College Newsletter
and the Run of the Mill Magazine published termly.
Basic skills are integrated into all areas of the College curriculum.
The main therapeutic
rooms are based above the Coffee Shop. The therapeutic programme
includes: Art Therapy, Eurythmy (balance and co-ordination), Kahuna
Massage, Spatial Dynamics, Storytelling and The Hero’s Journey.
Behind the coffee shop,
the Mask studio and Performing Arts are located. Students learn
to make their own masks as well as masks commercially for professional
theatre companies. In 2002, the Mask studio invited members of the
public to have masks made which resulted in the highly successful
‘Faces of Stourbridge’ exhibition. Also in 2002, the
Glasshouse Studio Theatre opened offering music, concerts, lectures,
theatre productions and workshop facilities to both visiting artists
and student productions. Drama offers students a medium for self-expression,
team work and overcoming inhibitions. The ‘Hero’s Journey’
uses a range of media to explore the journey from childhood, adolescence
Plans to redevelop the
Glasshouse site are now under way and a partnership fundraising
project (RECAST) was launched in January 2003 (see article in Run
of the Mill). It aims to upgrade the educational facilities at Glasshouse
College, create a Centre for Arts and Creativity and support the
regeneration of the glass industry at the Ruskin Glass Centre.
The Acorns is situated
on the outskirts of Stourbridge where students have converted a
five acre paddock into a market garden in which they study and work
with the rhythms and cycles of nature; planting, nurturing and harvesting
vegetables and soft fruit. Crops are grown using bio-dynamic methods
and harvested for use in the coffee shop, woodland kitchen and student
households. Two placid horses give students the opportunity to study
horse care and riding in ‘equestrian skills.
The Greenwich Woodland
is situated on an estate eight miles from Stourbridge. The relationship
with the land and craft is explored in ‘outdoor classrooms’
using the wisdom and skills of ancient and traditional technologies
through woodland crafts, including forestry, charcoal making, green
woodwork and iron age forge. Students prepare and serve lunches
in the ‘woodland kitchen’.