Neon & Light

Radiant light technology greatly expands the possibilities for light design, whether incandescent, fluorescent, neon, LED, plasma, or electro-luminescent (EL) wire. Our classes introduce and explain techniques, tools, properties, and adaptability of these materials. Illuminated projects can either stand-alone or be combined with many of the other processes taught at The Crucible.

Meet The Neon & Light Department Head: Christian Schiess

Christian has been involved at The Crucible for over 20 years. He is the author of “The Light Artist Anthology,” a book that explores light as art and features interviews with artists from all over the world. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. When not at The Crucible, you can find Christian as an artist-in-residence at The Exploratorium.

Adult Classes

The Crucible offers a wide variety of adult classes teaching different neon and light techniques. Whether you want to learn the science behind neon gases, or the fundamentals of electrical transformers, The Crucible has you covered. See the complete list of neon and light classes offered below.

Neon I

Light up your life with neon! In this class, you will learn the skills needed to complete a project in neon and an illuminated project. In addition to hands-on instruction in tools and techniques, this class includes discussion of design and aesthetic considerations. Transformers are provided.

Neon II

Building on skills developed in Neon I, this class emphasizes the decisions you make in creating unique artwork using neon illumination. Classwork includes discussion of the expanded use of color, choice of glass size, bombarding and manifold operation, self-directed sculptural conception, and construction. You will have the opportunity to complete two or three illuminated projects.


Robert Graf

Neon Lab

Lab sessions are a great benefit, exclusively for Crucible members! Practice the skills you learn in class and explore new possibilities with your craft. No instruction is provided during lab sessions, but a lab monitor will be present to answer questions, manage safety, and provide overall support. You are free to come and go at your convenience during open lab hours, however, you must provide your own materials.

PREREQUISITE: Neon I and Crucible membership

Youth Classes

In the Neon & Light Department, we offer youth classes specifically for ages 12-18. In these classes, The Crucible provides a unique setting for youth to get hands-on, exploring their creative voices and absorbing real-life lessons in science, technology, engineering, and math. You can see all The Crucible’s offerings for youth here.

Youth Neon (ages 12-18)

Learn the science behind neon gases and high voltage electrical transformers as you are taught how to shape and manipulate glass tubes into letters, shapes, or figures. Bending glass in this challenging course will build hand-eye coordination and concentration skills. The goal by the end of the week is for each student to make one small, working, neon-filled luminous tube that is wired with a transformer. The piece can be taken home or incorporated into other artwork.

Being Prepared For Your Neon & Light Class

Neon & Light classes are held on the second floor of our building. Please contact us if you have any questions about accessibility and we will be happy to accommodate.

Students must arrive for class in all-natural fiber clothing, long pants, and closed-toe, closed-heel shoes with socks that protect up to the ankle. Long hair must be tied back. Nylon, polyester, spandex, or other synthetics are not allowed around machines, equipment, or processes that can produce hot fragments, sparks, or flames.

The Crucible requests students always arrive in studio safe clothing when working. Layers are encouraged as the studio can be very cold or very hot.

Ready to get hands-on in Neon & Light?

The Crucible has Neon & Light classes starting each month