I've been taking welding and metal fabrication classes at the College of Marin (Indian Valley Campus) for a few semesters now. In the beginning it was very intimidating. There is a lot of noise, heat, popping and all around danger. Literally, on the very first day, there was a quiz and it was all about safety. Since then, the classes have been very rewarding. I've learned OFW (oxy acetylene), GTAW (tig), GMAW (mig), soldering, and brazing. I've welded and brazed stainless steel, mild steel and aluminum. As for fabrication, we haven't gotten too much hands-on work; some, but not a lot. We were exposed to enough information to know what is possible and the tools that make it possible.
For the last 8 weeks or so I've also been taking a glass fusing class at a little shop in downtown Novato called Stained Glass of Marin. This little shop has been around for 21 years! They cover all of the basics like compatibility, stringers, technique, cutting, layout, grinding, etc.
The goal for the butterfly will be a combination of both metal and glass.