As you may or may not know I have been designing and making bespoke stained glass and fused glass for over a quarter of a century! I love it now as much as ever if not more and throughly enjoy both the commissioning process and taking my courses. This is giving me a wonderful ‘family’ of students and customers all of whom are also in love with glass and realise that it has the potential to change your life! I mean it! The quality of light passing through coloured glass can be beautiful and uplifting. Unlike the sometimes sombre thought provoking stained glass made for places of worship and contemplation. I make windows for people, for individuals with individual likes, dislikes and tastes. This is what makes my job so satisfying and (if I dare say it) fun. Some of my students fall so in love with the process and finished results that they have found a new hobby and its my greatest pleasure to help them develop and grow. One of my students is having her first exhibition this week!
I work mainly on my own and have done so for 12 years since leaving the workshop in London where I trained. Working on my own can have its downside. I rarely get out as I am very busy! Networking is not my thing, work is. But then in April 2009 I joined a social media site called Twitter. Since then I have ‘met’ loads of lovely like minded souls. Crafters, artists, architects, social enterprises, interior designers, garden designers, stained glass artists, foodies, bloggers, stone masons, willow workers… hey you name it I am meeting them and love to hear about the work they do and their thought on the world. I’ve even met a few in person, you know who you are you lovely people!
Twitter has opened the world up to me, a stained glass artist working in my ‘shed’ on my own and I love it.
On March 18th 2012 my Tweeting paid dividends as I entered a Twitter competition held on Sunday nights by Theo Paphitis, one of the BBC Dragons and entrepreneur. The competition was to Tweet your small business to @TheoPaphitis and give it the hashtag #sbs, which stands for Small Business Sunday.
A couple of thousand small businesses Tweet Mr Paphitis every sunday night and he personally choses 6 to Re-Tweet to all his 233000 followers which potentially opens up ones business up to a wider audience.
Well this was my winning Tweet! 😉
I had a year off last year! Not the whole year you understand, just from ‘doing’ Christmas Fairs. I use them as a way of advertising my work and I need to have stuff to sell so it’s a great opportunity for me to break out of the architectural stained glass mould and burst into making kiln load after kiln load of little pocket sized glassy gifts. Yesterday was day one of Petworth House Christmas Fair, Sussex. I’m off in an hour for day 2. I’m glad I made loads of £3 stars ‘cos it means that most of you can afford a little bit of glassy sparkle in your houses this Christmas. It’s a tough economy out there, no mistake, but through everyones generosity and gift buying fun I took the same yesterday as I did 2 years ago.
It was FANTASTIC to see so many of my students visit me yesterday and Im really looking forward to today. And of course my glass wreaths sold very well!
Oh yes this is not just any cake! This is a 50’th Birthday cake carefully crafted by my lovely sister, Helen, and it’s being carefully consumed by me!
See you at Petworth today!
What a sad week, we are now down to 1 little piggy. Wilbur was the first to go followed by his hutch mate Kevin who we think died of a broken heart. Gone to join Skye the first Collie Dog and Indie the first cat in the garden! Bingo, bulging eyes and all is still going. Ahh the joys of Guinea pig ownership……
On a happier note, Christmas is coming, remember this weather?
Lets cosy up,light the fires and celebrate all things winter. Chocolate, roasted root veggies, scarves, mittens, mulled wine and spices. My children remarked that my workshop smelled of Christmas today ‘cos the kiln was on full blast and stuff is happening a plenty! I’m allowing myself to get just a bit excited, despite the sad demise of Guinea pigs.
It’s not easy running your own business as anyone who does so will tell you. Add in 2 children, a dog, 2 cats and 3 guinea pigs and a husband who often works nights and it all gets a bit hectic around here. Meals are a bonus!
However I like to think have achieved a lot in the last couple of weeks. Christmas stock making is in full swing so the kiln is on every night (yes I said the C word) and I have been working hard on getting commissions made and installed and have 16 on the job board to finish this year. I’ll be working nights then.
But that’s not the end of it…..
I love teaching and my courses are not only great fun but are providing me with an ever growing family of fellow glass enthusiasts with whom I can share my passion and skills. I am delighted that so many come back again and again to create beautiful things in glass and so pleased that their skills so obviously improve with each visit. Below is just a small selction of some of my students work, some have been before, some complete beginners and all are great at creating lovely original work in glass!
Roll on the rest of 2011 courses and 2012 is just around the corner!