I have been making glass beads at the torch since 1997. I can hardly believe it – so many years! Glass is such a wonderful medium that I have never tired of playing with it.
I learnt to make glass beads at Plowden & Thompson in Stourbridge, with Kate Drew-Wilkinson, an English artist who lives in Arizona. Kate Fowle Mileney from the US East coast taught me to use enamels and to make simple canes at their workshop too. I lived with my family in the USA for several years and during our time in the San Francisco Bay Area I was fortunate to take classes with Heather Trimlett and Pati Walton as well as spending time watching many other established and talented glass bead makers. I lived on cloud 9 for the whole time we were there!
In 1999, just before leaving for the States I was one of a small group of beadmakers who together founded the society to further glass beadmaking in this country, which we called GBUK (Glass Beadmakers UK). Since my return to England I have served on the committee in several capacities, finally standing down at the end of 2010.
Part of the success of the spread of glass beadmaking is the unwritten expectation that once we become competent we will share our skills with others. Since my return to the UK I have been only too pleased to teach. What could be more enjoyable than sharing a passion for hot glass with those who wish to learn! I have taught at a number of venues, including Plowden & Thompson, and at the Stourbridge Glass Festival in 2004 & 2006. I currently teach short courses at West Dean College near Chichester and at my studio in Swindon.