Glass Trifles

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Where it all began

It had all started in 2001 when Carol Dickens accompanied by Natasha Fountain, went to Stourbridge glass festival specifically to the bead fair the had at the bonded warehouse.  Both were into making lace, and the beads are used to spangle the bobbins used to make the lace.  

At the bead fair held in the Bonded warehouse, Martin Tuffnell was demonstrating how to make glass beads.  Well they were hooked, bought a starter kit then and then, Mapp gas on the way home, and have never looked back.

Bonded warehouse Stourbridge

Started in the conservatory, but soon moved to a studio behind the garage.  Doing well with the HotHead, Carol quickly progressed to a Minor burner.

After making beads, in the kitchen, greenhouse and the garden She finally had her own studio in a shed at the bottom of the garden.   A house move in 2006 set her back a few years and it was 2008 before she was able to pick up the torch again.

Hot Head and Map gas and a Minor burner 

In 2008 Carol and Natasha booked on a Carina Tettinger course at Studio 19, The dairy.  However Carina was unable to attend last minute and Diana East stepped in to take the class.

The class was very informative, and the Highlight was Diana demonstrating the Aladdin bead.  Each stage from building up the base with dichroic, through to adding the enamel, gold fuming and sand blasting.

Natasha only went for one day of the course, but Carol went back for a second day to see the completion of the iconic bead.  

Aladdin Bead by Dianna East 

Natasha went on a course with Red Hot Sal who at that time lived in Hinkley.  The course was one to one and was designed to build on the skills Natasha had already developed on the Hot Head.

The course focused on silver core bead shape and exploring the diversity of double helix glass on the Hot head.

Sal was fantastic inspiration, its a shame she has moved so far away, but she is wished luck in her venture.

Beads made on the course with RedHot Sal

2007 Natasha saw a course at the Pittsburgh 

glass studio with Corina Tettinger.The opportunity was seized and Carol and Natasha hopped on a plane for an adventure in Pittsburgh.  

The course was 5 days in duration, starting and 9 am and finishing at 5 pm with an hour for lunch.  pm. The evenings 5 pm - 10 pm were available to practice what was learnt in the day, but Corina could not help herself and continued teaching  from 6 pm to 10 pm.  It was tough

Corina at the torch

going, but extremely informative, and was a thoroughly exhausting but enjoyable experience for all who attended.  There were lampworkers from over the united states.  The course started with basics of bead shape and stringer control and worked up to making a lizard sitting on a barrel bead.

In 2011, work began on a studio in Ringstead. Earlier pictures should have been taken to show the forgotten building behind and oil tank and cars waiting for repair and the 2 stables, last used 30 years ago for the family pony. The original building, had solid brick walls where the windows now are and the interior was divided into two stables, both with large wooden mangers along the back wall, and the right hand side still has the brick floor.   With the windows in place, the studio took shape and after, making it draft proof, and  water tight, work could

Mark making the supporting wall for the windows.

begin on the inside. Unfortunately, the manger in the right hand side, was rather rotten, too much wood worm to save, so it was decided reluctantly that the best thing to do was to remove it.  The plus side to this was that it freed up a lot more space as the manger, and uses for it did not have to be factored into the design of the layout.  The interior of the studio had to be emptied, and cleaned, and the roof lined, and insulated.  The building has a lovely high roof allowing for better ventilation and space for an extraction system to be added at a later date, but high roofs can be cold, so the the roof was lowered slightly and layers of insulation added to the cavity.  The walls were painted using the existing black and white colour scheme, but