Into the New Year
Having survived the pre-Christmas round of craft fairs and farmers market, we come into January and February, which we treat as a quiet time for experimenting and developing new styles and techniques. We are moving our home studio (only to another room), and this will allow us to use our cold working power tools more easily. They all cut or grind in water and tend to make a mess, so we will now have a dedicated area with its own sink. All very mundane, but even the most sparkly glass jewellery requires a bit of hard work and mess in the making! Pam is already experimenting in the new studio on some “heart” jewellery ready for Valentine’s Day, while I am still fixing shelves and cupboards. Over the holiday we visited our daughter in Manchester and we visited Chorlton, where we we.re very impressed with the Tapas bar and with Creative Recycling, a craft studio which, as you might guess, sprang from a desire to recycle all sorts of things, including glass. They do a small amount of jewellery but some very nice fused glass wall art at reasonable prices.
We are now trying to plan our 2013 itinerary, there are lots of craft fairs and canal events we would like to get to, but the rate of travel on a narrowboat and their location means some hard decisions have to be made. On the non-canal front we would like to do Chippenham and Tenterden Folk Festival, which we did last year and Greenbelt festival, which we love, but haven’t taken the glass to yet. More to come on this!
From Windmill End to Mile End
We always intended to move onto our narrowboat, but didn’t want to wait until we retired like many others, so the glass jewellery making offered a chance to make a small living and a challenge at the same time. The timescale was flexible and there were always important things to do first.
British Waterways delivered a sharp kick up the backside! As our boat was licensed for trading, we received an enquiry in early 2012 – would we be interested in joining a 6 week floating market near an Olympic live site in London? We knew we had to go; this was everything we planned for rolled into one big package. The plans were at a very early stage and our contact at BW, Sarah, had to sort out all the complications, planning applications, health & safety, water shortages, facilities boats, new water points and heaven knows what else while answering emails from us asking what’s happening. Finally, the details became clear; 4 weeks at Mile End Park (20.7.12 to 16.7.12) and 2 weeks at Little Venice (20.8.12 to 2.9.12).
Now we had to get ourselves, the boat and the glass ready. We are both self-employed so we had to arrange our day jobs so that we can leave for 10 weeks. The boat had to be adapted for full time glass making, a new kiln bought and installed, the power supply secured and a workshop created in a boat that’s called narrow for good reason. The boat had to be made suitable for continuous living aboard not just holidays, and moved from Birmingham to London. Of course, we would have to build up stock of glass jewellery to cover any possible demand. Last of all, our cat, Charlie, would have to learn how to be a boat cat!
Launch of the new Website
The new website went live this week with our diary dates, contact form and images. Most websites have a blog and as we have a very interesting summer planned we will try and keep this blog updated with our adventures.
In the Autumn we hope to add a shopping area to the website as well as announce some new ideas/products.
2012 is very exciting for the country thanks to the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics. It is sometimes forgotten that the Olympics has both a sporting and cultural/arts aspect. It is also an extremely exciting year for The Glass Barge.