Unbridled joy of a Boy and a Beach

I am a 40 year old father of two rambunctious boys living in the middle of the West Midlands, with my heart on the North Cornwall coast.

I’ve always loved glass and found the whole process of its manufacture completely fascinating, taking grains of sand and creating a solid; colouring and shaping it into functional vessels and beautiful pieces of art. I remember a particular piece of my dads, a squat lentil-shaped vase with milky white veins through it that I would pick up and turn in my hands, looking at the shapes and patterns and feeling the heft and weight of it. I used to have an enormous collection of marbles of many different sizes, colours and finishes and yes, like every small boy my age I, did try to take the twist of colour out of one.

When I moved up to my home near Stourbridge, my wife and in-laws were happy to tell me the history of the area, and some of its importance in the history of glass making through the years and around the world.

My torch and tools

Entranced Glass began in March 2022 when my wife found out that you did not need tens of thousands and a huge workshop with massive furnaces and years of training in order to work with glass. Instead, a relatively inexpensive gas torch can be used to melt glass of many different colours and types and form it into shapes and patterns. I started out by forming beads on a gas-only torch but soon upgraded to a gas/oxygen flame which burns hotter, cleaner and much quieter and allows the artist to bring the special qualities of some types of glass out. It also allows me to use Borosilicate glass, the type used to make glass cookware for your oven – Pyrex is probably the best known brand.

Sculpted dragonfly in Borosilicate

Using Borosilicate (or Boro for short) essentially enables my work in miniatures and sculpture. It is far more tolerant of heating and cooling than so-called “soft glass” so I can spend longer forming the shapes. It is also a good deal stiffer which reduces the probability of the work collapsing as the glass moves around. The colour palette is not quite as broad or subtle as soft glass but there is still more than enough for my needs. Before I was able to use Boro, I was becoming frustrated with working miniature and had almost given up hope of being able to.

My glass collection!

I keep my “soft glass” collection for my continued work with beads and sea-glass items. Sea-glass is that lovely rounded and frosted glass you find on the beach sometimes. I collect it from the beach at Trevone Bay while I am on holiday, wash and dry it then encase it in soft glass. The tiny pits caused by the abrasive action of the sea and sand trap air, so the encased glass appears surrounded by bubbles. Sea-glass is not a ‘natural’ item, and so may be removed from UK beaches – it’s litter-picking. There are some notable exceptions around the world where the glass forms part of the beaches heritage and is protected (Glass Beach, Fort Bragg in California for example).

My studio is currently in my attic. Its hot up there even in the cool spring sunshine so I am planning on moving it after our Big Room Reshuffle into what was our home office. Watch the news section for updates!

Thank you for reading, I’m happy to welcome you here. If you want to know more about my work, the processes or are interested in trying out lampworking please feel free to contact me using the form above. I am also able and willing to accept commissions – if you find full-sized glassware you would love in your dolls-house or you have a perfect pendant in mind, let me know and I shall see what we can do!

Ready for the Flame