As part of my marketing strategy to promote my editing, copywriting & blogging business, I spend some of my time networking. As a result, I have met some wonderful people working in all sorts of businesses. With my innate interest in “all things business” I invited Helen Banthorpe, a Stained Glass Artist from Gladys Glass, to tell me her business story. Here it is…
Helen Banthorpe is a stained glass artist who creates enchanting, made-to-measure stained glass window panels, art installations and mirrors for homes and businesses. What makes Helen’s business style so memorable is her obvious passion and enthusiasm for the beauty, clarity and versatility of glass – it’s positively infectious!
A passion for glass
Helen has always had an interest in arts and crafts. One Christmas she asked her family for a glass-painting kit and she was immediately hooked; she loved the feel of the glass, how the light shone through the finished painted glass and how easy it was to apply her own colourful designs to it. Glass-painting became a favourite hobby and, as she became more skilled at it, she began to hunt down second-hand glassware of all shapes and sizes to work with.
Finally, in 2007, with the support of her husband, Helen embarked on a glass design journey that led to the founding of her business, Gladys Glass. Her pipe dreams were turning into reality. With the glass painting business flourishing, Helen had always wanted to try the art of stained glass. With a gentle nudge from a friend who booked her onto a stained glass making taster day, Helen was able to introduce stained glass creations to her range of products.
Bringing colour and light into the home
Helen brings her instinctive and well trained eye for form, colour and texture to a fabulous range of stained glass panels, mirrors and gifts. Using both coloured and textured glass, she interprets her client’s design brief to create copper foiled, leaded or painted glass creations that are perfectly in tune with the surroundings of their intended location. Imagine a new stained glass panel on your front door with the light streaming through the glass, illuminating the hallway with gorgeous, vibrant colours. It would look simply stunning! For those on a budget, Helen can offer the illusion of leaded glasswork by moulding lead adhesive to form distinctive patterns and shapes, and blends colours and uses paints to striking effect.
As well as her spectacular larger bespoke pieces, Helen offers a range of smaller stained glass gifts, including lanterns and stars, and – my personal favourite – angel tealights. I bought a little green angel last Christmas but, when it came to putting the decorations away in January, I couldn’t quite bring myself to put her back in her box so she now has pride of place on my mantelpiece year-round.
If you fancy creating something beautiful from glass yourself, do try one of Helen’s stained glass or glass painting workshops for individuals and small groups. They are held in Helen’s own workshop in Reading. She teaches clients a variety of skills in a fun and relaxed way – and always with a sense of humour! Clients select from a range of colours and textures and, with Helen at their side, they produce their own gorgeous glass creation. It’s a wonderful and relaxing way to spend a few hours. Helen also runs glass painting parties for special occasions, such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries and hen parties, at your own venue.
Twice a month, Helen works at the Holme Grange Gallery in Wokingham, where a number of her delightful stained glass gifts and mirrors are exhibited for sale. This gives you an ideal opportunity to check out Helen’s designs and to chat with her informally about ideas for your home.
With Helen, when it comes to glass, it is definitely much more than half full.
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Photography: Shannon Lee Robinson. Taster workshop photographs taken & supplied by Helen Banthorpe.
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