Let fire inspire

Captivated by the magic of working with glass, Rebecca Weddell creates beautiful and unique lampwork beads and offers a range of beadmaking courses.

Filtering by Tag: Workshop

About the numbers

Numbers - they’re difficult things! They need working out, looking after, keeping an eye on, predicting in advance - and, dare I say it, sometimes they need justifying.

I remember a conversation with a visitor to my workshop some years ago about the price of one of my sterling silver chainmail bracelets. It was £120.

‘How long did it take you to make that?’
’About eight hours.’
’Oh, so based on that price, you’re paying yourself £15 an hour.’

We had a nice chat, and he bought something for his wife. I was glad he’d come in.

Then I had a think about the hourly rate thing. He hadn’t realised it, but there are of course lots of other things that come into my pricing. Not what I supposedly ‘pay myself’. For instance, there was over an ounce of silver in that bracelet. Plus of course I’d had it hallmarked. It was presented beautifully in a gift box.

Not only that, it costs me money to go to work. The gentleman in question was employed at a large company. He wasn’t expected to pay the rent on his office building himself, and pay for heating, lighting, power, broadband, telephone, water supply. Or the tools and equipment he needed to get his job done.

My previous workshop was a shed in my garden. My bills for it were rolled into my existing household utilities. It was of course my choice to wave goodbye to it, when I moved house and got married. My household of one became a household of two. We use our garden space for growing vegetables, and the only shed we have stores sacks of bird food, dried-out bag-ends of compost, paint tins and a whole load of nails and screws that Mr LFI might need for DIY projects at any moment.

My rented workshop is great. I can accommodate four students at a time on my range of courses. I have storage space for my stash of glass, tools, frit, enamels, tubs of bead release. The workshop is bigger than the shed I left behind, and it’s an amazing place to come to work. The only thing is, my use of this building is not free. Nor is the heating, the lighting, the power, the broadband, the telephone, the water supply. My work needs to pay for these things. I pay to go to work. In a good month I might see some of it back.

My beads are precious. They’re special, and unique. Just one artisan lampwork glass bead, surrounded by gorgeous neighbouring beads from anywhere and everywhere, is a stunning ‘wow, where did you get that?’ feature in a piece of handmade jewellery. Just one. A £2 or £3 spend. Some people buy multiples of beads, or larger sets. That’s great - but I’m happy to sell individual beads too. In fact my imminent shop update is much more geared towards the individual bead.

They’re not factory-farmed. They’re not batch-made, like cookies or cake mix. They’re made one at a time at the torch flame - an engrossing, captivating process which I absolutely love.

There is room out there for every kind of bead. There are big beads, small beads, narrow beads, wide beads, beads of wood, stone, plastic, crystal, seeds, wool, clay, resin, paper. There are beads from every country in the world, there are rare ones, common ones, machine-made in bulk ones, handmade ones, beads made by a single process and by many. There is space in the world for all of them.

I used to be taken to the toy shop as a child. There were shelves of toys I would admire from afar without wanting to spend my pocket money on them - the big big Lego sets, the big dolls, the shiny new bicycles, the basketball hoops, the toy hospital - and I loved to look at these. But I knew too just which shelves contained things for me, though - and I’d go home with a bouncy ball, or a novelty pencil sharpener, or something little that went BANG (yes, I had to hold my own with my big brother). Sometimes I would spend my money on something bigger, more expensive, rarer, prettier. And it was always a considered spend. Then it was loved, admired and played with for ages. Appreciated.

I love all of my customers - even - especially - the browsers who don’t buy. Please have a look round my website. Come and see me here at the workshop, or come to one of my events. You don’t even need to buy - that’s absolutely fine too! Thank you for looking, and for appreciating.

I’m Rebecca, at Let Fire Inspire, and I love what I do. Thank you for reading about the numbers.

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Some answers to questions

I get quite a lot of questions about courses here at Let Fire Inspire. People say to me:

I’d love to do a course, but it seems expensive, and anyway I’ve got so many creative hobbies already that I don’t want to have to accommodate another hobby! What if I get hooked? I won’t be able to do it at home!

Absolutely! Let’s unpick this.

‘I’d love to do a course…’
Great! Let’s talk! I offer taster courses, half-day courses and all-day courses in lampwork glass beadmaking. What’s more, on my five-week ‘Journey into Beadmaking’ course we also make four jewellery projects incorporating your beads along the way.

‘…but it seems expensive…’
It’s not - really it’s not. Everything you need is included in the price - plus there’s free-flowing tea and coffee! If you come on one of my day courses I’ll even make you a delicious lunch here in the workshop. There is no extra fee for any materials, because all the glass is included. It’s actually really good value!

‘…I’ve got so many creative hobbies already…’
Yay! I love to hear this! Firstly, it tells me that you and I are really going to get on, and secondly I bet this means that you’ve got all sorts of transferable skills which will be invaluable on your lampwork glass beadmaking course!
If you enjoy drawing you might be a dab hand at applying dots of glass to your beads.
If you enjoy painting you’re likely to have an eye for colour. What will you enjoy putting together?
If you’re a knitter or crocheter you’ll find familiarity in repetitive movements.
If you're creative, with lots of hobbies, you’ll know exactly what it’s like to stumble upon something AMAZING! And lampwork glass beadmaking could be your latest amazing venture.

Don’t forget though that absolutely NO experience is needed for you to come on one of my courses! You might view yourself as positively uncreative - and that’s absolutely fine too!

REGARDLESS, WE WILL HAVE A BALL!

You’re coming to do a course - to explore, to do something new, to make something beautiful. And, most importantly, you’re doing it for YOU!

‘…I don’t want to have to accommodate another hobby. What if I get hooked? I won’t be able to do it at home!’
Well, I hope you DO get hooked - I fell in love with lampwork glass beadmaking at first sight - and that was just from watching a demonstration! I went away and did a course, then did another course… and yes, I did then find I loved it enough to want to work independently at the torch flame, so I set up my first little workshop in a little timber garden shed.

BUT before you build a shed or clear out your garage to set up a workbench, or take out a bank loan because you want to buy ALL the kit….. remember that I offer ‘torchtime’ sessions! I have regular students who come and use my workshop, glass, equipment, tools and coffee stash as their own - under supervision, but with no formal tuition included - to work on their own independent projects. You can start a production line of your own lampwork glass beads right here in the Let Fire Inspire workshop! You can come for between two hours and an entire day (although to be honest I’d like to get home before The Archers, which starts at 7pm. Just saying).

If you’ve ever wanted to let fire inspire, then do consider a course with me here at the workshop. You’ll be glad you did!

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The Workshop, 8 Village Works, London Road, East Hoathly
Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 6QA
01825 840638

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