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.

Keeping cool - torching in a heatwave!

Some years ago I moved my workshop from a large, insulated and lined timber shed in my garden to rented commercial premises amongst other units in the centre of beautiful East Hoathly village.

This workshop is a block-built detached building with a pitched tiled roof, two opening windows, a double-opening door and two fans. It is much better insulated than my garden workshop, being block-built, and the system of air flow is ideal for keeping things cool.

But during a heatwave? Here’s what I do to keep cool!

  • Windows open
    Sounds obvious, right? But if it’s a breezy day, this can interfere with my flame. Some fine-tuning is generally called for.

  • Fans on
    When I first installed my kit and caboodle I set up my system of torch ventilation (the ‘schnozzles’), and that was it. In 2018 I upgraded my system by adding a large extractor fan on the opposite wall to my schnozzle set-up, and this made a vast difference to keeping the workspace cool.

  • Hydration!
    I drink LOADS. I’ve always got a pint of water on the go, plus a pot of peppermint tea (which is delicious whether hot, warm or cold). Perfect.

  • Time of day
    I like to make an early start, before the sun comes round. By lunchtime in the summer the sun comes over the units in front of me and bathes the white uPVC frontage of my unit - so I plan most of my torching for the early morning. I keep the blinds flagged once the sun has come round, and this makes a difference. Even if I’m not torching, on a hot day I’ll keep the large extractor fan going, the blinds closed and the windows open, and visitors to the workshop often comment how lovely and cool it is in here!

  • Routine
    Like anyone, I try to plan my working day to include comfort breaks, tea breaks, walking-around breaks and fresh air breaks. I’ll often go for a walk at lunchtime - there are some gorgeous footpaths just moments away, and my favourite walking circuit includes plenty of shady woodland.

  • Is it ever TOO hot?
    Not really - I can generally handle it, and so can the students on my courses, to date!

  • If all else fails?
    I shut up shop and work from home (on my website, on paperwork, on event planning, writing course outlines or e-mailing my students).
    On a sunny evening, once I’ve finished my work and ramped the kiln down, I walk the three-minute commute home, and I might stop off at the King’s Head for a refreshing drink halfway. Now THAT’S the best way to cool down!

Outside 8 Village Works, before the sun comes round. The plants are enjoying the shade!

Outside 8 Village Works, before the sun comes round. The plants are enjoying the shade!

The hanging basket needs watering twice a day at the moment.

The hanging basket needs watering twice a day at the moment.

Open windows, flagged blinds. A perfect cooling combination!

Open windows, flagged blinds. A perfect cooling combination!

The big fan - this makes all the difference both when torching and when not!

The big fan - this makes all the difference both when torching and when not!

One of my four schnozzles. You can see the output fan top right.

One of my four schnozzles. You can see the output fan top right.

Glass partners

Remember Alex of Heartwood Glass? Her business partner (and husband) Gav joined me for a one-to-one beginners’ course here in the workshop last week - and they’re now both booked for an all-day intermediate course together in July.

Here’s how Gav got on!

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What a terrific collection of lampwork glass beads!

What a terrific collection of lampwork glass beads!

Interested in letting fire inspire, whether it’s simply to experience a new craft, build on existing skills or develop your working practices to continue your own creative work? I offer a range of courses in this captivating craft, and am very flexible!


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

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