I've been addicted to beads since I was about 15, when I began making simple jewellery.
As I got older, I knew it wasn't enough for me to buy cheap beads, stick them on wire and call it jewellery and so I developed an interest in better quality handmade beads.
The first time I saw a lampwork torch in action must have been sometime in 2005/6, at a bead fair; as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try my hand at it. Early in 2007, I was browsing the web and idly looked for lampwork lessons. I couldn't find anywhere local, but stumbled across Manda Muddimer (Mangobeads) in Barnstaple, where I was due to take a holiday in a couple of months' time, so fate had spoken.
I bought my starter kit not long after returning from Devon. If I recall correctly, the first time I was brave enough to light my propane-powered Hothead torch was in September 2007. After that, there was no stopping me and it wasn't long before I upgraded my torch to one that would run on both oxygen and propane, providing a cleaner, hotter flame.
My current studio is in my back garden in Wigan and I've recently taken to streaming my torch sessions on Twitch where you'll find me as JHArtGlass. It has a friendly little chat room, where we keep each other company and talk about all kinds of things, whilst I simultaneously mesmerise you with molten glass. You can even add your requests to the music playlist in the background. I'd love to see you there sometime!