Welcome to Glassification’s Crowdfunding Campaign.We are asking for your help to turn this large barn of a buidling into a fully equipped warm glass workshop, to help us create jobs for people who,for health reasons, struggle to find work.
What is "Warm Glass" ?
To try and keep things simple, there are 3 ways of creating beautiful works of art from glass. The 2 best known ways are cold working (which includes stained glass, copper foiling,mosiac work, engraving and sandblasting) and hot workworking which is working with glass once it is in a "liquid" state (lampwork and glass blowing).
Warm glass makers straddle the divide!
Glass is cut to shape, placed in a flat bed kiln, then heated to around 800 degrees celcius..(which in glass terms, is only warm!) which fuses the glass together. Sometimes that's all we do, (to make wall art, splashbacks and coasters) and sometimes we go on to "slump"... basically reheating the glass in or over moulds to produce bowls, platters or standing sculptures.
Who is Liz Sparkes ?
Liz is a former counsellor, sales person and kitchen designer. Following a car accident in 2009 (which finished off her beloved Audi TT!), Liz was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a chronic condition with a range of symtoms, including generalized pain, fatigue, impaired memory and loss of concentration. For two years she was barely able to get out of bed. Whilst there is no cure, there are ways you can learn to manage Fibro. It took her a while, but slowly she got out of bed and started living again. Unable to continue in high pressure sales jobs, and with her memory and concentration impaired making counselling impossible, Liz needed to find work to support herself and her son. However, finding an employer who understood she would have some good days and some bad days (no matter how well managed her condition) lead her to completely rethink her life. She invested the small amount of compensation from the accident into an Exploring Glass course in Bristol. The buzz she got from creating jewellery, plates, bowls and wall panels, and the friends she made in those 18 months, gave her a reason to get out of bed, and a feeling of self worth again.
It also gave her an idea, a way to create her own business by combining her new skill of glassmaking, with her background as a kitchen designer. So, Glassification was born. A business designed to provide an income for someone who may be well one day and not the next. And a job that also feeds her soul.
What do you mean by flexible working and who needs it?
Zero hours contracts can be exploititive, or they can offer a life line to people who for various reasons are unable to commit to work x number of hours, week in week out. Exploititive Zero Hours is when it is run only in the interests of the business. What we are talking about is a system which is run for the benefit of the worker with their needs at it's core.
Who needs it? Well, anyone who has a medical condition that varies on a weekly or even daily basis, anyone who has good days and bad days. People who have to attend hospital, doctor's appointments, therapists, social work meetings, people who for whatever reason may need time off at the drop of a hat. So that might include people with Fibromalgia (obviously!), ME, mental health issues, in fact any chronic health condition which needs careful management, OR people who need to care for someone with such a condition, or just simply old age.
Our glass making business is ideal for supporting people in a flexible way.
Firstly the job itself is therapeutic! Making things is known to relieve stress, and being surrounded by beautiful works of art is very healing! But also glass takes time. It can't be rushed. So there is no "this has to be done TODAY" pressure which is usual in a work place. We work to long lead times for the splashbacks, (the kitchen has to go in first, and that can take up to 3 months from order) All this means we can be very flexible with working hours.
What is Glassification?
Glassification is the splashback section of Liz' glass making studio. We like to call it Art that Works. Currently we have the capacity to make 2 splashbacks a week, up to 900mm w x 700mm h. We have a range of designs, but we can also create one of truly unqiue panels to commission. As each panel is hand cut and hand made, no two panels are ever the same.
Having just taken on 2 sales agents, we expect quite soon to be working at full capacity. Once we are, we will purchase a bigger kiln, so our "production" is easily scale-able.
Glassification is taking full advantage of the current trend of all things glass in kitchens, and with most of our competition using factory made prints, we can offer a real alternative to people who want to stand out from the crowd.
Why do you need to Crowdfund?
Going from a well paid job to sickness benefit overnight plays havoc with your bank balance! As a single parent life hasn't been easy for Liz, but the accident and illness was the final straw. With no property and no savings, the only way to expand the business and to create the job opportunities we want to create is to turn to the crowd, and ask the crowd for support.
Glass making is NOT a cheap business to run! For example, just one diamond pad can cost £65, (and for a minimal set up we need 4!). A kiln over £8,000! In this Crowdfunding Campaign we are looking to raise £3,500 to cover the basics of the move to a bigger workshop. It will pay for:-
- electrical work to wire in the kiln
- a large sink and a plumber to fit it
- tools, such as grozing pliers, glass cutters and running pliers
- small stock of glass
- health and safety equipment, face masks, safety glasses and fire extingishers,
What would you do if you were over funded?
Do a little happy dance???
Seriously, if we do over reach our target, then every single penny will be put to good use. We need cold working equipment, a wet angle grinder, band saws, wet belt sanders, and lap grinders. We need diamond pads, diamond drill bits and blades to fit them. And we need to get word out there, so a website and branding.
What greater reward is there than to make beautiful things from glass? :) But we know that not everyone wants to "make" so we're hoping there's something juicy here for everyone!
- Invitation to official Opening Event, (including wine!) to include 10% off all glass on sale at the event
- Discounted gift vouchers, saving you £20 in every £120 on glass, courses or workshop hire ANYTIME (in multiples of just £25)
- Taster sessions in copper foiling and fusing
- Evening Classes for the locals (commuters welcome!)
- Weekend Fusing and Slumping
- Make your Own Splashback (for beginners) *
- Working with Larger Panels and Splashbacks (intermediate and advanced glassmakers) *
- Workshop Experiences for those who like to sit and watch other people work!
To keep things simple we're not providing any accommodation via this Crowdfunder, BUT Ilminster is awash with many hotels, B&B's, self catering cottages and there's even a Travel Lodge just over the road, so accomodation is available for every budget. We'll even help you book it.
Courses will be held from June 2015 onwards, and if you can't make the first date we offer, we'll make sure we fit you in sometime before the end of November.
* the splashback courses include the cost of us getting the panel back to you once it's been fired, and for "Making Your Own" we'll even help you fit it. (However if you live in the Outer Hebrides we may have to ask you for a bit of petrol money.) We haven't included the cost of materials either, as it varies so much depending on size of the panel and what sort of glass you want to make it out of... but factor in anything from £38 to £200 for a really big splashback (over 900mm wide) doing it this way means you're splitting the costs too, the course now, and you can pay for the glass later when you do the course. If in doubt, please contact Liz before pledging, and she'll give you an idea of any extras.
NEW REWARDS ADDED!!!
Responding to a request for specific pieces as well as gift vouchers we have added 3 new rewards!!
Suncatchers - each one is unique !!
Candle Plates - 18cms square - each plate is unique
Mini Field of Flowers - the same design as our top selling splashback, but in miniture! 300mm wide x 260mms h.
Gorgeous Big Bowls - Pebble Purple or Spring & Grey
So how can I help?
Thanks for asking!! Remember, if we don’t reach the target we get zip, nothing, zilch. Back to square one. So, you need to :-
- Sign up to Crowdfunder
- Make a pledge
- Tell the world what you did (and why, if you like!)
Of course we'd love you to pledge, but even if you can't you can still help by spreading the word. We've yet to meet anyone who doesn't like glass, so you'll be doing your friends and family a favour by teling them about us!
Whatever your motivation to help, be that because you love glass, would like to learn a new skill, or would like to be able to confidently make large panels as part of your professional glass making services, or maybe, like Liz you have struggled to find work to fit in with your health, (be that a physical or mental disability) and know what a difference it can make to a person’s life to be able to work in whatever capacity they are able....Whatever the reason, thank you. You will make a difference. We promise.Go on, what are you waiting for.. click on that link!
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