AN historic Hexham building is set to become a real glass act from Saturday when artist Carol Nicholson moves into the Moot Hall’s tunnel vaulted basement.
Carol is moving her business selling painted glass and providing workshops from Rowlands Gill, where she’s been for the last three years, to the heart of Tynedale.
It’s an exciting phase for Art Studio of Glass which Carol launched in 2010 at the height of the recession from a market stall.
Now she has 2,000 followers on Facebook and, helped by a £4,000 small business grant from Virgin, she sells all over the world via her online business.
“When we first started out, I was over the moon if we got £70 – now the business is self sustainable and turnover is increasing year on year by £15,000,” she says.
It’s all a far cry from the office-based job Carol used to do, working in media sales, and she loves being able to indulge her artistic side.
“I’ve always loved art. From being a child all I would ever do was pick a pencil up and start drawing.
“When I was working, I kept my art up as a hobby, but when I took redundancy I thought the best thing thing to do, rather than go back to something that was quite stressful, would be to establish my own business doing what I love.”
Carol hopes to capitalise on Hexham’s growing reputation as a wedding destination.
With Hexham House scheduled to open as a wedding venue in the next year, she believes it’s the ideal time to appeal to the bridal market.
“I recently did an order for 100 glasses and they all matched the bride’s theme, and after her wedding day, she gave them as gifts to her guests,” said Carol.
She also plans to offer hen night workshops where the bride’s friends can come and have a glass of fizz and paint.
“I needed extra strings to my bow, so I set up my own classes painting glass and they have been absolutely phenomenal,” she says.
Carol’s Christmas classes at Rowlands Gill always get booked up way in advance, so anybody wishing to make their own hand-made glass gifts here in Hexham would do well to sign up as soon as possible.