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Everything in place at expanded glass studio

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Immersive experience: Heidi Proctor, who manages Studio 8 Glass, which now has its entire operation under one roof at Clocktower Mall, Dockyard (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A move to larger premises has allowed Studio 8 Glass to house its entire operation under one roof.

The working glass fusion studio at Clocktower Mall in Royal Naval Dockyard sells fused glass items, gives lessons in fused glassmaking, and accommodates a production kiln.

Owned by Matt Hooper and managed by Heidi Proctor, Studio 8 began operations four years ago by giving lessons from a warehouse space in Southampton on an appointment-only basis.

The business opened its first retail store at Clocktower Mall in January last year.

“It has gone well,” Mr Hooper says. “Being here has enabled us to expand within a year, which is great. We have doubled in square footage.”

Making fused glass pieces begins with a rough piece of coloured glass. Tools are used to shape and break bits off, while a grinder is used for fine shaping, and then decorative bits are added. The glass goes into a kiln set at 1,500 degrees; heat fuses the pieces together.

“It is playing with shapes and colours,” Ms Proctor said.

She and Mr Hooper use the winter months to make pieces for sale in the shop, all of which are handmade. Items include necklaces, earrings, rings, suncatchers, night lights, magnets, snowflakes, and Bermuda pink sand lockets, pendants and key chains.

“It is awesome to sell them because we made them ourselves,” Ms Proctor said.

While the retail operation caters mainly to tourists, Mr Hooper said “quite a few locals and a lot of repeat people” take lessons in fused glassmaking.

All materials and tools are supplied for the two-hour lessons, during which students generally make five or six ready-to-wear pieces if they are making jewellery. Pieces are fired in the kiln and ready for pick-up the next day.

“I enjoy interacting with people and helping them to create their special items,” Ms Proctor said. “They leave here with things they have made themselves, perhaps as a gift. Most people have a vision, and we help them create it.”

Studio 8 can customise pieces and also fills special orders.

Mr Hooper said: “Some people come here, see a piece of glass and ask if we can do it in pink. We can do that.”

Ms Proctor added: “When it comes to special orders, if it is in any way possible, we will do it.”

Studio 8 is on Instagram. See Studio 8.glass

On display: a wide variety of products at Studio 8 Glass at Clocktower Mall, Dockyard (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Island memories: pink sand lockets and other pieces at Studio 8 Glass in Clocktower Mall, Dockyard (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)