Success for Leeds artist who swapped the classroom for glassmaking with huge boom in craft kits from home

Molten twists of fused glass sparkle in art for a teacher turned glassmaker who has found sudden and striking success with handmade home crafting kits.

By Ruby Kitchen
Monday, 27th December 2021, 11:45 am

Kate Park, of Bramley’s Twice Fired studios near Leeds, has seen interest boom in her delivery craft boxes, featured by the likes of John Lewis and Handmade in Halifax.

Mrs Park, a secondary school art teacher of 16 years who had invested everything in studio workshops to follow her dream, found it all on a precipice as businesses suddenly shuttered last year in the pandemic.

Then, after a regular visitor’s plea for a craft box to make at home, the glass artist has since seen huge success, now selling nationwide through independent stores and crafters’ shops such as Etsy.

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Kate Park pictured in the Twice Fired studio in Bramley. Pictures by Simon Hulme.

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Mrs Park said: “The workshops were such a big part of our business, and when they went we really felt the pressure.

“Now, it’s taken off, and really changed how we do everything. It’s so lovely to see the notes that people send back with the kits. They really do find it relaxing.”

Mrs Park was an art teacher at Rastrick High School who had “dabbled” in art and glassmaking on the side.

Kate Park pictured in the Twice Fired studio in Bramley. Pictures by Simon Hulme.

When she secured a contract from the National Trust she turned to the studios full-time, making jewellery and decorations and launching workshops when she realised she missed teaching. Now, with a little resilience and innovate craft at home kits, the studios have expanded.

'Millions of ideas'

Mrs Park said she has “millions” of ideas for new fused glassmaking and art kits to add to the collection, which includes tealights, decorations, and hearts, all in returns to be fired in the studio kiln. There are luxury gift boxes, candles, soap, and pieces of glass featuring delicate hand-crafted designs.

She added: “I feel so lucky that we’ve been able to stay afloat and grow, doing something I love.”

Kate Park pictured in the Twice Fired studio in Bramley. Pictures by Simon Hulme.

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Kate Park pictured in the Twice Fired studio in Bramley. Pictures by Simon Hulme.