Tea & Chat with Claire Demetri Glass Design
Today, I've been looking forward to chatting to a Claire, who designs and makes beautiful glass art. Claire started her creative business alongside her day job, but recently moved to a purpose made studio. Here is what Claire shared with us about her business called Claire Demetri Glass Design.
Hello! Great to have you here, the kettle’s just boiled – what would you like to drink?
Always tea - coffee makes me ill!
So, tell us a bit about yourself and your business.
I'm a soon to be 50 year old ex-primary school teacher and
I've managed to turn my glass fusing hobby/passion into a full time business
over the last couple of years. My business is called Claire Demetri Glass Design and I make a variety of fused glass items from
jewellery and Christmas decorations to large bowls, wall art and bespoke
panels. I work from a small but gorgeous studio at the Fisherton Mill
Gallery in Salisbury, Wiltshire where I also teach regular glass-fusing
workshops. I can also bring my puppy Bella to work with me which is a lot of
What inspired you to start your creative business? How did it all begin?
It started as a hobby - I needed a creative outlet to balance the demands of teaching! However, once I began glass fusing I became addicted so I bought my first kiln and set up a studio in my garage. I started off doing craft fairs and selling through a couple of local shops and soon developed a very loyal and supportive local customer base
How has your business changed and developed since it started?
I gave up teaching last year to focus on glass full time and moved into my new studio which meant I could design and make a much wider range of products. As well as a workspace, the studio also gives me a retail outlet as the Fisherton Mill houses an amazing cafe, shop, art gallery, exhibition space and several other designer/maker studios.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs and product range?
I was brought up in Cornwall so love the sea, coastline and
countryside. But I love experimenting with new techniques - the
possibilities with glass are endless as it is such a versatile medium so I
never get bored!
What are you working on at the moment? Anything new coming up in your on-line shop?
I'm current working on some bespoke pieces and commissions but would like to make some larger, 'one-off' bowls available in my online store soon. Also with wedding season coming up, I'm doing lots of bespoke frames as wedding gifts as well as working with brides to make personalised wedding favours which double as table decorations.
So, where does all this takes place? What’s your workspace like?
My studio is fairly small but I have carefully designed the layout to keep my workspace separate from my display area - and of course I also have just enough room for the puppy! I teach small workshops in the studio itself but can also make use of a gallery space for larger workshops. The studio is in an old converted mill so it has lots of character and a great atmosphere.
What do you like most about running your own handmade business?
I do like being my own boss - as my two eldest children are away at uni, it's great to not be bound by the school-run routine and have some flexibility. Running your own business is demanding and you never completely switch off but I do it on my own terms!
What are your plans for your creative business for the future?
I am really enjoying what I do at the moment, but I would like to develop my online sales more over the coming months as well as promoting my workshops - I think the teacher in me still loves to share my knowledge and introduce people to the magic of glass!
Thank you for taking the time to chat to us!
P.S To apply for your own handmade shop, just head over to this page to find out more and complete a simple online application form.