In 1980 I went to the North Staffordshire Polytechnic to study Ceramics. I loved the material but being of an impatient nature I was getting frustrated with the length of time that the process took. Next door was the studio glass workshop. It was a hot noisy and an exciting place to be, but most importantly the process was immediate. A piece could be made one day and got out of the kiln the following day to start cold working on.
I tried to fight my growing interest in the medium but eventually had to give in. Here began my affair with hot glass. The techniques were hard to learn and at times it seemed an impossible task to acquire the enough technical skills not to inhibit my creativity but not to become so bogged down in technique that the work would become static and lifeless. I loved the energy of glass.
On finishing my degree I went to the heart of the British glass industry, Dudley near Stourbridge in the Midlands. Here I did a traditional course on glass making which gave me my own skills that I needed to really start making my own work. In 1984 I had finished my education and knew I wanted my own studio but I had no experience so I spent the next three years working in as many studios around the country that I could. This was invaluable as life is very different outside the safety of college.
By 1987 I felt ready to go it alone and I established Jane Charles Studio Glass – originally set up in Edinburgh. I raised the capital to buy my cold working equipment and came down to Newcastle to make blanks one week per month. Eventually it made sense to move lock stock and barrel to Newcastle and have my cold working studio next to the facilities I hired.
In July 1996 I moved to a larger studio in the same building and installed my first furnace finally making me totally self sufficient.
In February 2011 I moved studios again and in April 2011 I opened my first glass gallery in the centre of Newcastle.