Richard and Sandra had driven past Shenton Station lots of times on their way home. Every time one of them would say "what a brilliant place for a glasshouse?" Little did they know that in 2010 it would become just that. The story of Station Glass probably needs to start back in the states in October 2005 on the Glass Association trip to Pittsburgh and Corning where Richard and Sandra met. Both of them were at crossroads in their lives. One night in Marietta, by the side of the Ohio River, it became clear that they were somehow linked together. Over the next three years they became very close friends and now live together in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire.
In 2007 Richard asked two local glassmakers, Dean Hopkins and Kari Sellars, if they wished to become partners in Okra Glass, with a view to Richard leaving the business in a couple of years time.
Over the next couple of years Richard shared his glass recipes, knowledge and techniques with Dean and Kari in preparation for them taking over Okra Glass at some stage. As you all now know, at the end of March 2010 Richard set off to make the Station fly as his eighth studio and first ever gallery.
As you will see from other parts of this website, Richard`s new studio at the Station is tiny, probably the smallest glass studio in the country.Shenton Station lies at the end of the Shackerstone Battlefied Preserved Railway line so visitors to the Station can combine their visit with a ride on a preserved steam or diesel locomotive.
The Station building has a fascinating history. It was rescued from Humberstone Road, Leicester in the 1990`s when a road widening scheme threatened its survival. The building had lain derelict for years after being taken out of service as a passenger station. As a grade two listed building it had to be preserved but British Rail didn`t have the money.Leicestershire County Council came to the rescue. They bought the station for £1 plus VAT and moved it brick by brick to its new home in Shenton in 1992.
For the next few years it was used as an information point for the nearby Battlefield Centre (the Battle of Bosworth) and a southern terminus for the Battlefield Railway Line. In recent times the building has been scarcely used and it`s future was once again uncertain as the County Council needed to find a use for it which brought in some money and complemented the tourist attractions in the vicinity.
Richard had had his eyes on the Station for a while but never dreamt that it would become his eighth studio and first ever gallery. Whenever they drove past either Richard or Sandra would say "wouldn`t that make a fabulous location for a glasshouse." Amazing how dreams can come true if you work at it.
It`s strange how things sometimes work out. Over twenty years ago Richard had another dream.That one was to build an efficient, combined set of glassmaking equipment. When he realised in 2009 that the County Council were looking for a way to use the Station things started clicking into place. The Station was far too small to fit in a traditional furnace, gloryhole and lehr so the COMBO was born.
Richard thoroughly enjoyed his thirty years at the helm of Okra Glass, especially the many special collectors he has met during this time. But his home was now in Leicestershire, he was tired by production runs and he wanted to get back to making art glass and pieces that are unique and up to the expectations of collectors.The Station has given Richard a way of re-energising his art, being able to live at home and an opportunity to play and experiment again.
In April 2010 Richard took over part of the Station building and started turning a tired, cold building into the smallest glass studio in England. Over eleven weeks he built the COMBO with Merlyn Farwell and managed to transform an empty shell into a living, breathing studio and gallery. The full story is recorded on the A Station to a Glasshouse pages of this website. Oki Bear (see the photo on the right) had found a new, safe home.
At times we thought it was a totally mad venture. Would the COMBO work? Would the local community support the venture? Would the studio be big enough to work in? As everything is working wonderfully we can now move onto a new set of worries.When will we be ready to hold our first Open Day for Friends of Staton Glass? How do we set up direct sales from the website?
Richard`s work as a glassmaker has given him the chance to meet lots of special people. He particularly values the friendship and support of all the Okra Collectors who have been with him over the past thirty years. He has been amazed by their understanding and support for his new venture at the Station.They are very welcome and have become part of the next stage of Richard`s journey.