ALAN Spark quit his job in marketing and PR at the Wiltshire County Council after taking a two week course in stained glass making. Nine years on he is making pieces for commissions all over the world.

Alan, 60, owns Stained Glass Studio and Gallery based at English Heritage site the Tithe Barn in Bradford on Avon. The Tithe Barn workshops and galleries are set within a tranquil garden situated between the River Avon and Kennet & Avon Canal, and as well as the Stained Glass Studio, there are a number of other arts and crafts outlets and a tea room.

The Studio combines an exhibition of Alan’s and other artists’ work featuring art glass, fused glass, steel furniture, garden sculptures, leaded, Tiffany and hand-blown glass.

Alan found the studio in November 1999 while out walking his dog.

He said: “I was walking my dog in Bradford and I noticed a selection of craft studios at Tithe Barn. I saw that one of them was empty and I approached the landlady. That’s how it started and I haven’t looked back since.”

As well as making stained glass panels, Alan also designs and makes garden sculptures and undertakes restoration work.

He said: “I’m currently making a series of sculptures called Willow in the Wind, which are aluminium and chrome rods with fused glass set into Bath stone. The concept is for the rods to blow in the wind reflecting light and colour.

“I also do restoration and conservation of stained glass.

“My latest job was at Steeple Ashton restoring 24 stained glass panels that were being set into a beautiful oak bay window.”

And even the credit crunch can’t seem to stop the onslaught of work for Alan.

He said: “I thought there would be a downturn but there has actually been an increase in my commission jobs and I’m booked up until next year with my courses.

“When I first started there were only five names in the phone book and now there’s around 15.

“In the 1970s, stained glass wasn’t fashionable and they were pulling it all down but now people want to restore their stained glass and keep the traditional work going.”

Alan also offers a variety of courses at the studio including traditional stained glass making, enamel glass painting and Tiffany style stained glass making.

He added: “I just enjoy passing on my knowledge and watching people develop.

“They all start off by saying ‘I can’t do it’ but they all end up creating their own piece of work.

“A sense of humour is mandatory.”

The studio is open all year round from 11am to 5pm Wednesdays to Sundays.

For more information on Alan’s work and courses available, visit the Stained Glass Studio website at