The story of Okra and Station Glass like glass itself, diverse and fascinating. Okra
was founded in 1979 by Richard Golding & Nicola Osbourne, this successful art glass
studio experienced many changes throughout its history, from major expansion in the
late 80's to being brought out and becoming part of a frontline manufacturing group
in the late 90's by Moorcroft.
This partnership only lasted 4 years and is considered by many to be one of its saddest
Richard and Nicola managed to buy Okra back in 2001 and settled into some purpose
built buildings in the grounds of their house in Wordsley. Sadly Nicola left the
business in 2007 to pursue a career outside of the glass world and we wish her all
the success in the world.
Richard has specialised throughout the years in the design and production of coloured
and iridescent glassware, and his studios are unique by melting coloured glass as
well as clear. From the very beginning he experimented with glass recipes preferring
to make his own glass rather than melt commercially available batches. This has given
him much greater control over the material, and consequently over the designs he
is able to create. Indeed many of the pieces he has produced would simply not be
possible with most commercially available glass. Richards expertise in this field
is widely recognised throughout the glass world. Over the years he has run a number
of specialists glass technology workshops and guest lectured within this field all
over the world.
Richard and his team at Okra regularly updated and developed their ranges giving
exciting new products. One innovation has led him into the field of lighting design.
This has enabled the perfect marriage between glass making skills with the latest
advancements in lighting technology.
At the centre of the Okra business was the one off designer creations which were
continually evolving with new ideas being tried and tested . Alongside this, the
production of the more affordable range pieces, so broadening the customer base.
The middle ground between the two is bridged by the limited edition pieces while
these vary in number from five to fifty, every item is individually hand-made by
Richard and therefore a unique piece.
Sadly Nicola left the business to pursue a career outside of the glass world in 2007
and we wish her all the success in the world.
Richard has now left Okra and has started a new studio at a preservation railway
station called Shenton in Leicestershire. It is his desire to push himself further
in design and to investigate the many possibilities within the art field that has
brought about this change.
Richard is already open for business and some of the designs that are coming through
are very exciting couple that with the news that Terri L Colledge is back with Richard
although working out of The Ruskin Centre in Stourbridge can only mean lots of
stunning pieces of glass to look forward to.
Richard is without doubt one of the worlds leading Master Glassblowers added to which
he is also a brilliant engineer having in the past 4 years developed a Combo furnace,
glory hole and lehr that operates on only 10% of the fuel needed to use a standard
furnace. Another string to his bow are handmade Violins. This is not an easy skill
to acquire but somehow Richard managed it and the final result was a Violin with
wonderful tonal qualities.
It is my privilege to have been associated with Richard for many many years over
which we have become good friends and together with all Richards fans we wish him
the very best of luck in his newest venture Station Glass.
Okra stayed in Wordsley and in 2010 Richard left Okra behind in March to set up a
new studio which would allow him to devote more time to creating and not just manufacturing.