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About the beads

All the lampwork beads sold by Tillerman Beads are made by Mike Poole in his Calderdale studio in a converted cotton mill, famously known as 'Grumpy's Mill'. 

Mike works at the torch daily, making beads.  He spends around 6-8 hours a day making beads which is why there is such a large selection of beads on the site.  Beadmaking is his full-time passion, he has the pleasure of being able to simply sit and make beads all day, which means that there are a significant number of beads available for sale.  In addition, he has to have enough of a selection to take to the historic fairs that are also a part of his professional life.

 If you look at the show schedule, we're booked into a regular round of historic fairs.  Some of them are one-day, some are two and a few are three-day markets.  This doesn't even cover his other commitments, including demonstrations of beadmaking at various historic sites in the UK as well as keeping up with research and reading up on new beads.

To have a good stock of beads for this many shows, Mike spends long hours creating beads and bead sets.  They are not only available at the fairs but also on the website, which means that what looks like an extravagance of beads is simply the result of working daily to produce enough beads for his online and bead fair customers.  Each bead is his best work, we don't sell 'seconds'.  Every bead is exactly as we would want if we were buying it for use in jewellery or as gifts.  You deserve only the finest of Mike's work, and that is what we offer.  All the beads are made using glass from the best glass factory, including the Effetre and Moretti factories which originated on Murano; other premier glass companies whose glass Mike uses are Reichenbach, from Germany and Vetrofond which is an Italian glass company near Venice.

The Historic Reproduction Beads

 Each of the handmade glass reproduction beads sold by Tillerman Beads which can be seen in the online shop  and the galleries on the Mancunium website are as accurately reproduced and as true to the original source material as possible.

Each bead we offer is referenced with information about the original source material, each bead is handmade in Britain, and presented with knowledge of not only the bead background but made with an understanding of the creation of each bead.  All the provenance for the beads is based on documented material, such as archaeological reports and museum finds.  We never use information from sites such as auction or sale houses which offer unprovenanced beads which may be collected under unethical conditions or have inaccurate attributions.

Many of the beads in the galleries are from work done to supply museum shops or by special request for people who have particular requirements, such as owning a copy of an excavated artefact.

A gallery of reproductions of  historic beads can be seen in the Mancunium website bead gallery


Too much choice, some folk say, but we believe that you can never have too many beads, and more choice means a bigger chance of finding exactly the beads that you want.

So, if you're overwhelmed by the selection, simply brew up, grab a biscuit or two and browse a bit at a time.  But don't take too long as many of the contemporary bead sets are one-of-a-kind and may be gone before you know it.