About Mike

About the Tillerman, Mike Poole

A retired art teacher and avid boater, I live aboard a narrowboat on the UK canal system. The name for my webpage came from my connections with the canal boats. I have been creating fine glass art with a torch for more than twelve years, bringing to lampworking all my previous experience in my other artistic endeavors including watercolours, pottery and other artistic disciplines. Until my retirement I taught art at high school level for almost 30 years.

I have found lampwork to be a wonderful way to relax and be creative at the same time, using the time at the torch to lose myself in my art. As a full-time glass artist, I work six days a week making beads, and teach beadmaking in my studio.

I travel to a number of historic-based events to sell my beads which are based on extensive research into beads made and found in Britain, the Continent, Asia and Africa,  over the past three thousand years. I enjoy exploring the roots of beadmaking in Britain and have worked to produce unique and individual beads with a historic heart and a contemporary feel.

In addition to this, I have been invited by various educationanal institutions, including Nottingham University Department of Archaeology, as well as Newcastle University, to demonstrate beadmaking to archaeology students, giving them an understanding of how glass beads are made and various techniques of construction and embellishment.

I was also invited in 2008 and again in 2009 by the National Museum of Wales to participate in the National Archaeology Week, again demonstrating various techniques of beadmaking. In 2008, I conducted a two-day beadmaking demonstration in the foyer of the Museum in Cardiff, and in 2009 I demonstrated beadmaking in the Celtic Village of the St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life.   I display my historic beads annualy at the Jorvik Viking Festival in York and in 2010 I conducted a beadmaking demonstration at the Medieval Conference at Leeds University.

A number of my beads are now in handling collections in various locales, having been commissioned by a number of interested councils and other organisations. My workhas been commissioned for display and sale by several museums and their shops, including the Jorvik Viking Centre, the Yorkshire Museum, the National Museum Wales and the Roman Vindolanda Museum and Roman Army Museum.


He who works with his hands is a laborer.

He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.

He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.

(St. Francis of Assisi)



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