Teresa Brittain buys a window~gets inspired to lifetime journey

Susan EspirituNorth Knoxville, Our Town Neighbors

When I bought replacement windows, I can’t claim inspiration to do great things but maybe buy new window screens. I do have a few broken windows in my crawlspace and a black snake hiding in the corner according to a worker who ventured down there last week.

Not so for Teresa Brittain who wound up inspired to begin a new hobby, start a business and create a teaching gig all because she bought a replacement window.

In late 1995, Teresa was buying that windowpane for an old house she was renovating with her husband, Ray, when an advertisement in the glass shop next door she said, “would lead me down an unexpected and very different path.”

The sign read, Learn to Make Glass Beads, and curiosity led her inside to sign up on the spot, despite her full-time corporate job, full-time motherhood to a toddler and full-time old-house renovation that led her to the glass shop in the first place.

She says, “I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend a weekend learning a new skill and doing something just for me.” During that class, Teresa instantly discovered the joy of playing with molten glass over a flame and experimenting to find out “what would happen if.” She came home with a torch, safety glasses and rods of colored glass. (I assume she had the window for the renovated house but I forgot to ask.)

As fate would have it, the company she worked for relocated to Atlanta within the next few months, so she took a leap of faith to become a full-time studio artist and her business excelled.

Teresa is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, one of the oldest and most respected craft organizations in the country, and her beads are included in the book 1000 Glass Beads: Innovation & Imagination in Contemporary Glass Beadmaking. She has also been featured on an episode of Tennessee Crossroads, produced by Nashville Public Television.

Teresa enjoys sharing her craft with others by teaching beadmaking to groups throughout the region and at schools such as John C. Campbell Folk School and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.

For more on Teresa’s story, her craft, and her bead creations, visit Brittain’s Beads.

All of us have a story and I want to tell yours! Send them to susan@knoxtntoday.com


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