On a recent trip to Ireland, we had the pleasure of making a trip to Waterford City to visit the craftsmen in their studio at The Irish Handmade Glass Company. And what a pleasure it was. We spent time with the men you'll meet below and watched them practice their craft. Charming, hospitable, and talented too—these fellows are the real deal. We know you'll enjoy their beautiful works of art as much as we do.
The Irish Handmade Glass Story
After the closure of the Waterford Crystal factory in Waterford City, Ireland, in January 2009, a group of Master Craftsmen with a combined total of more than 130 years of experience in glassmaking came together and made the decision to set up a glassmaking facility of their own in the heart of Waterford City. The Irish Handmade Glass Company aims to create beautiful glassware that is not only visually pleasing but also practical to use.
Today, the vast majority of glassmaking companies use automation to produce their products. At The Irish Handmade Glass Company, all the products are handmade in their studio in historic Waterford City. Their glass is a non-lead-based crystal melted from its pellet form in their purpose-built furnace, which produces 385 pounds of glass per day.
In Their Own Words
"Our fathers were Master Craftsmen at Waterford Crystal, and naturally we all followed in their footsteps. We became apprentices to the great masters of glassblowing and cutting at the tender ages of 15 years. Every day, we learned more and more, until after eight years we too, like our fathers, became masters of our craft."
"We worked there with pride, and took pleasure in the joy our skill and quality brought to others throughout the world. Until in 2009, the unthinkable happened and the factory closed and the workforce was laid off. Our world was shattered."
"A group of us were determined that this could not happen; the age-old craft of glassmaking, associated with the oldest city in Ireland, Waterford, could not be lost. Our determination saw us form a brand-new crystal company in the very heart of Waterford City. The Irish Handmade Glass Company was born."
"Producing 100% mouth-blown and hand-cut crystal, we take pride in every piece we produce. Specialising in coloured hand-cut crystal, we have quickly become one of Ireland's leading crystal manufacturers."
Danny Murphy, Master Glass Cutter
Danny has been cutting glass since 1977, and durng that time, he has gained a vast knowledge of his craft. He is responsible for all the cutting designs at The Irish Handmade Glass Company.
Derek Smith, Master Glass Maker
Derek began his career as a glass blower in 1978 and spent the majority of his time blowing large items and world sports awards. Derek specializes in medium to large vases and bowls.
Tony Hayes, Master Glass Maker
Tony was one of the last apprentices employed by Waterford Crystal. He began his apprenticeship in 1986, qualifying as a blower in 1991 and he became a master in 1994. He now creates many of the figurines made by The Irish Handmade Glass Company.
Richard Rowe, Master Glass Maker
Richie has been blowing glass for the last 46 years. During his time working for Waterford Crystal he worked with many of the most recognized glass artists from around the world. Among these are Dale Chihuly, Joe Rosano, and Dan Dailey. Richie is considered to be one of the finest glass makers ever to emerge from Waterford, and this can be seen in the many works of art he has created at The Irish Handmade Glass Company.
Click the image above to watch the craftsmen at work.
The Celtic Meadow Vase is one of
The Irish Handmade Glass Company's most popular items