‘Holibops Manuel, it’s a Dublin term meaning holidays’.
Indeed Manuel (our photography intern from Spain) learned a few more Dublin terms as we made our way through the sea of green that was Dolphins Barn pre Euro 2012 on our one day holibop to Waterford.
Back in January, we approached the Irish Handmade Glass Company about producing a range of glassware exclusive to our shop. Simple forms in beautiful colours was the brief. The results were exactly that, so we were feeling pretty excited about visiting the studio that produced our range having previously only communicated via email. The perfect opportunity to visit coincided with Manuel’s internship with us, so off we went, struggling at times with communication, but I think we all learnt a thing or two on that car journey. Manuel learnt some new words and we learnt that all pints are €2 in Dicey’s every Tuesday!
The Irish Handmade Glass studio is based in the heart of the medieval city of Waterford, a stones throw away from the Disneylandesque Waterford Crystal visitor centre. On arrival, we felt immediately welcome by the lads despite the fact that we were totally in the way as master glass blower Richard Rowe attempted to work around our awkward decamping of bags and coats. Manuel got straight to work while we made chit chat with master glass maker Tony Hayes.
The company consists of three major glassmakers and one master glasscutter, all ex-Waterford crystal empolyees who have a combined experience of 130 years of glass making. Each skilled worker, glide with ease, poles of molten glass in hand around the workshop in a relaxed yet orderly manner, producing finely crafted pieces at a factory line pace. The pride and enthusiasm that these makers display for their craft is a pleasure to see.
Established in 2009, they are obviously relishing the opportunity to run a business which they have full control over. Emphasis is on the quality of glassware which is produced from non-lead based crystal, melted from its pellet form in a purpose built kiln. Molten glass is either blown at this stage or dipped in high quality pigment to produce vibrantly coloured pieces. Once blown pieces are cooled, they are then passed to master cutter Danny Murphy who cuts and finishes each piece with steely concentration. Intrigued by the various stages of manufacturing, we began thinking up all sorts of possibilities. It has been such a pleasure working with this glass company that we would like to see this as the beginning of a whole host of possible products.
As we packed up our things, we left with the thought, just think of the possible Christmas baubles!
Special thanks to all at the Irish Handmade Glass Company: Danny Murphy, Derek Smith, Tony Hayes & Richard Rowe.
HUGE thanks to Manuel Gutiérrez for taking such amazing photos.