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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Exactly What Your Christmas Tree Needs: Irish Shamrock Bauble by The Irish Handmade Glass Company & Highly Recommended by Whom You Know

Even the grinchiest of them all (whom we do not publish on and do not pass go and collect $200 in the Whom You Know review process) will agree that a Christmas tree is not green enough without gorgeous decor straight from Ireland that is DESIGNED and MANUFACTURED in Ireland.  As you have noticed, where something is manufactured is quite important to us because it is part of what dictates quality: craftsman(or woman!)ship; so far only the USA and Ireland have earned columns dedicated to manufacturing on Whom You Know but we may expand as we see fit for countries that are the most competitive in terms of quality.  The newest American-made brand on Whom You Know is Donna Degnan, who designs and manufactures in Manhattan and is Irish American.  This is the second feature by The Irish Handmade Glass Company; the first is here:

This shamrock bauble is classy and elite, and we suggest ordering a few to punctuate your tree properly.  Of course, as it is glass it will capture light most effectively so in terms of ornament strategy, which you'd better believe we think about because we are that detail-oriented, we think these would go well near a strand of lights on the tree.  Using a green oxide melted onto the surface of the crystal, allows a hint of green to shine through the glass, embellished with hand etched Shamrocks, the symbol most associated with Ireland. These are a comforting reminder of home wherever you are in the world.  There can be no greater reminder of ‘The Emerald Isle’ at Christmas than seeing one of these on your Christmas tree.

They tell Whom You Know:
In January 2009, Waterford Crystal declared bankruptcy and shut its manufacturing plants in Waterford City, Ireland. Almost 900 employees, many highly skilled in glassmaking, found themselves in an unimaginable position, unemployed for the first time in their lives. Most of these craftsmen had never been employed in any other trade than glassmaking, and had spent up to 45 years in this craft. 

A group of these craftsmen, Tony Hayes, Richard Rowe, Danny Murphy and Derek Smith came together with a plan to produce high quality, mouth blown, hand cut glassware, and thus began a brand new crystal company, The Irish Handmade Glass Company. They decided to undertake some market research and found that the market had a place for a totally new product, genuine, Irish mouth blown crystal, but not the traditional heavy cut style the market had become used to. They created a unique formula non lead crystal, which carries all the brilliance and weight of traditional crystal, but without the danger of using lead oxide.

Whilst working in Waterford Crystal, they had often used colour to create pieces for their own personal use. This gave them the idea of using colour, nothing new there, but with the addition of cutting, it created a totally unique product. Each collection of products is designed by the artists themselves, and these designs are in turn inspired by the nature surrounding them in Ireland. Each piece is completely unique, a thickness may differ slightly, a cut may be in a different place, this makes each piece even more desirable, nobody wants ‘sameness’.

Based in The Kite Design Studios, Waterford City, Ireland, they are extremely proud of their heritage, and that all their products are produced on site. Unlike many other ‘Irish’ companies, they refuse to outsource to cheaper economies. They are in fact, the only Irish Crystal manufacturers to display the ‘Guaranteed Irish’ Logo, a logo associated with home produced excellence.

The owners are:

Tony Hayes, Master Glass Blower 30 years experience

Richard Rowe, Master Glass Blower, 49 years experience

Derek Smith, Master Glass Blower 39 Years Experience

Danny Murphy Master Glass Cutter 39 Years Experience.

Derek Chestnutt 

Anthony Condon 

Their website says:

 Located in the new 'Kite Design Studio', The Irish Handmade Glass Company aim to bring the craft of glass making to life for visitors to historic Henrietta Street in the Viking Quarter of Waterford City. Watch in amazement as renowned Glass Master, Richard Rowe transforms the molten glass into works of art before your very eyes. Our aim, along with keeping the craft alive, is to create beautiful, affordable glassware, both crystal clear and also coloured which is not only pleasing to the eye, but also practical to use.

In these modern times the vast majority of glass making companies now use automation to produce their products. Here at The Irish Handmade Glass Company all our products have been hand made here on our premises in historic Waterford City. Our glass is a non- lead based crystal, ‘Crystalline’ which is melted from its pellet form in our purpose built furnace which produces 385 lbs of glass per day. 

We welcome visitors to our studio to experience our craft and see first hand how glass is formed in the traditional way. We have been joined by Master Engraver, Sean Egan who can add an extra dimension or personalisation to your piece if required. We are also pleased to offer a repair service. If you have a piece of crystal which has been chipped or broken send us an image and we can advise on any available options.


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 for us 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 specialises 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 bacame 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 has worked with many of the most recognised glass artists from around the world. Amongst 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.

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