Broken kilns and other stories


Glassblowing is only half of the story. FACT.

When they’re not blowing glass, Will and Johnny are doing a heap of other stuff that needs sorting.

Prior to the gallery and workshop re-opening, they’d been drilling, hammering, rewiring, painting and redesigning.

They’ve rearranged the workshop so it looks even better, with shiny new shelving, and wall lights – check them out – they’re gorgeous.

So the only things that haven’t had much of a makeover are Will and Johnny themselves. There’s still time, don’t panic!

Now, though, there’s a bigger looming challenge. The pot’s cracked! Which means they need a new kiln. So they’ll have to build a new one. This involves ordering special fire bricks and drawing plans, and so on, and so on.

Sadly, it didn’t break during lockdown – that would have been the best time for it to pack up. But these things have a habit of not playing out in quite the way you want them.

The other day they had the joy shifting fives tonnes of cullet (the bits of glass that go in the furnace) by hand, after the delivery driver turned up days earlier than expected.

It was evening, the light was beginning to fade, and Will and Johnny had to race back to the workshop to unload the lorry and get the cullet inside (for some unknown reason the lorry didn’t come with a lifting device).

They shifted it twice. Johnny was keen to remind us that he’d actually therefore moved 10 tonnes. No easy task.

So although they make the life of a glassblower look incredibly glamorous (I know!) there really is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes.

Add to that their charitable spirit – this year the Shakspeare Glass team will be raising funds for the OddBalls Foundation, the testicular cancer charity – and you can see that there’s so much more to this glassblowing business than meets the eye.

Check out Will and Johnny’s Oddbaubles that they’ve made especially to raise funds for the Foundation - £10 from each sale will go to the charity, and you can also suggest any fundraising activities that you think they should get involved with to me – I’ll happily pass on any ideas!!

And if anyone’s in the market for building a new kiln…. Do let us know!

Pop in and see us all soon. We’re loving that we can talk to real people again.