The Cumbria Tourism Awards celebrates its 17th year of showcasing the very best local businesses and the individuals behind them. Recognizing the variety & quality of the unique products, services, marketing and sustainable practices within our diverse county being shortlisted is a fantastic achievement. Winners will go on to represent Cumbria at the ‘Visit England Awards for Excellence’ in 2020.
We are delighted to be shortlisted in ‘The Experience of the Year Award’ – Sponsored by the new Carlisle Lake District Airport. Cumbria Crystal’s glass-making ‘Experiences’ offer enables visitors to explore the drama and alchemy of glassblowing in a working factory environment using the traditional tools & techniques evolved over 2000 years.
Our Experiences co-ordinator Clare Wilson joined Cumbria Crystal in 2017 with the brief to develop & expand the Experiences programme into a fun, dramatic & educational activity suitable for all ages from 8 years old. Her specialist glass blowing skills & extensive experience ensure participants of taster sessions, public workshops or One-to-One tuition receive the best and safest tuition and care.
Clare graduated with a BA (Hons) in Glass from Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland and was later selected for the prestigious two-year associate training program at JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design in Adelaide, Australia and is where she began to teach introductory glass blowing classes. Clare has worked at Pilchuck Glass School as a student and teaching assistant and been a part of residency programs at the Glazenhuis, Lommel, Belgium; Edinburgh College of Art; Salem State University, MA, USA as part of the Rosenberg residency and most recently at the University for Creative Arts, Farnham.
Cumbria Crystal recently expanded its experiences programme with the introduction of new workshops for two people, these include ‘Bud Vase’ & ‘Two Hearts’ workshops. Experiences are available Saturday to Wednesday weekly.
Bud Vase Experience
In this unique 1-hour experience (for two people) participants will learn to make a colourful blown glass bud vase. Clare will ‘gather’ the molten glass from the furnace on a blowing iron and assist you with your chosen colour. You will be taught how to shape the glass into the correct form before your instructor blows the initial bubble to get the vase started. You will learn how to inflate and shape the glass using traditional wood, newspaper and metal tools. The bubble will then be transferred to a separate punty iron before being ‘opened up’ to create your finished vessel.
Two Hearts Experience
This half hour experience is ideal for two people wishing to share an intensive, fun & memorable experience. Each participant will create a small heart paperweight. Under close supervision you will be shown how to use a variety of glass-makers’ tools to create unique patterns in coloured glass. Each participant will leave (after cooling) with a beautiful keepsake and amazing memories of their time together.
Hearts take 2-3 days to cool and finish.
Our Managing Director Chris Blade says – “Traditional glass blowing is rarely seen today & as such, I am passionate about offering people the opportunity to see & experience it first-hand. The creation of a 5 day a week, hands-on public experiences programme, delivered in the factory alongside our production teams is a powerful way of enhancing this. Clare’s skills, genuine enthusiasm & teaching ability enable us to offer exceptional experiences to our guests. We are therefore delighted & proud to be shortlisted for this Award.”
The next stage involves a visit from a secret shopper to experience glassmaking themselves and assess the customer journey. The report will then be accessed by an independent judging panel who will decide the category winners.
Winners will be announced at an elegant black-tie event on Wednesday 19th June 2019 at the stunning Cartmel Racecourse.
Customer Reviews from our experiences –
“Wow, what a fantastic day for all the family visiting Ulverston. The kids had a really good time learning all about glass making from a professional glass blower. They had the opportunity to try the craft under fantastic supervision from the guide. They really enjoyed making their baubles in a safe environment and we as parents where allowed to watch and take photos. They will never forgot this experience and they have the bauble to cherish for a lifetime. Thanks Cumbria crystal for a fantastic day and memorable experience. Highly recommended for any family visiting, I would phone in advance to book a slot, we didn’t and were lucky but given how much we enjoyed this I would recommend booking. Thanks Mia and Ben.”
“This was my second visit, I have blown my own Christmas bauble and created a paper weight. Tuition was excellent, very safety conscious, the teacher was very passionate about her craft and explained everything in good detail. I really enjoyed the hands on experience in both these classes and having my own products at the end of it was lovely and such a great keepsake of the fantastic time I had. We love visiting Cumbria Crystal even if its just to look around the shop, it’s great to see the artisans practicing their skill while we are there. The crystalware is always of an excellent quality, they have a great choice of products for any occasion, and the work the engravers do is always above and beyond our expectations.”
“I booked this experience for my god daughter, her sister and myself when they were staying with me from Oxford. Both of them are teenagers and I thought it was a great idea (as did they!). It took 15 minutes for each of us to be instructed and to make the bauble ready for the kiln. Our instructor Clare was brilliant, giving us a detailed demonstration beforehand and guiding us throughout the process. She completed the bauble by adding the glass hook at the end before it entered the kiln. Clare was patient, knowledgeable and made the whole thing fun while emphasising the safety aspects all the way through. We collected our works of art the next morning and we are all delighted with the results. Thank you Clare for a great experience!”