THE last luxury crystal manufacturer in the UK has been hot in demand over the festive period.

Cumbria Crystal’s ‘unforgettable’ glass-blowing workshops has seen hundreds of excited customers visit the factory over the last couple of years, with this Christmas being no different.

The company is one of the only remaining English manufacturers of hand-blown and hand-cut lead crystal, with products featured in James Bond and Downtown Abbey.

The glass-blowing experience is a unique 30-minute workshop not only allowing visitors to watch artisans at work but to experience the alchemy of glass-blowing.

Clare Wilson, public engagement officer, arrived at Cumbria Crystal earlier in the year and she is responsible for delivering the extensive workshops.

Miss Wilson said people from all over the country come to the factory to get a glimpse of the fascinating opportunity.

She said: “The workshops are popular all year round, especially at Christmas with the baubles.

“Everything here is all unique, this is not your typical factory.

“The glass we use is handmade and each product has it’s own feature.

“It takes 10-18 days for a whole glass piece to be cut and finalised.”

The experience starts by Clare demonstrating how coloured glass baubles are made and she talks through the processes involved.

Participants are told to select the colours they would like to use to decorate their bauble, with an array to choose from.

The colours will then be placed on a metal table ready to be applied to the molten glass.

Once the colours are selected, Clare will then collect molten glass from her furnace on a blowing iron.

The furnace is on 24/7, has a temperature of around 1160 degrees and takes up to five days to fully heat up.

After the glass is melted onto the blowing iron, participants will then dip their bauble into the colours they have chosen.

The glass will go into a reheating chamber because the colours attached need to be melted into the material.

Clare then takes the iron as participants form the glass into the correct shape ready to be inflated.

The forming and reheating process is repeated several times until the colours are completely melted into the glass.

After the colours have formed into the bauble, you will then blow into the iron to expand the product to create the bauble shape.

As well as the bauble and paperweight workshops, which both involve different techniques, visitors can enjoy tumbler workshops and introductory classes, as well as a one-day creative sandblasting workshop.

Lila Cooper, who took part in the workshop with son Ari Cooper-Davis and Suzanne Owen, said the experience was fantastic.

She said: “I work in Ulverston so I have heard about Cumbria Crystal before, but I did not realise they did workshops like this.

“It was great to take part, I have always taken an interest in glass blowing and it is something I have always wanted to do.

“The experience was great and we all had a great time.”

As well as unique glass designs, Cumbria Crystal has also some exciting partners.

One being Bentley Motors, for which the firm in Canal Head creates bespoke flutes which are supplied with every new Bentley Bentayga Mulliner. The team have also been working on a new project with the Mulliner team in the run up to Bentley’s Centenary celebration year and will be providing bespoke tumbler and decanters for the launch event in Pebble Beach, California.

To try your hand at glassblowing call Cumbria Crystal on 01229 584 400 or email