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A glass act

Will Shakspeare blows glass. You didn't know the bard was a craftsman? The Somerset Will, one of the UK's best-known glassblowers, has just launched a line of hand-blown glass lampshades inspired by nature.

Somerset’s Will Shakspeare has been glass blowing for over 25 years and in the world of glassblowing, is a bit of a name.  Maybe you’ve seen him on Kirstie’s Homemade Home, Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas or Inside the Factory?  Based at Shakspeare Glass on the edge of the River Parrett in Langport on the Somerset Levels, he uses traditional methods, tools and techniques to turns these…

..into all sorts of beautiful objects.

He’s just launched a new line of hand-blown glass lampshades inspired by nature. The blue, green and aqua shades in Coast reflect the ever-changing colours between the Scilly Isles and the sea.

Leaves mottled with red, burgundy and brown berries conjuring up the beauty of the wildlife around the Somerset Levels inspired Hedgerow.

Pebbles? Well, Will just loves pebbles.

He uses a long blowing iron to ‘gather’ the molten glass from a furnace which is kept burning at 1050°C day and night.  Keeping the glass constantly turning, he coats it with layers of powdered glass ‘frit’ and more glass and blows into the blob of glass to create the shape he wants. Afterwards, it’s put into an annealing oven to cool down overnight before hand finishing and drilling to attach light fittings and electric cord.

The ‘glory hole’, even hotter than the big furnace, re-heats the glass to keep it malleable


When he’s not making lampshades, Will makes hand-blown glass vases, baubles, perfume bottles, jugs, glasses and more, which can be found in around 36 galleries around the UK, bought online and from his workshop/gallery in Langport, along with a collection of art, jewellery, ceramics and paintings made by other British artists. Very good coffee and excellent homemade cakes too

Will blows glass three or four days a week (call ahead to check if you want to see him at work) and occasional glass blowing classes if you want to have a go yourself (I did, and it’s fun but nerve-wracking!).

Lampshades from £99 to £325. Other glass from £10 to £1000+


Shakspeare Glass, Great Western House, Westover, Langport, Somerset TA10 9RB. Tel 01458 252 477. Open Mon to Sat 10am–5pm.


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