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Appeal launched for £25,000

Glassmaker crowdfunds to keep skills alive

Tom and Karen Somerville

A family firm has launched a £25,000 crowdfunding appeal to build a glassblowing studio and keep alive a traditional skill.

Bridge of Allan-based Angels’ Share Glass, which specialises in gifts for whisky lovers, wants to increase production and train a new generation of glassmakers to continue the firm’s legacy.

Co-founder Tom Young has been making glass by hand using traditional methods for nearly 60 years and currently works out of a home workshop where he trains an apprentice.

But the firm’s success means the unit is now too small to keep up with demand and plans have been drawn up for a fully-equipped studio at the company’s premises.

Now Mr Young and his daughter Karen Somerville hope whisky and glassmaking fans will get behind their bid and invest in the company’s future via crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. Their campaign will run for 60 days.

Ms Somerville, the managing director, says: “We’ve seen growth way beyond our expectations since we launched our first products – glass angels filled with malt whisky – three years ago and it’s been fantastic.

glass studio

“We’ve been able to take on staff, increase our turnover and create new gifts for whisky lovers.

“But we’re at a bit of a crossroads now – demand is outstripping supply and we need space to grow the business and allow my dad to train up more apprentices who can help keep glassblowing alive in the heart of Scotland.”

Mr Young, 77, is a renowned Master Glassblower who has been making glass since he was a teenager.

He began his working life as a scientific glassblower before branching out to create his own designs which were sold through Village Glass, the Bridge of Allan shop he founded in 1979.

He was already retired when his daughter came up with the idea of capturing the spirit of whisky producers’ legend, the Angels’ Share, through the creation of handmade angels.

The myth claims the portion of a whisky’s volume lost during ageing is taken by angels and Tom came out of retirement to devise a secret process to bring the legend to life by sealing that 30ml measure into unique glass angels.

He says: “It would mean a lot to our firm and staff if we can create this studio and pretty much double our current production levels.

“For me in particular it’ll help in terms of passing on my glassblowing skills to a new generation of young glassmakers and keeping the tradition alive.”

 

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