All of our blanks are mouth-blown by Sculptured Crystal Limited. Located in the city of Waterford, Sculptured Crystal Ltd. was founded by ex-Waterford Crystal blowing foreman and consultant Joe Williams. The methods used by Joe haven't differed from the old 19th Century ways.
1. First Gerry expresses his desired requirements to Mr. Joe Williams at the Sculptured Crystal blowing plant. The stage is now set for the new piece to go into production.
2. Using only full-lead batch (33%), the apprentice blower dips his hollow iron into the furnace and gathers an amount of molten crystal. He then skilfully blows the gather into a ball.
3. By blowing through the iron the ball expands to the requires shape. All the time the blower must keep turning the iron rapidly to ensure a symmetric shape is formed. Because the crystal is full-lead, it is extremely fluid and floppy. Some crystal companies use a low-lead mix, this makes it easier to work with and form the required shape. Working with full-lead crystal requires a much higher level of skill and training.
4. The iron is then passed to the master-blower, who then shapes the still molten crystal using wooden tools and shapers, all the time turning the iron rapidly. At this early stage of the birth of a new piece of Kinsale Crystal, Gerry likes to be on-site to oversee the blowing to ensure that there are no problems with the initial design. The finished piece is then knocked off the iron and placed in an annealing oven overnight to cool down slowly.
5. One last check by Gerry and Joe.