Teign Valley Glass has recently under gone a £140,000 renovation of their glasswork in Bovey Tracey. The transformed space now houses a bright open work area for the glass makers and a stunning display show room. The renovations have maintained the heritage of the site and glassworks whilst incorporating cutting edge technology, ensuring they can retain their leading standing in the world of glass.  

Teign Valley Glass was set up in Teignmouth in 1981 to make specialist handmade marbles for House of Marbles. As the team and business grew they moved to the bigger premises just 15 miles away, the site of the old pottery in Bovey Tracey.

To celebrate the opening of the new glassworks I was invited to try my hand at glass making by creating my very own Wave.

Teign Valley Glass and House of Marbles

Teign Valley Glass is housed within House of Marbles, Bovey Tracey on an historic site of the old Bovey Tracey Pottery. My visit started with a tour of the site.

As well a gift and toy shop, coffee shop and restaurant the site is home to wonderful displays about the history of marbles and pottery, complete with a model of the old pottery works showing which parts are still used and form part of House of Marbles site today.

In the gardens you’ll find games and a children’s play area complete with a giant floating marble, outside seating for the restaurant and more history with the 3 listed kilns which stand in the middle of the courtyard. Throughout the site there are also a number of marble runs providing hands on fun that everyone can enjoy. 

Teign Valley Glass is all made in house in the recently renovated glass studio. This now sits within a bright open space, with viewing galleries and bright white shelves displaying the wonderful glass structures, vases and glass artworks which are being made just feet away.

The combination of the glassworks and display spaces gives you the unique chance to see the care and skill that goes in to each of the amazing pieces of glassware that lines the shelves around you.

Introduction to glass making

My introduction to the world of glass making was with Richard Glass, who’s been glass making since 1999 and with Teign Valley Glass since 2005. He is lead maker on ‘Splash’ and ‘Wave’ and draws his inspiration from the local landscape and is influenced by his love of the coast.

Richard explained to me the process of making glass and the materials involved as well as the training he and his team have gone through to become the skilled craftsmen they are today.

The new equipment not only gives them cutting edge technology to work with but the new kilns have reduced the sites gas usage by 47%. The new layout provides an amazing space for visitors to watch the artists at work as well as providing a great environment for the glass makers to work within. It has also meant Teign Valley Glass is able to welcome an increasing number of visiting glass makers.

Richard then made one of his fabulous Waves so that I could understand the process I would soon be following. It was mesmerising to watch the ease at which he worked the glass, bending, cutting, moulding and reheated until the desired shape was achieved. 

Making a Wave

The first part of making a Wave was laying out your chosen colours, ready to be covered with the molten glass which comes straight out of the kiln at over 1700°C.  Colouring the Wave is done by laying your chosen pigments on the work bench, as well as the fine sand textured colouring I also had some larger pieces of crushed clear glass to choose from. As demonstrated by Richard on his Wave, when the larger pieces of clear glass are added, it looked just like foam at the top of a wave. 

For my Wave I choose a mixture of red, pink and yellow, which I mixed up a bit, before finishing with the crushed clear glass.

The glass making was a real hands on experience, I got to add the molten glass to my chosen colours and after waiting a few minutes for it to harden I moved the glass so one end was hanging over the work bench edge. This helped create the curve which will form the shape of the Wave.

This was done using a piece of heated glass and a pole which was attached to the flat molten piece I had just poured. The glass is then re-added to the kiln for heating in preparation for moulding. The glass is pulled in to place to form a circle before the heating and sculpting process is repeated until we were happy with the shape and look.

The finished shape is then removed from the pole and placed on top of a final piece of molten glass which would form the base.

This is then placed in a kiln where the temperature is gradually reduced over night until the final colours and shape is revealed. The cooling allows the glass to harden and slightly shrink in size, any dramatic temperature decrease would have caused the glass to crack.

I am really pleased with the final look of my Wave and thoroughly enjoyed being able to take part in this once in a life-time chance to make a piece of glass.

All in all it’s been great to see why Teign Valley Glass is so important to both the local area and the glass making world, keeping the traditional techniques from being lost and developing new styles, designs and techniques as their unique style develops. Hopefully they are a company who are around for many years to come as I know I will be back to enjoy watching their craftsmen sometime soon.

To find out more about visiting House of Marbles and Teign Valley Glass and to watch Richard and his team at work click here.


House of Marbles
Craft Centre
House of Marbles

House of Marbles is a unique attraction located in Bovey Tracey, the 'Gateway to the Moors'. Free entry, free parking & dogs are welcome. You will find a large gift shop with a variety of interesting goodies, fully licensed daytime restaurant, various museums and a variety of fantastic marble runs, as well as many other amusements to be found around the site. Teign Valley Glass is also based at House of Marbles, where glass-making can be observed every day of the week.



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