The Upcycled Glass Project

by Ian Hankey in Newton Abbot, Devon, United Kingdom

We did it
On 7th October 2021 we successfully raised £10,910 with 81 supporters in 28 days

We are the Upcycled Glass Project, and we’re asking for your help to build a new sustainable glassblowing workshop on Brimpts Farm, Dartmoor

by Ian Hankey in Newton Abbot, Devon, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

What would we do if we are overfunded?


We would be able to build more capacity into our initial plans, with a larger capacity annealing kiln, which would increase the amount of pieces we can make each day.

We would also adapt the workshop, expanding the experiences we offer to cater for children over 10yrs old, creating a safe barrier between them and the 'hot' area, but allowing them to experience the glassmaking process, as Ian did back in 2012, at his pop up glassmaking studio at The Shops at Dartington.

About us

Hi, we are Ian Hankey, Richard Glass and Andy Bradford and we are launching a new community interest start up company called Upcycled Glass, based in South Devon. We aren't trading yet, and need your help to set up a unique small sustainable glass workshop. 


Ian is an expert in glass and new technologies, Richard is an award winning designer and expert glassmaker, and Andy runs Brimpts farm in Dartmeet, Dartmoor.

It's a really exciting project, and we need you to pledge whatever you can afford to help us. If you can't don't worry, you can still help us by sharing what we are doing to your family and friends.

Glassblowing - an endangered craft.

Earlier this year, glassblowing was added to the 'critically endangered' category of the Heritage Crafts Association, mainly because the costs of running a workshop have become simply too expensive for new start ups. Along with extremely high fuel costs, UK glassblowers now pay up to £2,500 a ton to import ‘art’ glass material from the EU - that's the raw materials that we put in the furnace to melt before we can even start making!

Wouldn't it be great if we could reduce those costs? Well, we can!

In the UK and EU, we currently recycle about 71% of container glass, but end-of-life building waste glass is almost never recycled into new glass products, and mostly ends up in landfill.


Our Vision

As there are no UK manufacturers of glass suitable for hand made art and design products, we intend to make our own, using a mix of waste glass and local sustainably sourced materials, harvested on Brimpts farm. The way we do this is through a mix of new technologies, modern farming methods and historical glass mixing processes that go back to the 17th century! 

Our unique approach will reduce costs for glassblowing studios, and emissions for melting glass, as the glass is already 'formed' as waste. We will also reduce emissions for road transport and shipping across the world, and demonstrate a way to reduce the landfill waste glass mountains, which are recognised globally as a major environmental problem.

Why we need your help

Before we can do anything, we need to build a new small workshop in an unused building on Andy's farm, with bespoke glass mixing and furnace equipment that we can use to refine and upcycle the waste glass and harvested plants. It will need a concrete floor and a water and electric supply, before we can begin to convert it into a working hot glass studio.


Why do we need to crowdfund?

As well as the concrete floor, water and electrical supply, we need you to pledge money to help pay for the materials and equipment we need to melt and work hot glass, including a furnace, kiln, torches and an assortment of worktables, racking and benches. 

We want to purchase consumables and ingredients that we will need to refine and upcycle the waste glass and locally sourced materials. We'll also need to buy health and safety equipment, face masks, safety glasses and fire extinguishers.

Once the equipment is in place, we need engineers to test, commission and certify that the workshop is safe and ready to go!

Creating new wildflower meadows

As an added bonus, when we sustainably harvest plants that are abundant on Dartmoor, a nuisance to farmers but not financially worth harvesting before now, what will automatically grow in its place will be new wildflower meadows!


We will be careful not to create ecological problems with the removal of some of the bracken on Dartmoor. We will establish a sustainable method of ensuring enough crop for each year. However, we believe that removing lots of bracken rather than burning it will have significant advantages.

Bracken is ideal habitat for ticks which spread many diseases in sheep, grouse and wild birds. Parts of the bracken plant are toxic – causing organ failure if eaten by farm animals. 

However, this plant was used as an additive in very early glass production.

New types of glassmaking equipment, new ways of working

Having started his career as a gas engineer at Pilkington Glass, Ian has built and maintained many furnaces over the years, ranging from larger one ton capacity models, down to small units of 25kg capacity. He developed and demonstrated a new type of furnace in 2012 which reduced fuel costs and emissions by as much as 70% compared to standard furnace designs. The furnace was tested over a 12 month period at the Shops at Dartington, on the Dartington estate in order to assess costs and conduct glass melting experiments using recycled glass.

When we add the huge savings from making our own upcycled glass, we will create a brand new business model for glassblowing studios, sustainable both ecologically and financially, that will in turn pave the way for lots of new start up businesses.

Who is this project for and who will benefit from the workshop?

  • Our local community, reducing waste glass going to landfill, and doing something wonderful with it.
  • The local community environment, with the creation of new wildflower meadows on Dartmoor.
  • Our local community, offering glassmaking experiences and workshops for beginners.
  • The local community, offering history and heritage experiences relating to a 17th century glassworks site recently discovered on Dartmoor.
  • The wider community, reducing transport and shipping emissions.
  •  The UK glass community, providing a new business model and training for glassmakers wishing to start their own low cost, sustainable workshops (Our taster sessions and workshops will be taught by master glassmakers, and our courses conceived and run by a highly qualified teacher and lecturer in Art, Design and Communication, with many years of experience teaching adults and children).
  • Glassmakers wishing to hire a small, low cost workshop to make their products.
  • Artists wishing to collaborate with expert glassmakers on funded projects.

Thank you!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about our project. We hope you will agree that this is a very exciting opportunity to do something amazing for the environment, for our community and to regenerate an endangered skill sector.

If you would like to help us build our first Upcycled Glass workshop, please donate what you can. Or, if you would like to choose a reward, take a look through the list you can choose from on the right of this page. Scroll through and see if there's something that you want that relates to what you can give. Make a pledge and help make this exciting idea a reality.



This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£10 or more

3 of 30 claimed

£10 reward - A personal thank you

A personal, you are awesome thank you card printed on plantable flower seed paper posted to you.

£15 or more

5 of 15 claimed

£15 Reward - Sponsor the tools of the trade!

Have your name permanently engraved on one of our glass gathering irons or essential glassmaking hand tools. These tools will be used daily in the Upcycled Glass studio by our highly skilled glass blowers and the team.

£20 or more

10 of 30 claimed

£20 Reward - A personal invite

A personal invitation to our upcycled glass studio official opening soiree. You will get to meet the team behind this project and enjoy a tour around the glass workshop. Date dependent on building work.

£50 or more

£50 Reward - A signed, hand made drinks tumbler

An original Upcycled Glass hand blown, hand finished drinks tumbler, delivered to you in eco-friendly packaging. At approximately 10cm tall and 8cm diameter, this beautiful and functional tumbler will be signed on the base and have the natural colour of the recycled glass produced in the Upcycled Glass studio.

£60 or more

£60 Reward - A mystery art object

Ian Hankey has many international design awards to his name. He has an idea for a simple but beautiful hot worked glass bowl, made in clear or coloured upcycled glass. At approximately 150 mm diameter, with a fern decoration, it will celebrate the launch of the Upcycled Glass Company. This design will be developed at the workshop and will be available in May 2022

£75 or more

1 of 30 claimed

£75 Reward - A signed blown bubble paperweight

£75 A Unique hand blown bubble patterned glass paperweight, delivered to you in eco-friendly packaging. Our skilled glass blowers will trap beautiful bubbles of air in a pattern inside the glass paperweight. As each one is individually made the bubble pattern will be unique to you, each paperweight will be approximately 8cm in diameter, branded and have the natural colour of the recycled glass produced in the Upcycled Glass studio.

£100 or more

2 of 12 claimed

£100 Reward - A History and Heritage experience

Enjoy a ½ day History and Heritage demonstration regarding the discovery of a 17th century glass blowing site on Dartmoor. Journey through the traditional glass making process from fern through to fuel and glass. In this 4 hour session our Master Glass blower Ian Hankey will give you an in depth insight into how glass was traditionally created and how we at UGC are utilising those traditional techniques and values. Up to 6 people max

£150 or more

2 of 20 claimed

£150 - Reward A set of signed tumblers

A set of four Original Upcycled hand blown drinks tumblers, delivered to you in eco-friendly packaging. At approximately 15cm tall this beautiful and functional tumbler set will be branded and have the natural colour of the recycled glass produced in the Upcycled Glass studio.

£175 or more

1 of 10 claimed

£175 Reward - A unique 17th century style goblet

An exquisite handmade decorative goblet based on 17th century designs. Each goblet will be unique, but will have a blown stem and folded rim blown foot. Made using clear or transparent colours from upcycled glass, this is the type of hand made luxury item beyond what you can but in shops.

£250 or more

1 of 4 claimed

£250 or more Reward - Glassblowing experience

Participate in a half day introduction to glassblowing. During this 4 hour session you will learn the basics of how to blow glass. You will be guided through gathering molten glass from the furnace to, making your very own Upcycled Glass paperweight or small vessel, that’s yours to keep! (please note that as the glass needs overnight anneal in a kiln, taken out the following day. We can arrange postage at cost price. 2 pledged places available

£300 or more

2 of 4 claimed

£300 Reward - Sponsor our floor or utilities

Sponsor the building of our brand new Upcycled Glass Studio, by contributing to the cost of our new concrete floor, gas, water or electric installation. We will fit a plaque with your name on it, easily seen on an interior wall explaining what you have contributed towards as a special thank you.

£1,000 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£20 Reward - Sponsor our glass furnace.

Your name, business name, company logo or a name of your choosing will be clearly seen on a plaque close to the Upcycled Glass furnace. A furnace has a life of its own. You can give it a name.

£1,500 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£1500 Reward - Weekend art glass experience

Spend the first morning on a sketching tour of Andy’s farm, set in the heart of the Dartmoor National Park in Devon. In the afternoon, we will demonstrate glass processes and principles and discuss possibilities and ideas. The following day will be a collaboration between you and a master glassmaker with years of experience. Please note that scale will be relatively small, but multiple pieces can be made. Overnight accommodation included

£60 or more

7 of 7 claimed

£60 Reward - A mystery art object

Ian Hankey has many international design awards to his name. He has an idea for a simple but beautiful hot worked glass bowl, made in clear or coloured upcycled glass. At approximately 150 cm diameter, with a fern decoration, it will celebrate the launch of the Upcycled Glass Company. This design will be developed at the workshop and will be available in May 2022

£500 or more

2 of 2 claimed

£500 Reward Sponsor our kiln

Sponsor our Kiln. Your name, business name, company logo or a name of your choosing will be clearly displayed either on the Upcycled Glass kiln, or in plain view next to it.

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