Kilkenny Crystal is a true craft.
In 1969 when Patrick Clancy started to layout and equip his studio his head was filled with ideas of what original items his new crystal company could produce. While he waited for his new machines to arrived he had created a large number of drawings and even produced a prototype in pottery of one of his ideas, (the Castle Vase) this item eventually became his signature piece. Patrick saw that many areas of design had never been explored. He looked at the area of Celtic Designs, and Irish Castles, Floral designs, all areas that no other crystal producer in Ireland had looked at. At this time design in the Irish crystal industry was limited to Miroslav Havel the Czechoslovakian designer at Waterford Glass as it was then called. Patrick was not aware that his work would one day place him in the eyes of crystal collectors as not just the first but also the most important Irish born crystal designer. He had the vision to mixed polished and unpolished cutting, no other crystal company in Ireland at that time had the imagination Patrick had.
Along side Patrick he had Hans Gross a German born master craftsman who could create anything in crystal. Patrick also did not have the luxury of being a full time designer, but he created more original work in his first year than most designers would in a lifetime. He loved the fact that his work stood out as different from the others. Patrick was still creating new works like his Lighthouse Lamps almost 40 years later. Word of Patrick’s original designs spread and even Miroslav Havel sat into his car a drove up from Waterford to meet Patrick and see his work. Both men had great respect for the others work. During the late 1980s a master cutter from Waterford visited and he was so impressed by the quality of the work and the care given to each piece along with the designs he commented that not fifty of the staff at Waterford Crystal (which then employed about 3500 staff) would understand or appreciate the quality work at Kilkenny Crystal, at that time the workers at Waterford worked in teams and were paid by the piece so the time and care given at Kilkenny Crystal was never given to pieces at Waterford.
The Castle shaped items have always been in our range and are the item most associated with Kilkenny Crystal. We pioneered this idea when creating the battlements around the top using a square profiled wheel seemed impossible as the diamond wheels used today were not in common use and using the wheels of the day meant that this item had a high rate of waste due to breakage during production.
Cutting deep into glass is a slow process, but it allows the time necessary to achieve the desired accuracy. Care is then given at the polishing stage to ensure that the definition of the cutting is retained. The finished piece therefore catches and reflects the light to the maximum degree. The use of these traditional methods ensures that the finished piece has the sharpness, definition, and accuracy associated with crystal produced before mass production methods were employed in recent years. Working from a small production base our philosophy is & always has been that there is no substitute for quality.
Kilkenny Crystal is a true craft. At our studio each piece is given care and time to create. We specialize in Deep Accurate Cutting, using cutting wheels with a very high angle to carve the pattern.