Monthly Archives: July 2018


I am pleased to be able to write that this year I became a trustee of The Radcliffe Trust.

John Radcliffe was descibed by his obiturist in 1714 as “the most eminent physician this England has ever produced”.

The Radcliffe Trust was created as one of the very first discretionary grant-making charities, and has now achieved three hundred years of charitable benefactions and philanthropy.

Today its charitable interests are in music (traditional and contemporary), craft skills, and the field of heritage skills built environment.

Peter Collins and Hourglass

On Friday 20th July 2018, family and friends of the Peter Collins (1951 – 2018) gathered in affection and admiration.

His funeral was attended by his family, loyal workforce, architects, designers, and artists, some of whom had known him for many years.

Peter was the free-spirited founder of a unique glass processing business – Hourglass.

Entrepreneur, friend and mentor, his ingenuity and strength of character built a factory capable of glass working in many dimensions. From bespoke shop fitting, to architectural installations and art. As the decades rolled on he invested greatly his energy and his money in an extensive collection of plant and machinery, and a cohort of great people.

I remember first stepping through the door to the shop floor and being staggered by the cathedral of industry in front of me.

In 2009 I arrived at Hourglass for a short time to make an architectural commission, moving into the factory at the invitation of Peter, to work with and alongside them. I have been following my dream to make unique art work using industrial processes ever since. Here was a meeting of open minds and a shared love of a wonderful and versatile material: Glass.

My experience of the last decade has given me a life-changing view of my medium, and it is a privilege to be a designer and maker in this environment, without the constraints of tradition.

Peter’s virtuosity and creative spirit will live on in the work produced at Hourglass as well as in our many memories. He loved a challenge and had a wicked sense of humour.

He will be often missed as one sees his influence reflected in every stock sheet rack, every time the beloved crane sails across the factory in a movement akin to ballet, the jet-cutter spurts water across the room, and the CNC roars and spins.

This was his playground, his cathedral of industry.

Thank you Peter for your kindness, generosity, support and experience.

Mel Howse