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Crafting Beauty: The Art of Mouth Blown Glass in your home

photo credit: la soufflerie

Finding small artisan producers of everyday homewares these days is pretty difficult - mass produced alternatives are so cheap by comparison – but what is the real cost? Along with a lack of beauty or variety there’s loss of knowledge, decreasing traditional handskills and the more unpleasant problem of bad working conditions, unfair pay and environmental impact.

Mouthblown glassware has been a staple in homes for centuries - it's versatile, resilient, easy to clean, beautiful, even eco-friendly if recycled glass is used, and of course perfect for sharing... but nowadays mass production is threatening this very ancient art.

So, what to do when you specialise in modern-rustic tableware and your customers want well made, fairtrade, unique but functional glass? Hmmm …. if it’s creative passion you need, good advice in life I have found, is that Paris is a good place to start!

photo credit: la soufflerie

An artistic discovery

So, as we wandered the small streets in Odéon it was a very exciting moment for us to find La Soufflerie, Paris - a small, artisnal glass shop in the Latin Quarter. We were fortunate to find them and wow, what an uplifting and inspiring store full of colour, light + handmade craftsmanship. It’s shelves are sparklingly full of perfectly-imperfect glassware, each piece carefully made by a skilled artisan using traditional mouthblown techniques to create one-of-a-kind pieces for your home that are affordably-priced.

And no two pieces are the same... now that is a nice thought.

These days making homewares by hand is usually driven by passion, not profit, so people who create handmade things, to me, are champions of all things unique and glorious in life; things to covet, love, care for and cherish as part of your family.

Just as we need fine wine and good food in our lives, so too do we need good glassware to drink from, store, display, admire (the list of glass’s multi-purpose usefulness is endless!)

La Soufflerie is a treasure trove of such gifts; colourful, hand-blown glassware made from 100% recycled glass with all company profits going back into preserving the art of ancestral glassblowing.

Established in 2007, La Soufflerie is a non-profit, family-owned and operated business run by husband + wife; Sebastien and Valentina Nobile who first set up by taking their initial attempts at mouth blown glass to restaurants they knew well in Paris … they were well received (indeed it seemed that everyone had their own thoughts on the perfect piece of glassware for their own needs!)... and so the idea of small-batch glass pieces was born.

But they soon needed to get more advice on the delicate skills required to create the unusual shapes they wanted and more advice on how to work with this difficult of mediums – where could they find it? Valentina + Sebastien were shocked that there were only two traditional glassblowing studios left in Paris – the capital of wine loving France! They couldn’t believe that this appeared to be a dying art, as mass production threatened to swallow up a national heritage.

They immediately set about making a company that would lift this cultural technique back on its feet and worked together in their studio-workshop in Paris to design original and timeless products from 100% recycled glass.

Using recycled glass as their palette, they create unique jugs, bottles, carafes, glasses, vases, bowls + candlesticks; each one mouthblown + handmade individually, with varying idiosyncrasies of colour + shape, so by definition all are one-of-a-kind pieces.

photo credit: la soufflerie

Fast forward to 2023 and their designs are now mouth-blown by a growing team of expert glassblowing craftspeople that La Soufflerie is busy supporting along with other glass studios and mouth-blown crafts centres around the globe.

Their reasonably-priced, elegant glass designs with nods to history have taken interiors by storm and we are incredibly lucky enough to have them in store with us here at Iris Lifestyle. And boy, do they have eye-appeal – jewel-bright modern-rustic chic glassware to covet!

Only now you don’t have to worry about carrying it back all the way from Paris – just come instore or order online to choose the things your heart desires or choose the perfect intelligent gift.

photo credit: la soufflerie

We invite you to adore this artisnal, mouth-blown + handmade glassware from La Soufflerie - Paris, knowing that any purchase not only add classical vibrancy to your home but also literally breathes life back into ancestral glassblowing and helps to preserve this skill for generations to come.

La Soufflerie will be available instore and online @irislifestyle from 1st December 2023.

Nikki x

November 2023

Join Us! ... A Night in Paris

Thursday 30th November, 7-9pm

Tickets on Eventbrite - £3.50 - or follow the link on our socials

Join us for the perfect collaboration soiree to get you in an elegantly French mood for the winter festivities:

  • Thorne Wines showcasing 20+ bouteilles de vin Francais

  • Shelford Delicatessen on hand to chat about, try + enjoy artisan French fromage from small producers

  • Iris Lifestyle presenting classical + quirky artisnal glassware from La Soufflerie, Paris... handmade one-of-a-kinds and useful everyday mouthblown glass vessels. Each purchase literally breathes life back into ancestral glassblowing. This not-for-profits company are preserving these skills for future generations by investing all profits back into glass tuition workshops and studios worldwide.

Launch Night! This promises to be a unique + special evening. Bring Friends and partners - get sociable whilst getting ahead for the festive season!

what to expect:

  • La Soufflerie’s rustic-chic, Parisien, handmade glassware - jugs, vases, glasses, coffee cups, candlesticks + carafes (all mouthblown + handmade from 100% recycled glass) in elegant colours, perfect in the modern house as useful + stylish vessels or unique objet. Available with Logo giftbags or boxed presentation.

  • Curated Gift Hampers and thoughtful presents ready to go instore at Iris Lifestyle

  • Fabulous French Wines & Incredible Fromage - an free informal way to try tasters/discuss/buy/order for Christmas from Thorne Wines + Shelford Deli.

  • Special Offers & a Giveaway Raffle Competition on the night

Tickets are at a nominal fee of £3.50 as places are limited and we'd like to avoid no-shows. Price includes your place at the event but also automatic entry into our 'A Night in Paris' Raffle Competition... The Prize? A £100 wine box from Thorne Wines (applicants must be 18yrs or above) featuring some very talented wine makers. Event held instore at Shelford Deli / Iris Lifestyle.

8a Woollards Lane, Great Shelford, Cambridge CB22 5LZ

T: 01223 846129 E:

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