WORDSLEY'S Red House Glass Cone is set to launch the new Crystal Mile Contemporary Gallery and hot shop to the public on Friday (August 26), to coincide with this year's International Festival of Glass.

The studio is the project of glassmakers Elliot Walker, winner of series two of the Netflix show Blown Away, and Bethany Wood.

The pair first moved into the studio in November last year before being offered a two-month artist’s residency in America which took in the Corning Museum of Glass, the Pittsburgh Glass Centre and the Glass Artist Society Conference.

They worked with American glass blowers in teams of up to seven, allowing them to challenge themselves and try new techniques.

Since their return the pair have been busy setting up the new Gallery and Hot Glass Studio which they hope will encourage and inspire a new generation to take up the art of glassblowing.

Elliot, originally from the Black Country, moved to London after qualifying at Wolverhampton University and was the winner of the second series of Netflix's Blown Away.

Since the win Bethany and Elliot have been desperate to set up their own gallery and hot shop and agreed Stourbridge was the place to do it.

The hot glass studio will allow them to continue to make their own pieces while the exhibition space will allow them to showcase and sell their own work and studio glass by makers from the cone and across the globe.

Both Bethany and Elliot are experienced glass makers and have in the past made pieces for cruise liners, film sets and glass collectors.

Over the festival weekend the new studio will be offering live glass blowing demonstrations and the chance to book glass making courses.

Elliott will be joined in his demonstrations by series 3 winner of Blown Away, John Moran, on Friday August 26.

On Saturday August 27 there'll be chance to watch hot glass demonstrations from Blowfish glass artists Bethany Wood, Katherine Huskie, Tim Rawlinson, Layne Rowe and Madeleine Hughes throughout the day.

Glassmaker Bethany Wood said: “We've both been itching to set up our own hot glass studio and it's been really important to us that we provide this exhibition space not only for our own work but for other the talented glass makers.

"Our launch exhibition will see work by 14 different glass artists on display and available for purchase.

"The Red House Glass Cone feels like the perfect place for us to set up our joint venture.

"We absolutely loved our time in the states working with larger groups of glass makers, but we're truly at home in a more intimate setting which allows us to work together, focusing on our own projects and showing people the art of glassmaking."

Councillor Simon Phipps, Dudley Council's cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: "It’s wonderful to welcome Bethany and Elliot to the cone and to see them launch their new studio and high-end exhibition space.

"It’s great to see a new business setting up in the borough, and providing space for a wide range of glass artists to exhibit and sell their own work. I wish them all the best for their grand opening."

For more information about the schedule of events for the Festival see ifg.org.uk/exhibitions.

In addition to the new gallery opening, the cone will be holding a number of glass fusing and craft workshops, including the chance to make a fused glass cherry blossom tea light holder on Friday August 26.

There will also be free family trails around the site and staff at the cone will be providing hard hat tours of the cone over the four-day weekend.

The historic cone is currently closed to visitors while awaiting refurbishment works, but it will be specially opened up to limited groups for safe and informative tours.

On Saturday August 27 there will be a pop-up exhibition of glass makers represented in art, featuring pieces from the council's own collection as well as the unveiling of two new paintings by local artist Keith Turley of glassmakers at work.

Keith will be in the education room on Saturday to talk about the inspiration behind his portraits of glass artists in the hot glass studio.

There will also be a talk about local art.

The site will be open from 11am to 5pm with the exhibition running from until 4pm.

On Sunday August 28 there will be family crafts including the chance to make a lotus flower and papyrus art. A small charge applies for both activities and sessions run 11am to 3pm.

There will also be a talk by Dr Elena Feldman about her research and future book about the history of Stuart Crystal. Sessions will run at 1pm and 3pm, with additional talks about the area’s glassmaking heritage by Dr Kate Round.

The visitor centre itself will be open from 11am to 5pm.

On Monday August 29 the centre is open from 10am to 4pm, with the lotus and papyrus craft sessions continuing. People will also be able to find out about volunteering for the cone and wider museum service.

Throughout the four days there's also the chance to look aboard Sagitta - an historic working boat, which will be moored at the canalside.

Stourbridge News: Artist Layne Rowe with his piece SolaceArtist Layne Rowe with his piece Solace

The site is also the temporary home to large glass angel wings sculpture Solace made by renowned glass artist Layne Rowe, which been on display in local cathedrals, Chelsea Flower Show and was recently featured on BBC news.