The age-old craft of sheet glass blowing has been added to a 'red' list of skills feared to be threatened with imminent extinction in the UK.
Crafts that have been passed down through the generations, such as hand-blown sheet glass-making as well as glass eye making, are deemed to be in danger of being lost for ever.
More than 20 extra crafts have been added to the updated red list drawn up by researchers for the Heritage Crafts Association (HCA), taking the total to more than 130.
The HCA said the Covid crisis had exacerbated the problems faced by many craftspeople, with lockdowns and economic issues putting many of them in jeopardy.
Crafts such as mouth- blown sheet glass blowing are defined as critically endangered, meaning they have very few practitioners, small numbers of trainees and a lack of viable routes by which the skills can be passed on.
Often they serve very niche markets, and craftspeople cannot afford to step away from production to train their successors for fear those markets will disappear.
Mary Lewis, who led the research on behalf of the Heritage Crafts Association, said:
“COVID-19 has been tough on everyone, not least the craftspeople who possess our most fundamental craft skills.
“Society is rapidly changing around us, and it is more important than ever that we are aware of the cultural assets still available to us, so that we can have an informed debate about what we want to safeguard as a resource for the future.
“If we allow endangered crafts to disappear then we seriously diminish the opportunities for future generations to create their own sustainable and fulfilling livelihoods, based on these skills.”