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By Kelly Youngblood
Two twin brothers are turning trash into cash with their glassblowing hobby.
Pete and Paul Wanserski, who are identical twin brothers, repurpose old liquor bottles into attractive and eco-friendly glasses, pitchers, and even lights.
The two are hoping their hobby will turn into a full-time business one day.
Pete, who lives in Farmer City, said he and his brother began making the unique products about 10 years ago.
Paul said the idea came one day after talking about what a Grey Goose Vodka bottle would look like if they cut it and made it into a glass. Ten years later, the brothers have sold over a thousand recycled glass items.
Pete and his brother, Paul, who lives in White Heath, learned the glassblowing trade working at APL Engineered Materials in Urbana. Pete works as a scientific glassblower and Paul works in the manufacturing department.
When one of Pete’s glassblowing friends moved out of the country and gave him all of his equipment, Pete and Paul were able to do glassblowing at home in Pete’s garage.
They still consider their work a hobby, but would like to see Tavernglass grow into a storefront business in the future.
“We like the way it’s going now but would like to turn it into a business,” Paul said.
Pete says they’ve sold over 300 items on Ebay over the last few years to people in almost all 50 states.
The brothers, who say as twins “you don’t have a choice but to be best friends”, are used to working together.
“We’ve worked together our whole lives. It started with our paper routes when we were kids,” Paul said.”
They are also really excited to be able to transform materials that would otherwise be trash into something functional, unique and beautiful.
“Repurposing the bottles and making them into something useful is kind of what keeps us doing it,” Pete said. “That’s what I love about it the most. It’s more about the sustainability and keeping stuff out of the trash.”
The glasses and other items are not just for alcohol enthusiasts either they say. Many who buy their pieces like the idea of sustainability and also just admire the unique craftsmanship.
“We hear the word ‘clever’ a lot,” Paul said, describing why people want to purchase the glasses.
The brothers say their glasses are also different because they are fire-polished rather than just sanded down.
They get their bottles from neighbors, friends, and a few area bars.
For now, the two just sell their products on Ebay at www.Tavernglass.com and at a couple of festivals a year including the Apple ‘n Pork Festival in Clinton.
Some of their glasses are also currently for sale at Three Toad Treasures Funky Junk Shop in Mansfield.
Prices range from $5 for a shot glass to $59 for a light. They say they always give 10 percent of their proceeds to a local charity.
In addition, they encourage anyone holding a fundraising benefit in the area to contact them for items to donate.
Special orders can be requested by emailing them at Info@Tavernglass.com or contacting them on their Facebook page.