We Have a tradition of glass-making that is centuries old and a reputation that means you can go just about anywhere in the world and people have heard of Waterford Crystal.
What is less known are new generations of glassmakers, who are taking the tradition in exciting directions.
Among them is architectural glass artist Bianca Divito who designs and makes glass art from her studio in Coolgreaney, Co Wexford.
Stained glass is her forte, with a level of expertise that sees her working on the conservation of Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral’s stained glass windows and the medieval windows in England’s York Minster and Canterbury Cathedral, plus contemporary windows in Oman’s Guest Palace.
However, it is Bianca’s domestic art pieces that give the public an opportunity to own her work, from window pendants to sculptural works for outdoors.
“Art can come in many forms, but commissioning a glass art piece is something very special,” she says. “For me, it is as much about creating a mood rather than just a look, using light as a tool to cast wonderful coloured light reflections into my clients’ spaces, which continually lift their spirits.”
Cost considerations might be foremost in people’s minds and, while Bianca agrees it can be expensive, she says: “It really depends on what you want. When I was invited to exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London in 2012, I realised the value in creating autonomous pieces of glass art for clients. Moveable pieces of art which could easily be transported and fixed in different locations made sense. These pieces can be more affordable as you don’t have the associated costs of designing into a fixed space. It’s really important to establish a budget from the beginning so that you can offer the best service while managing expectations.”