Master Crafter Bianca Divito, the talented and much admired tutor of the recent stained glass workshop in An Grianán, trained in Architectural Glass in Wales, winning an Award of Excellence to develop her passion at the top architectural art glass and stained glass conservation studios in Europe.
Her love of glass stems from her father as she explains, “I have always been fascinated by glass, particularly the wonderful reflections and colours it can cast with natural light. My father, a self taught glass artist, always involved us when he was working on projects at home so I suppose he passed on the love of glass to me.” She now runs her own studio, working on bespoke decorative glass for high profile clients including the Jesuit order in Milltown, St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Wexford VEC. “When I’m working on a commission my inspiration comes from the client. I always try my best to achieve something really special and personal for them. I worked for nearly 6 months on site carrying out monitored cleaning and in situ repairs to 23 of the 25 windows in the Lady Chapel of St. Patrick’s Cathedral back in 2012. It was an amazing project to have worked on and it was such a pleasure to get a chance to view and photograph all of the windows at close range- some of the details are fascinating.” Following in our rich tradition of famous Irish glass artists such as Evie Hone and Manine Jellett, Bianca is a particular admirer of the artist Harry Clarke: “I don’t think there is anyone in the world who couldn’t admire the level of skill and artistry in his work. I am trained to use the same techniques as he would have used in his work so I understand technically how he created his windows but I’m still in awe of his genius! I also greatly admire the work of contemporary U.S based artist Judith Schaechter. I had a pleasure of participating in a master class with her recently. It was one of my bucket list entries so I was delighted with myself!” Having taught courses with the ICA for over four years she has noticed a pattern emerging, “My ICA ladies will often be hesitant to begin with and sometimes a few ladies will tell me outright that they won’t be able to cut glass. Within minutes, and often to their sheer surprise, they are all successfully cutting glass and doing it very well. I have actually banned the phrase “I can’t” during the class as everyone I’ve ever taught “can”! “As beginners I urge everyone to be kind to themselves and to enjoy the creative experience. We are not seeking perfection, stained glass making is supposed to be an enjoyable and creative experience which allows you to make a number of pieces you can enjoy every day and be proud of. As long as the basic safety guidelines are followed, there should be no mishaps.” Enthusiasts and those hoping to catch one of Bianca’s classes are in luck, “I plan to run more stained glass workshops in 2016 where we’ll be making totally new glass designs. I also have another exciting workshop in the pipeline “Micro Mosasic Jewellery & Art with Bianca Divito” where we’ll be creating beautiful jewellery and art using quick drying mosaics with glass. Watch this space!”