Francesca Bortolaso, stained glass maker. Italy

My job is surely a passion… without passion glass does not transmit beauty, brilliance and light. Glass to me is an “alive “ material, it feels the energy and vibrations of the person who is working on it.

Imagine we don’t’ know anything about it… can you describe your profession? 

I am a glass master specialized in tiffany, Kilnfiring and torchbeading. I use mostly moretti effetre glass and us spectrum glass. Besides glass i often like to combine other matrials with it like  silver , copper and gold foil, specially when i create  jewels.  I also make  vessels, lamps, panels, tiles, knots, tables  and other interior design glass objects.

Who is you ideal client’s profile?

My “ideal” clients are private people as well as architects and interior designers.

You chose to be a craftsman. How did this decision appear to be an evidence to you? 

The decision to be a craftsman happened when i was almost  30 years old … over the years I was strongly feeling the urge to work with my hands. Even though my previous school preparation has been in the linguistic field I took then the decision to follow that dream and look for some glass classes in italy and abroad. My first course has been a tiffany stage in a milano glass studio. But I really felled in love with this material  during another stage in milano about  glass fusion, when I discovered a strong connection with melted glass, that is almost magic to me. It happened in 1991 and soon I started to work glass professionally, updating my knoledges every three or four years training myself in other stages, in switzerrland and venice. In 2006 I went to murano island to learn the “ a lume “ technique to make beads and jewels and there I spent three winters to improve my skilss.

Would you define your job a passion? What is the best moment you had in your job? 

My job is surely a passion… without passion glass does not transmit beauty, brilliance and light. Glass to me is an “alive “ material, it feels the energy and vibrations of the person who is working on it. My best moments are when I feel concentrated on my manual work and a peace of mind enters in me and so…I go with the glass flow…time passes and suspends… also the magic of opening the kiln after firing to look at the results of the previous meticolous preparation. Glass isn’t an easy material to work and deal with, it has to be worked with serious technical knowledges and skilss.

What role do “talent”, “know-how” and “creativity” play in your profession?

These three qualities are essentials to my professionality, no one of the three can be left behind…they go together.

And what about innovation, what are the changes since you started? Do you use new materials, tools, processes, marketing. What’s the impact of innovation on your performances? How could your profession be more innovative?

Glass tools and materials have not changed that much over the years except for firing kilns that are better insulated and easier to work with.  when I started fusing I was one of the few other people in italy doing that, like my glass kilnfusion teacher in milano, a  kind of pioneers, finding technical information only in us experimental publications. Nowadays, especially for the firing schedules, it is much easier to find information also in the internet. My profession could be more innovative with the many new resources available now in the artistic glass field specially in the european glass studios and the united states glass schools and university glass departements. Social media could help a lot in marketing and advising, helping to have a greater impact and a wider clientele.

Where and how long did you train before you were ready for creating your business? Imagine that you want to invite young generations to choose your profession, what would be your message to them? 

To young people I would suggest to learn the technical basis very well as well as a good artistic and designing preparation. Also learning how to build a strong modern professional faundation for their business, attending marketing and business classes.

In conclusion, describe a meaningful experience or a personal reflection that you would like to share with us and explain why.

I would like to share my recent new project totally dedicated to arts and crafts called “manufatto”. A place  born to give voice, space and visibility not only to my work but also to other craftspeople of italy and europe. Manufatto is located in the very ancient center of verona in a particular fine building restauration. manufatto aims to catalize creative people that can intereact and give life to new ideas and sinergies and promote authentic quality arts and crafts. 


To know more about this craftsman, see her profile

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