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A talk with … Bianca Divito

Lead artist at Divito Studios, Bianca Divito is an award-winning stained-glass designer and conservator, hailing from Co Wicklow. Having worked on the conservation of priceless stained glass windows throughout Europe, her deep understanding of her craft led her to experiment with outdoor installations, as well as innovative techniques and materials — including airbrushing, Swarovski crystals and gold leaf — in commissions for public art and private homes. She regularly exhibits at art shows across Ireland and the UK and Divito Studios produces a range of hanging pieces for retail and corporate gifting. While conservation honed her skill and understanding of stained glass, she now concentrates on public art and private commissions, which allow her creativity to flourish. 

Bianca Divito in the studio

What’s the biggest perk of being in your profession?

Having the ability to truly transform environments with architectural stained glass. I’m working with an art form that is essentially more three-dimensional rather than  two-dimensional and which plays a huge role controlling light and influencing the atmosphere of interiors. I’m solely involved with every step of the commissioning process, from design to installation, so I’m able to maintain control and ensure that my clients are getting exactly what we had envisioned for the space.

Bespoke hand-painted, airbrushed glass feature window (for private client)

How has your practice changed over time?

With experience comes wisdom and I’m quite selective about my work these days. I only get involved with projects I feel are worthwhile, artistically and financially. When I set up my studio 12 years ago, I spent an awful lot of time worrying about where the next job would come from. I tried to fulfil every opportunity, sometimes losing sight of the type of work which actually made me happy. In recent years, I’ve also been collaborating with my husband Damien Keane — a landscape garden designer.

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This has been both exciting and challenging and it has opened up new opportunities for me to create glass art for outdoor environs.

Outdoor garden glass installation

How important are titles in your work?

Not at all important.  Different people see different things and I love it when people draw their own conclusions.  I have tried to title pieces before but it has felt contrived for me to do this, so I usually steer clear. 

Teardrop, glass, full lead crystals, Tiffany copper foiling technique
Layla-Boo Flower, glass, full lead crystals, Tiffany copper foiling technique

What are you currently working on?

Since the birth of my second daughter Lila and since I’ve been back in the studio, I have experienced an explosion of creativity. I’m literally bursting with ideas and I’m currently developing new ranges of garden art glass, modern lighting features and memorial art for installation into headstones. I’m also really excited to be thrashing-out ideas for a collaborative piece with my cousin Anna Divito, a New York-based illustrator in the children’s publishing market (annadivito.com).

My current commissions on the bench include the design and fabrication of a glass entrance for a period home in the Wicklow hills, a free-standing art glass feature for a South Dublin garden, two glass memorial inserts for headstones in Limerick and Wicklow, and two fish-themed, hand-painted and etched memorial panels, destined for the US.

Cascade, outdoor garden feature

What’s good about living in Ireland?

The people. I just love it here. It’s a cliché, but there’s always craic to be had.  As a nation, we have an extraordinary ability to converse, to chit-chat about the ordinary.  After living in many different places during my education and travels, I can safely say that there is no place I’d rather live, raise a family and practice my art than in Ireland right now.  

The Love Swans, window insert

What motivates you?

I’m a proud people-pleaser; I love how happy my commissioned works make people feel. It’s egotistical alright, but that’s what drives me. This is especially so for the memorial glass art pieces I’m creating for clients right now. I find the whole process of working closely with bereaved clients really rewarding and I’m honoured to do so. Creating these bespoke glass features offers so much comfort to relatives and it leaves a lasting legacy for generations to come too.  

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