Gemma Curtis, Stained Glass Conservator, Holy Well Studios
Gemma graduated in 2011 and has been working at Holy Well glass in Somerset for four and a half years.
She was awarded the George and Evelyn Gee craftsmanship prize in 2016.
"Swansea changed my life in a way I didn't know was possible. I love my job and every day I wake up, that makes me happy. The course gave me the building blocks needed to take the next step in my career, from initial glazing skills to traditional style of painting. Every aspect of my job has been informed by Swansea in one way or another, from the history of stained glass to the designing and making of new commissions."
Bianca Divito was born in Ireland and studied in the Glass Department of Swansea Institute’s Welsh School of Architectural Glass (now Swansea College of Art).
After she completed her BA Honours degree in Architectural Glass she was awarded the prestigious Award of Excellence from the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass in London which afforded her the opportunity to train in a host of leading glass studios across the U.K and Germany.
She established her practice in a studio in Ireland in 2006 and has since been working on a variety of commissions to design and install original glass art in private homes and public spaces, as well as conservation of priceless church stained glass. Recognising her innovation in glass art and for the creation of bespoke features for gardens, the Royal Horticultural Society invited Divito to exhibit at the world-renowned Chelsea Flower Show in 2012. Her “Glass Garden” created in conjunction with Damien Keane Garden Design was awarded one of the top accolades in show.
The aesthetic of Divito’s work is contemporary, integrating crystals and semi-precious stones with her creative touchstone as much a mood as a look. Her signature style blends her highly specialised expertise as a craftsman with a fine-art experimental aesthetic.
'As I rattle around in my glass studio these days, I can't help but miss the life and soul I experienced at the glass department in Swansea for the duration of my studies. It's like no other place I've visited since, a true gem amongst stones and my only regret is not staying on longer to complete my MA when I had the chance. I would highly recommend the degree course to anyone interested in the art of stained glass'. Bianca Divito
Sarah Knighton, Stained Glass Conservator, Holy Well Glass
I work for Holy Well Glass, a leading Independent conservation studio. I started as temporary summer worker 9 years ago and am now the studio manager in charge of a small team and am in the process of applying for ICON accreditation. Holy Well works on all manner of architectural glass from a scheme of medieval stained glass in Winchester Cathedral presbytery to ornate leaded lights at Windsor Castle. The work is full of variety both in the stained glass we work on and the challenges it presents us.
Stained glass despite being a traditional craft constantly evolves and we as practitioners constantly learn and evolve along with it.
I was delighted to have been awarded first prize in the Stevens Glass Artist of the Year (2016) competition.
My time at Swansea
The Swansea course felt like home to me, the environment was comfortable and all the staff worked together like a family. Everyone was welcoming and inclusive. it was a fun lively enriching atmosphere to be a part of. Students were from all ages and walks of life, the teachers were so passionate about glass there was a free flow of ideas and sharing of information. As a mature student I had no art background but the teachers showed me how to unlock my potential.
Developing the skills for work
The glass course gave me a strong foundation of knowledge that I have built my career upon. I had not previously thought about working in stained glass conservation but have since found that I can use new techniques and materials within this traditional craft, both sides of which (modern and traditional) I was taught.
Elisabeth Voss Sinnerud
I attended the BA (Hons) Architectural Glass course in Swansea and spent three years falling in love with the designing and making of stained glass. With amazing tutors, lovely fellow students and truly inspiring materials to work with, I found myself looking forward to going to University every day.
And these days, I’m looking forward to going to work each day. I work in the stained glass workshop at Nidaros Cathedral in Norway, where we’re restoring the stained glass of both our beautiful cathedral, and take on external projects from all over Norway. Restoration of stained glass means you get to work with all the different techniques of traditional stained glass, and you also get to be challenged every day.
I can honestly say that I never thought of stained glass as a profession, before I found the Architectural Glass course by a coincident. I am so glad I did, and I would recommend both the course and a profession within architectural glass wholeheartedly!
Elisabeth Voss Sinnerud, Trondheim, Norway.