Wicklow People

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Future is crystal clear for talented glass specialist

Nestled comfortably within Kilbride Industrial Estate lies Arklow's best kept secret, Divito Studios, a wonderful haven of exquisite art work and workplace of local stained and architectural glass artist Bianca Divito.It is a little over a year since Bianca made the brave move back home to Arklow to establish her own studio but after a lot of hard work and perseverence the brig

Nestled comfortably within Kilbride Industrial Estate lies Arklow's best kept secret, Divito Studios, a wonderful haven of exquisite art work and workplace of local stained and architectural glass artist Bianca Divito.

It is a little over a year since Bianca made the brave move back home to Arklow to establish her own studio but after a lot of hard work and perseverence the bright, airy workshop is up and running and really putting her on the map.

It took about six weeks to set it up and to get it just right but it was very important to have the the way I wanted. My brother Joe made the work tables for me and we painted the walls and built shelves to hold the stock so it is condusive to the work I carry out on a day-to-day basis,' says Bianca.

Having family support was a major factor for Bianca getting the business up and running. Daughter of Joe and Iris Divito who ran the Roma Cafe on Upper Main Street for many years, Bianca says her parents and siblings contributed greatly to the project.

My family helped me loads. My father and my brother Ercole both work in the studio with me so it avoids any feelings of isolation creeping in which happens to many artists. Also the Wicklow Enterprise really offered support and guidance. Glass work is such a specialist sector that I needed help from the business side of things. It makes such a difference to have my own work space rather than working from home.'

Art evidently play a huge part within the Divito family. Bianca's cousin Nina is a widely recognised shoe designer and artist.

Opening her own studio was an ambition long held by Bianca who decided to complete an degree (BA Hons) in Architectural Glass in Swansea before taking the plunge.

It was, however, put off for another year after Bianca won an Award of Excellence' from The Worshipful Company of Glaziers' in London, a prestigious annual award which offered her the opportunity to work for 40 weeks in studios all over the UK and Germany with tuition tailored to her own needs and interest, specifically around the area of conservation and restoration which formed a large part of her degree.

Since the studio opened Bianca has had a hectic schedule which she thrives on.

Domestic commissions kept her very busy initially but now she is working on a number of large commercial pieces as well as a large scale project for the new extension at Bridgetown Vocational School in Wexford.

I really enjoy the whole process of producing a piece. From the initial stages when I see the space to the design, creation and installation stages it works as a whole package so I get a great feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment at the end.'

Bianca definitely agrees that gone are the days when the only noticeable stain glass is that of grand old churches.

Glass work is so versatile these days. That is where the architectural aspect comes in. A piece can be created to make a bold statement or as a feature but equally it can be used in a functional way. It can be decorative and imposing or more quiet and understated depending on the purpose.'

At Divito Studios, Bianca is truly in her element as she potters enthusiastically around the studio with its high ceiling, bright white walls adorned with colourful pieces of her work.'

Younger brother Ercole diligently and precisely works on a piece which has been commissioned for a private home in Dublin.

While current projects keep Bianca and Ercole busy for anything up to six or seven days a week, Bianca says she is always thinking of what she would like to do next.

There are loads of things I would like to try if I had the time. My initial worry was that there may be a shortage of work but luckily we are keeping busy. If I had the time I would love to collaborate with a metalwork artist perhaps in the area of garden features'.

Exhibiting is also on Bianca's mind.

I would really love to stage a local exhibition. At the moment I am putting together some stock works which will go on display in my new workshop.

I am hoping to transfer to a larger unit and to combine a gallery and a studio. I'm also working on a piece for an upcoming art competition.'

For Bianca opening up her own studio has also opened up a world of opportunities. It has made her dreams a reality and proved that if you believe in something it will happen. Who knows on what famous walls works to come out of Divito Studios will turn up in years to come but one thing is for sure, once seen, they won't be forgotten.

Deborah Coleman




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