Saturday, March 4, 2017

Love Affair with Art Glass

In 2011, Dunitz & Company introduced our fair trade fused glass jewelry collection, named Joanie M in honor of my mother. My mom had always dreamed of owning a "dress shop". I knew she'd be smiling down from heaven knowing beautiful jewelry hanging from cards with her name would be selling in clothing boutiques and gift stores all around the country. At the time, I had no idea just how many stores that would become. It was earlier that year that I had met Rosa's son while doing some business in Antigua. He anxiously told me I had to meet his mother after learning I designed and wholesaled fair trade beaded jewelry for sale in the USA. He explained that his artistic mother had begun dabbling in glass-making and he thought she and I might collaborate successfully. And correct he was. At the time, Rosa was designing for Guatemalan women.  In Guatemala, women tend to prefer larger more complicated designs in garish color combinations.  Rosa was also using a lot of Chinese findings in her designs, findings she could easily purchase in the city.  Together we simplified styles, created new color combinations and....eliminated all those Chinese findings.  We even added macrame elements to many of our necklaces. It wasn't until after launching Dunitz & Company's fused glass jewelry that I realized America has had a long standing love affair with glass.  Stores "jumped" on the line. Our collection was and is easy to sell. Better yet, most stores that decided to represent our line, sold through and bought again.  The collection has turned out to be a dream.
Did you know that there are many museums that specialize in art glass? We knew that many major museums have strong "art glass" collections. We've had our work in many of their gift shops.  But, now we know that there are several museums....that only showcase glass. This season both the Corning Museum of Glass and the Dorflinger Glass Museum will be selling our jewelry in their gift shops. Yes, we're thrilled. Last year we shipped the Bergstrom Mahler Museum of Glass. We'll have to figure out how we can connect with other glass museum buyers.  Is it time for a road trip? The Boston Globe lifestyle section recently wrote about what they thought were the top five in the USA. Anyone out there have connections to the buyers at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Museum of Glass Tacoma, Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art (think Louis Comfort Tiffany) or the Chihuly Gardens? It looks like we have more work cut out for us. We'd be tickled pink if these additional museum shops would sell our fused glass jewelry.  And we know with America's love affair with glass, they'd be happy they found us too. In the meantime, these museums have been added to my personal 'to-do' visit list. After all, my love affair with art glass is growing too. -ND