Infinity Vetro Project aims to preserve the 800-year-old glassblowing tradition in Tuscany, Italy by establishing a school, gallery and cultural center in the center of Florence.
Our goal is to raise $150,000 in 50 days to launch the first phase of the project, which includes securing and building out a studio space, obtaining necessary permits, purchasing certified specialized equipment, and covering operating costs during the first three months of programming.
Tuscany and Glassblowing - A long history; a new opportunity
Italy is known throughout the world for its rich glassblowing tradition, and the Tuscan region has been a part of this tradition for nearly 800 years. Since medieval times, Florentine glass workers have passed their knowledge and skills from generation to generation at the furnaces of the many glass factories that thrived there until recent years. Today, just one out of the forty factories specializing in hand blown glass that existed in the region 60 years ago still remains.
As competition with foreign glass factories increases, more and more historically important furnaces throughout Italy, and the rest of the world, are closing. The industry of handmade glass is no longer sustainable as a business model, yet the art of glassblowing is an important part of our cultural heritage and it should be preserved for future generations.
An artistic glassblowing school would change the course of the future of glassblowing in region of Tuscany by providing a new avenue for maestros to share their skills and experience, while also making the activity relevant and accessible to the next generation and allowing them to experience it in a fun, exciting and contemporary way.
What is Infinity Vetro Project?
Infinity Vetro Project’s goal is to preserve the rich history of glass working in Tuscany by offering courses and workshops in glassblowing taught by maestros from the region, and creating an opportunity for both locals and visitors to our region to connect with the glassmaking tradition in an exciting and meaningful way. By removing the art of glassblowing from the factory setting and placing it the realm of an art studio, we hope to inspire a glass renaissance similar to the American Studio Glass Movement of 50 years ago.
Our dream is to provide a comprehensive glass experience for people from a wide range of backgrounds and experience levels. We’ll start with “experience” classes for travelers and curious locals, then, we’ll build programming for more dedicated students, providing a place for them to learn, and then practice their skills by renting studio time. A small gallery space will be dedicated to showing instructor and advanced student work, and later, we’ll add a bar/café offering regional food and drinks (with proceeds supporting school operations). Plans for children’s programming are already in development, modeled on the wildly successful Kids Design Glass program at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA. As we progress, we’ll add courses and programs for more advanced artists as well, including week-long advanced classes by internationally known artists and an artist-in-residence program.
Phase 1: Making it happen
The first phase of the Infinity Vetro Project includes securing and building out a small studio with a gallery space, obtaining necessary permits, purchasing certified specialized, environmentally sound equipment, and covering marketing and operating costs during the first three months of offering classes and workshops. Our goal is to have the school up and running by July of 2013, and that it will be self-sustaining within one year.
Phase 1 Budget:
€18,000 50kg glass furnace (where glass is prepared, melted and stored)
€7,000 annealer (large kiln where glass is gradually cooled after working)
€2000 glassworking tools, blowpipes etc.
€500 color box (small kiln where glass color is heated for use)
Space rental for 8 months during set up and first month of operations:
Retrofit and build out space, insurance, permits:
Fire safety and first aid courses:
Marketing and operating expenses for first months of operation:
How your gift helps:
We are asking for your financial support to help get Infinity Vetro Project started. With your help, we can create an amazing school where people from all over the world come together to celebrate the rich tradition of Italian glass working, immersed in the beautiful cultural heart of Tuscany.
Your support will be recognized with one of the fabulous perks outlined to the right, ranging from beautiful blown glass pieces designed to commemorate the launch of the Infinity Vetro Project, to a stay in a gorgeous Tuscan villa with food provided by trained chef and Infinity Vetro Project Director Isak Lystad.
Gifts at every level are very much appreciated, and make a real difference in making the Infinity Vetro Project a reality. Just a few tangible examples of how your contribution can help: a $25 gift covers the cost of glass color for a beginning student; a $75 gift buys a pair of glass working tweezers for the studio; $1,000 would pay for first aid and safety courses for our instructors.
Please help us keep the 800-year–old tradition of glassmaking alive and well in Florence by making a generous contribution today.
You can also help this project succeed by spreading the word:
- Use the Indiegogo Share Tools to post information about the project on your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profiles
- Post the campaign link where people will see it.
- Track your progress: if you sign up to Indiegogo your sharing activity will be recorded in your profile dashboard, there you can see if any funds have been raised as a result of your sharing efforts. (If you help raise funds as a result of you sharing this project, send Isak a screen shot of your Indiegogo share referrals and he’ll award you the $10 level perk!
The Infinity Vetro Team:
Isak Lystad, Infinity Vetro Project Founder and Director
American glass artist Isak Lystad is the founder and director of Infinity Vetro Project. Originally a trained chef, Isak began his study of glass in 2003, surrounded by a large community of talented glass artists in Seattle, Washington.
After 6 months of dedicated study, he left his job as a chef and began working as a glassblower full-time. For the next four years, he spent all of his free time blowing glass and attending demonstrations, glass studios, galleries, and museums in an effort to learn as much as he could about the material. Isak’s time in Seattle provided a solid foundation of knowledge and skills for using glass as an artistic medium, as well as endless inspiration and a sense that anything is possible.
At the end of 2007, Isak and his wife had the opportunity to invest in a property in Tuscany. Only after discovering that there was glassblowing in the region, did they decide to make the move. Initially Isak worked in a factory with some Tuscan maestros, but with economic crisis at the end of 2008, many of the glassblowing factories began to struggle and he was eventually let go. With no glassblowing prospects, Isak returned to cooking, and began building his private glass studio in his free time, which he finished in November of 2011.
Although he will always love cooking, his true passion is for glass, and sharing that passion with others. In the Infinity Vetro Project, he has found a cause worth fighting for, a place where he knows he can make a lasting difference. Getting this project started is the biggest challenge he has ever undertaken, yet, he is determined to see it through. To learn more about Isak and his background, please visit the links at the bottom of this page.
The Maestro Instructors
Simone Quaglia is a Maestro from Empoli, the 3rd generation in his family to work in the hand blown glass industry. He learned from his father beginning factory work at age 15. Quaglia has 18 years of experience.
Sergio Serra is a Maestro from Empoli with 28 years experience. Although he is the first of his family to work in the industry, he is extremely talented and creative.
Francesco Aiazzi is a Maestro from Colle d'Val d'Elsa. He learned to blow glass from his father and has 20+ years of experience.
Sergio Spanu is a Maestro Sculptor from Sardegna Italy. He learned the trade in Sardegna, and has worked in Naples, and in Colle di Val d'Elsa for the last 5 years and has 22 years experience.
Umberto Clanetti is a Maestro Sculptor from Venice. He actually learned to blow glass in Sweden, but has worked in Colle di Val d'Elsa for 30 odd years. Clanetti has 40+ years of experience. He is retired, but is willing to teach some special classes at the school.
Need to know more?
Call Isak! (39) 0587 646386 or Skype him @: InfinityVetro
Don't like the phone?
You can reach us by e-mail at InfinityVetro@gmail.com
Please Help This School Become a Reality!
Tuscany Needs You!