Meet Sheryl Scipione & Jordan Fuller. They are glass artists and owners of The Glass Bar in Needham, Massachusetts. They are also mother and daughter.
A Mother’s Work: Sheryl Scipione & Jordan Fuller | Owners, The Glass Bar
I first discovered The Glass Bar when my son was invited to a birthday party that took place in the glass studio. I had never seen glass work done before and it was so intriguing to watch and really fun for my son to learn. It wasn’t long before I came back with my daughter for drop in hours and we made our first mosaic together. After that, we were hooked! We started coming in for drop in hours pretty regularly. Working with glass is so fun and relaxing, but the best part is that no two projects ever look the same. And although you might have a vision for what your final piece will look like as you’re making it, there is such a fun sense of surprise when you see it after it’s been fired in the kiln.
Over the course of my visits to the Glass Bar, I’ve had the honor to get to know Jordan and to hear her and her mother Sheryl’s incredible story about how they both battled cancer at the same time and came to love glass art as a method of therapy while they were undergoing their treatments. It is so obvious when you meet them how much they love each other and how passionate they are about their craft and their business. I am thrilled to feature The Glass Bar in my A Mother’s Work portrait series.
Tell me the story of how The Glass Bar began.
The idea for The Glass Bar has evolved greatly over the course of the past few years. In the beginning, we were called Arte Mozzafiato (Breathtaking Art, Italian): a space focused on supporting many different types of art and artists. The idea began in 2011 when my mother (Sheryl) and I were both going through treatment for cancer. Surrounding ourselves with art, beauty, and creativity was the best way for us to cope with all of the ugliness that we faced on a daily basis. Originally manifested during a bleak time in our lives, The Glass Bar has transformed into a beautiful and comforting space for not only us, but also the many different types of people who join us for classes regularly.
Briefly describe The Glass Bar: who can come, what kind of projects are there, why is it fun, etc? The Glass Bar is a fun and interactive glass studio that focuses on bringing glass art as a medium to the community. Over the past couple decade’s glass art has decreased in accessibility due to the lack of studios and the expense of classes/materials, making it very difficult for many to try this medium.
We are very passionate about keeping glass art alive and accessible, which is why we have developed a teaching technique that allows people as young as 6 to learn the techniques of glass cutting and fusing. If you come in during drop-in hours, you will have the ability to choose your project (plate, nightlight, coaster, etc) and learn how to cut and design glass. Though you do not get to take your project home that day, each participant leaves proud, knowing he/she has made a fused glass masterpiece.
We also teach stained glass sessions in 1-day introduction sessions, as well as more advanced 6-week sessions. We are constantly researching and introducing new classes: in our future we are looking into frit painting classes and lead-caming, plus many more classes offering an introductory insight to new glass art techniques.
Drop-in hours are held Sat & Sun 12-5pm, in addition to days that schools are out/released early. Specialty classes & private lessons can be scheduled throughout the week. View our calendar for a list of upcoming classes: www.theglassbarboston.com/classes
What is your favorite part about owning a business with your mother? People always tell you not to go into business with friends or family, and it has been hard. But at the end of every long night or sleepless weekend there’s my mom with me. The hardest was in the beginning as we learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses when it came to running the business. Now that we have learned how to properly and effectively deal and communicate with each other we are closer than ever, we even spent two weeks traveling through Western Europe together last year. I don’t know anyone else who could put up with me for this long and still love me unconditionally.
What do you find is the most challenging thing about running your own business?
Sheryl: The hardest part is balancing my work schedule between two businesses, (Bookkeeping & the Glass Bar) raising my kids with their crazy schedule and finding time to socialize. The bookkeeping business kept the bills paid. I could work around my kids schedule and I got to work with some great people. Having The Glass Bar is great because I get to be creative. I love working with others to teach them the skill of cutting glass and mostly, I love watching their confidence build as they create their own project. Best part of the job is hearing some shout with excitement, “I DID IT”.
Jordan: The most challenging part of running my own business is balancing a social life with work. My role at The Glass Bar is to run the business daily, making sure bottom lines are being met and advertising and marketing efforts are in order, but the truth is glass is my passion and I love being at work. I love discovering new techniques and testing my limits as well as shattering through the glasses limits. On an average Friday night, you will often find me at The Glass Bar instead of out with friends. Last Valentines day, my husband and I got a pizza and brought it to the studio to work on a project together. I will always remember that Valentines Day and have the beautiful vase to show for it.
What is your favorite type of glass project to work on or most interesting/unique piece you’ve ever made? My favorite pieces to work on are definitely personalized gifts. For Christmas this past year I had the amazing opportunity to work on a custom wedding ornament for a friend, I also made a personalized ornament of the outline of the island my in-laws are from, as well as a personalized 2018 family ornament for the family I babysit for. Personalized gifts are my favorite to make because I know that the person who is receiving the gift will really appreciate not only the gift, but the thought, passion, and time that went into making the gift perfect for them.
Tell me more about your annual event for cancer patients. The idea for our “Creativity Triumphs Cancer” events came at the beginning. We offer this class to cancer patients and their families in hopes of bringing them a bit of relief from their day to day. Cancer treatment is an ugly process and it’s different for everyone, it’s important to have something to bring you relief when you’re going through that. Glass art was ours (my mom and mine) and we want to be able to share that because too many people don’t have the opportunity to take a couple hours and escape. The event is held every year in the spring for cancer patients to come with their families and learn the basic techniques of glass fusing while enjoy light refreshments and snacks.
When you were little, was there something specific you wanted to be when you grew up?
Sheryl: Growing up I always wanted to be a lawyer. I love to help people who is being treated unfairly.
Jordan: When I was younger I wanted to be a marine biologist/underwater photographer. I studied photography diligently throughout highschool and college, but when I was in highschool I was diagnosed with cancer. In order to graduate on time, Needham Public Schools graciously allowed me exception from chemistry classes, so when I entered college as a declared Marine Biologist major I had no chemistry experience. I had to drop chemistry after 3 days of classes because it was so confusing to me without the pre-requisites. After that I declared as an education major, which, even though I didn’t persue, I believe the knowledge and experience has helped me in working with all types of different people and skill sets in glass-work.
Please tell me more about your new “Glass Pass” membership program (who is it for, what is it about) and what is the inspiration behind the Mommy “Me Time” hours.
A new program we are offering at The Glass Bar is a monthly membership called “The Glass Pass”. We have 3 time slots available, Monday and Thursdays 9-12pm and Tuesday’s 6-9pm. The membership costs $189 (1 visit per week) or $349 (2 visits per week) per month and comes with exclusive membership perks including a guided/private lesson with me , and unlimited access to materials. We also have a time slot just for kids, which is guided lessons with Tracey on Fridays 3-5pm, for $179 per month.
We started the Glass Pass membership to provide a creative outlet for people, specifically moms. Being a mother is overwhelming, whether or not it is obvious, you are taking care of so many people at once, it is important to have balance. The Glass Pass is an opportunity to take some alone time and focus on creating art. It is proven that creating art reduces stress, and a common misconception is that you have to work with an art therapist to experience that benefit.
“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
— Pablo Picasso
Is there a coupon code I can share with my newsletter subscribers?
Yes! Take $20 off your first month of Glass Pass Membership; call the store to redeem (781) 444-2909
Read more features from the A Mother’s Work series here!
Cara Soulia is a Boston Family Photographer who specializes in creating beautiful, natural images of families in a unique and artistic way. See more of Cara’s work here or get in touch to find out more about scheduling a photo session for your family.