My name is Gillian Preston, and I want to introduce the Handmade Arcade audience to Broken Plates, a line of contemporary glass jewelry that combines traditional blown glass techniques with modern CNC technologies.
We make our hand-blown glass plates out of the Pittsburgh Glass Center and turn them into jewelry in our studio, located in Mckee’s Rocks, PA. We do so with the help of 3D rendering software to design our jewelry, a laser cutter for prototyping, a CNC-driven waterjet to cut out our designs, and 3D printed steel molds to aid in the manufacturing of our Hot Cast wearables.
I started Broken Plates in 2013 working out of my basement after an undeniable reaction to some one-off pieces of jewelry I had created for a curated art show. I was finding that when I wore things that I had made, people were engaging with me about my work. The demand for the kinds of things I was making became a driving force in establishing my business and slowly moving to become a full-time artist.
As an artist with a BFA in glass, I strive to work outside of the expectations and boundaries of glass as a material to best capture and play with form and light. Creating wearables out of this unexpected, or non-traditional material means that I am always innovating and finding new ways to push myself and my medium.
Eight years later, Broken Plates is filling the shelves of some of the most reputable museum shops in the US, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Art and Design, Fallingwater, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.