Tom O’Connell, a 50-year advertising veteran, lived many years in France, Italy, and Germany. It was particularly his eight years in Italy that developed a keen interest in stained glass. This ultimately led him to take practical courses back in the States under the direction of Fabio Pizzolli, a world-renowned stained-glass artist who specializes in glass restoration. Tom then took an extended apprenticeship in Siena at the studio Vetrate Artistiche Toscane under the direction of owners Gianni and Massimo Bracciali. There he fine-tuned his skills in cutting, painting, and assembling stained glass panels, which had been commissioned for the Villanova University in Philadelphia.
Passionate about his glass work, Tom works to create relatively small objects, sometimes whimsical and abstract, but mostly practical, to help bring the beauty and fun of glass to people’s homes. He has had several commissions and is currently focused on building a collection of “funny birds,” candle holders, small bowels and dishes in many shapes and sizes.
Much of his work is inspired by nature and natural color often with a nautical theme.
His work started out with leaded pieces and foiled objects, but the main direction of his work now is working with kiln fired glass. He enjoys the latter most as it brings the beauty of glass to its full potential – and the firing process is a continuation of the creative process.
His business operates as Siena Stained Glass LLC, which was formed in 2019, and is his studio is located in Stonington, CT.