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Jess Panza

American Made Since 2000
2014 Style Finalist

Jess Panza

Los Angeles, California
Heirloom quality handcrafted glass goods lovingly made for over 15 years, in hundreds of colors. Create your own beautiful combinations.
Style, Accessories
Finalist

Tell us about your business.

It is original. we don’t know any other company that is making what we make the way we make it. our work stands alone. We are not conforming to an existing technique. We approach the glass as if we were in a kitchen baking and creating things from scratch, in small batches. As a matter of fact we use lots of tools that you can find in your own kitchen. We just prep these tools to be able to withstand temperatures up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. We love Bridge Kitchenware! The raw glass has been lovingly handcrafted in Osaka, Japan by the Satake family for over 50 years. Superior to any other glass in quality and color. We use an Italian method called ‘Lampworking’ to make the jewelry. All jewelry can be custom colored using any of the 120+ Japanese glass color options. We melt the glass by hand over an open flame and apply it directly to the metal. A simple approach to a classic material and production that is kept small so as not to lose the homemade quality of each piece.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

Ship-shape and Bristol fashion! A bit like a room on a ship, we handcraft all of our goods in our 350 square foot studio in downtown Los Angeles. A foundation of three large steel work tables allow us to design, prep, melt, solder, clean and pack all of our pieces in-house. Since the space is small it is necessary to keep it clean and tidy between tasks. It also allows us to reach anything from most points in the room within two steps or less which is very helpful when trying to talk on the phone, answer emails, monitor kiln temperatures, check inventory and order supplies all at once. Also like a ship we have a tiny view to the outside world through an old, wavy glass window.

What inspires you?

From a very young age I knew I wanted to make things. I grew up in a very large Italian family where I was lucky enough to watch many generations of women work with their hands to make amazing food, wine and home goods that served their families but also gave them a meaningful way to express themselves. After all, what is the purpose of creating beautiful things, if not to share them with others? That is what is on my mind as I walk into the workshop every morning and approach a new days work, a new client, or new piece. Our goal is to make sure that we are creating beautiful things to share.

What makes your business stand out?

It is truly original. We don’t know any other company that is making what we make the way we make it. Our work stands alone. We are not conforming to an existing technique. We approach the glass as if we were in a kitchen baking and creating things from scratch, in small batches. As a matter of fact we use lots of tools that you can find in your own kitchen. We just prep these tools to be able to withstand temperatures up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. We love Bridge Kitchenware!

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

Stick with it for as long as it takes. Pursue what you love. Don't look back, success will surely follow.

What does American Made mean to you?

This has been a labor of love for over 15 years. Success stories for businesses whose products were handcrafted in small batches were few and far between back in the late nineties when I started my business. The consciousness of "handcrafted" and "local" and "sustainable" was not de rigueur back then. But there were signs if you looked carefully and considered the consequences of mass produced goods. I was so lucky to be living in Brooklyn, NY when I launched my business. The public access glass studio Urban Glass was a mecca for me. It didn't happen overnight, obviously. For many years I have worked in other fields, at other jobs, so that I could invest in my true passion, working with glass. At the time I wished for overnight success, don't we all? But now I am glad for the time it took to make it to where I am as a Maker. All of those experiences over time have added to my wellspring of knowledge and understanding and are part and parcel of the work that I produce.
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Mark Your Calendar

  • NOMINATIONS END
    Aug. 31, 2015

    Final day for entering the Audience Choice Award competition.

  • VOTING ENDS
    Oct. 19, 2015

    Final day to cast your vote for your favorite makers.

  • WINNERS ANNOUNCED
    Oct. 23, 2015

    2015 Editors' Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

    See past Award Winners
  • AMERICAN MADE SUMMIT
    Nov. 7, 2015

    Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City. Tickets are available now.

    Discover the American Made Summit

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