Diego Tolomelli – Stained Glass Artist Biography
STAINED GLASS ARTIST, Diego Tolomelli was born in Pavia in 1974. He successfully completed his studies as a surveyor, but soon realised that he wanted to follow a more artistic path. He became interested in glass art and attended a short course that taught him the Tiffany technique for stained glass. He began producing panels and small objects, perfecting his technique. In 1998 he moved to London and while he studied English, he began creating and selling his works from a stall in Portobello Market.
From this modest beginning, in 2000 Diego was hired by John Hardman Studios, a historic stained glass studio established in 1838. Here he began his apprenticeship, learning the full range of stained glass art techniques.
One of the first large commission he worked on was the creation of a copy of the windows from the apse in Farm Street Church, London, for a private collector in Japan. This project lasted for four months and Diego took a lead role seeing the project through from design to completion.
Over time, Diego began specialising in the restoration and conservation of medieval stained glass. In 2002 he restored a large and important collection of medieval stained glass for Sam Fogg with windows dating from 1200 to 1500. These pieces were exhibited in London and the catalogue “Images in Light: Stained Glass 1200-1550” was published to accompany the exhibition.
“My favourite commission during that time was for the English Houses of Parliament: eight new windows to commemorate the millennium. It involved highly complicated cuts and especially fine leading to achieve the naive design that depicted important moments in the last thousand years of the United Kingdom’s political history. I learned so much and grew as stained glass artist.”
In 2005, he was hired by Norgrove Studios for a major project to restore and preserve the stained glass windows in several churches in England and Wales. This furnished him with important on-site experience, removing glass from ancient structures and installing the windows he had carefully restored. As with all his work, this involved following traditional time-tested techniques.
After seven years of living and working in the United Kingdom, Diego returned to Italy where he began to work for the historically important Studio D’Giuliani. Again, Diego worked on important commissions such as stained glass window depicting the coat of arms for the papal Lateran at the University in Rome, and it was also around this time he took a lead role in creating and coordinating the installation of some new stained glass windows for the cathedral in Abuja in Nigeria, travelling to the site to coordinate and support their installation.
He founded IKO Studio in 2008, and as well as local commissions, he began taking commission from around the world. In 2010 he worked on a commission for a private collector’s home in Arizona, USA, again travelling to support their installation. In Rome he made a number of stained glass windows commissioned by the church of San Girolamo in Rome, these were Corviale opal glass and represented the Lorraine crosses above the tree of life. He also completed numerous smaller commissions and lights and lamps.
We recently worked for the Vatican at the Pontifical Chapel in St. John Lateran in Rome, where we restored and modified a window made few years ago when I was working at the Roman studio Vetrate D’Arte Giuliani.
In 2017 we made a three light stained glass in Venice, created with Venetian mouth blown spoon roundels commissioned in a Murano furnace. This window beautifies the historic Nani Mocenigo building of Venice, built in the 15th century, it was once owned by the Doge Agostino Barbarigo and now hosts one of the most prestigious hotels in the city, the hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace.
In 20118 I was invited to the international expo, Via Pulchritudinis about religious interrior design held at the New Trade Fair of Rome. My speech for Via Pulchritudinis covered the theme of technique and the message behind stained glass.
In 2018, we created five new painted stained glass windows for the Benedictine monks of Norcia. After 2016 Norcia was devasteted by a earthquae, the monastery complex was completely destroyed and the church is still unusable. These five stained glass windows embellish a wonderful chapel mede out od wood to substitute the church dameged during the earthquake.
IKO Studio’s stained glass windows are unique. They begin from original sketches and are transformed in to wonderful works of art using the finest quality glass, and Diego’s expertise. He is highly skilled at painting and expertly applies special glass paints, enamels and stains, these are then fired in a specialised kiln at 650 ° C.
In 2011, Diego moved IKO Studio to Bolsena, near Orvieto, where he continues to work on prestigious commissions as well as offering intensive residential courses where he passes on his skills to people from all over the world.
IKO’s mission is to create true works of art for private collectors, homes and public and religious buildings.