Studio Visit: Fanglasstic


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Fanglasstic is a small family-owned glassware business that creates fresh and affordable designs through the art of fusing and slumping. This month our photographer, Janet, ventured out to photograph what happens behind the scenes at their workshop in Paarl. The business was started by two sisters, Janette and Ronel, who had bought two kilns from a friend and promptly started making stunning decorative and functional glassware from their garage. The first market they set up a stall at was the Kirstenbosch Craft Market in Cape Town. They then went on to win the award for Best Art Stall at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival and were able to finance more kilns and to increase their production.

The business was run from their own home in Paarl, in the Western Cape, for five years until last year when they moved to a larger working space in Zandwyk Park (big enough for nine kilns!). Another change that happened last year was Janette leaving the business to pursue other passions and Ronel's husband joining his wife in running the business. Today it is Ronel and her team of assistants (Victoria, Monique, Willem (not Ronel's husband, other Willem) and Lokki) that design, paint and do all the production themselves. They are continually working towards improving their designs and are growing their range of platters, bowls, candleholders, clocks, custom windowpanes, recycled bottle art as well as specific art pieces.

Check out Fanglasstic's new website and keep an eye for their beautiful products at local markets in the Western Cape this month!

Hover over the photos to find out more and read the captions.

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What inspired you to start working with glass?

We were looking for a new opportunity for a small family business and the opportunity to work with glass just came our way at a very opportune time.

What has the start up phase been like?

We had a slow start at home with only two kilns. Our first big project was to have enough stock to be at the KKNK. Since then we have built up to 9 kilns, and are now working in a small warehouse.

Can you tell me more about how your business is family oriented?

We all share roles, but for the most part I oversee the glassmaking, my husband helps with the managerial and administration work, and our son helps with design. As well as having the family involved, we have two ladies who underwent on-the-job training in the business.

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New ideas and designs are being tested and clients’ reactions give us an indication of if we are on the right track. We have also met most of our distributors at local arts and crafts markets.

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What inspires your products?

The inspiration for new products or designs comes from various sources, but mainly from nature, trends and ideas from friends and patrons at markets and festivals. We also do specific orders for companies – such as the windmill pieces.

Do you have a favourite piece or product?

New products or designs always excite us. Everybody involved has the freedom to try out new designs. Currently we are working on custom-made backsplashes and tiles for kitchens and bathrooms – this is very exciting and a new challenge.

How has being at a market been useful to the growth of your business?

New ideas and designs are being tested and clients’ reactions give us an indication of if we are on the right track. We have also met most of our distributors at local arts and crafts markets.

What advice do you have for fellow creatives to get into the flow or find inspiration?

If you are passionate about something creative, there is a good chance that you can evolve it into a viable business. However, test the market before going too big. Remember basic sound business principles still apply.

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Which markets are your goods sold at nationwide? / Can we buy the goods on-line as well?

Currently we focus mainly on the Western Cape with the view of expanding to other regions and possibly even internationally. We only recently launched our website and are not currently ready for export on a large scale. This is however on the radar and we would like to enter into the e-commerce market that could include international business.

Here is a list of other markets that we will be participating at: ELL Restaurant Market (10 - 19 June), Wintermark NG Kerk Bellville-Vallei (21 June – 2 July), Wellington Huismark (21 – 31 July), CY Market (20 – 25 September), Festive Ideas (2 - 6 November), Sea Point Christmas Market / Cape Gift Market (22 November – 4 December), Stellenbosch Christmas Market (23 November – 3 December), Pineland Christmas Market (4 – 22 December), Kleinmond Christmas Market (10 – 24 December), Kirstenbosch Craft Market (new season starts on the last Sunday of September), Somerset West Country Craft Market (new season starts on the last Saturday of September).