She was born to Israeli parents in California, but moved back to her parents’ birthplace along with her two brothers at the age of two. Today, her parents still reside in Israel, while both brothers practice medicine in California.
Michal Glass grew up with a love for the arts, and regularly experimented with making beaded jewelry, along with photography and sketching using charcoal. Her mom encouraged her to enroll in art school, which she did and thoroughly enjoyed. Her passion at the time was photography, and she never imagined she would become a jeweler.
At age 15, Glass spent the summer in New York City at her best friend’s mother’s home, where she played around with beads and necklaces. When she left, the beaded jewelry was sold in a street fair. The success of the sale and the response from the buyers inspired her to continue making unique, fashionable pieces from a variety of raw materials including dried roses and Chinese beads.
As was mandatory in Israel, at 18 Glass enlisted and served two years in the army. She then started to travel around the world, returning home each time she needed to save some money for her next trip to an exciting destination. For a while, she lived in New Hampshire, but left because she found it too cold. She then traveled all around South East Asia, and Nepal, and then once again returned home.
Just prior to leaving Nepal, she met an Italian jewelry designer who flew to India to buy stones, and then to Nepal to have the silversmith craft them. Glass found this quite odd, and wondered why this woman did not make the jewelry herself. At that point, she decided that she would go the full nine yards, and upon her arrival in Israel, she enrolled in a four-year programme at a trade school to become a jeweler.
"I love this field – there is no limit to what you create except for your own imagination," she said.
Upon completion of her training, Michal opened her own studio and specialized in custom made jewelry and wedding bands. The majority of her clientele was in search of unique jewelry, but had no specific idea what design they wanted among engagement rings, wedding bands, and necklaces centered on special stones. It was therefore left up to her to interpret their desires and design their dreams. Greater than the financial compensation for her creations was the satisfaction she got from the looks on her clients’ faces when they saw the final product – most of them were speechless.
“My process from design to completion includes different sketches as a first stage, and sometimes several designs in copper, to get the feel of how it will look in metal,” she said. “I used to belong to a group of designers who would put up a show every year with a theme – nature, fairytales, ethnicity etc. It was a lot of fun, and I spent a couple of months designing and redesigning pieces. My favourite theme was the fairy tales. I designed a necklace for the stepmother of Cinderella – a mirror she can carry everywhere.”
Glass said jewelry making is not an easy business, and she was once told that it is 10 percent talent and 90 percent marketing. She said it is about finding the right people who will sell your merchandise, or advertising to make the public aware of your talent and the fine, unique products you create.
Most of the jeweler’s support over the years has come from her family. When she met her husband he became her biggest supporter, and constantly pushes her to always try harder. “He’s my critic and my adviser,” she said.
Two years ago, Glass and her husband decided to take a break, and do something different and exciting. They started to work on charted boats. Antigua was the first island they saw, and after sailing up and down the Caribbean chain, rather than returning to Israel, the couple decided to settle in Antigua without hesitation. “There is something about this island that inspires me – to look over the water and see every shade of blue, a virgin quality to everything – from the people to the land, a feeling that you belong. I have always been inspired from nature in my work, and the last few years in Antigua added to it tremendously," she said.
She is currently working on two different lines of jewelry. One falls under the theme nature, where jewelry will be made form a combination of shells and gold or silver, with semi -precious stones. The second line will be carvings of sea creatures, where she will be designing rings and necklaces based on magnificent animals like the manta ray or the starfish.
“It is a long process to design a line of jewelry, but it’s a process I enjoy and it brings me back to sketching and sculpturing,” she said.
She has established her studio in Antigua, and will start showing her jewelry in different galleries around the island, first one being Rhythm Of Blue Art Gallery in English Harbour and a few select hotels. She is currently working on an internet store, which is scheduled to open within the next few months.
When asked about her hopes for the future, her response was “I would love to see my brand, MG DESIGNS, become a familiar name among people as a place where they can find quality and uniqueness.”
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