One of the most experienced and talented artists currently working in stained glass, Diego Tolomelli (who usually works under the name Iko) grew up in Pavia in northern Italy. His initial choice of work was as a surveyor, but having successfully completed his studies he realised he wanted to pursue a more artistic career.
He took a course in stained glass specialising in the techniques used by Tiffany, and began to produce panels and objects using this technique. In 1998 he moved to London, where he worked from a stand in Portobello Market selling his own glass products while he learned English.
In 2000 he was hired by John Hardman Studios, a stained glass studio founded in 1838, where he began his apprenticeship by learning all the techniques involved in making and restoring stained glass. He gradually specialised in the restoration and conservation of medieval glass, and in 2002 restored an important collection of medieval stained glass, with an exhibition in London and publication of Images in Light: Stained Glass 1200–1550.
Ae prestigious commission followed for the British government of eight stained glass windows for the Houses of Parliament commemorating the millennium, representing the history of the last thousand years of the United Kingdom. Then in 2005 he was involved in an important study by Norgrove Studios for the restoration and conservation of churches in Wales and central England, where he learned how to make stained glass from basic minerals and install them with the original techniques of the time.
After seven years in Britain he moved back to Italy, and worked in Rome at the Vetrate D’arte Giuliani studio. Then in 2008 he founded his own IKO studio to concentrate on original commissioned works. His first commission was to create three stained glass windows for a private home in Arizona, then in 2010 he created two stained glass windows commissioned by the church of San Girolamo al Corviale in Rome.
The Iko Studio has since grown and expanded, and now has a shop in Bolsena, north of Rome, and runs courses in stained glass techniques. You can read more about Iko’s activities on their website, which you will find here.
We would like to thank our Russian friend Yuri for suggesting the inclusion of this artist.