Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Please Continue to my NEW SITE! It's I will no longer be updating this site. I have moved to my new site at the previously mentioned address. The new address is:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Time For Change! New Websites!

Well, I finally have made the switch to my new website. Please redirect to my new websites and the new Bella Forte Glass Studio website Everything is not completely filled out but I am consistently working to get it so. You will be able to buy glass online now. It is a completely new and much improved site with an integrated blog and all sorts of stuff. For some reason the Links above don't show until you point your cursor at it. Here's the new website addresses to where you can see them: and

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bank 2 Night Tuesday night.

In the top picture we have that super pepperoni guy and Fran giving us the congrats gesture with her ice tea. In the bottom picture, Linda is checking out the dining room!

Opening NIght July 11th, 2011

Our very first customer at Italian JIm's Restaurant in Historic Downtown Edmond. Dennis Wheeler and guest!
Also a view of the restaurant and glass blowing studio from outside on opening night.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We Are Open!

Sorry it's been so long since I have posted. I've been pulled so many directions for a long time, I haven't had the time to update my blog. The place is stunning! You should see it! Several people that have come in have said, "It's amazing! It's like it transports us to someplace else like New York, Chicago, San Fransico!" I'll try to get some current pics soon. I can't remember what I did my camera, but when I find it, I will get right on it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

More Progress Pics at the new Edmond Spot!

The first photo is the glass blowing studio. The area behind the concrete block wall is for the cold shop, fabricating shop, and that kind of stuff.

The second photo is looking down the hallway that leads to the the 4 different dining areas. The round metal wall you see is the first dining area that we are calling the "round room".

The third photo is the main entrance to the restaurant. You see more of the round room wall and also an opening that will have a door that will lead from the restaurant directly into the glass blowing studio.

The next 2 photos are taken of the large dining room. You see the circular round booths in front of the "Art Wall". We are extremely excited about the circular booths and the "Art Wall" is tremendous! Each one of the art niches in the wall will house a different genre or "type" of work that we have blown. Each niche has the appropriate amount of lights in it. Each niche has the same number of lights in the bottom as in the top.

"Ascension" Our Largest and Best Project to Date!

We just completed this install Friday night late. The ceiling height was 20' 9". It was a challenge to space all the hanging glass that high up perfectly and not hit any ceiling joists. We are extremely grateful to Shane for his help and expertise! The ladder we were using was 16' tall and barely was tall enough. It got a little spooky holding on to heavy, glass 18' up on a ladder with sweaty arms and threading 1/16" aircraft cable through small hardware and fittings. But hey, .....we're professionals. ;-)

We are so grateful to Richard and Sueellen for choosing our glass to be in their beautiful home!

We call the installation: "Ascension".

Here's a few pics

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some Random Construction Pictures

This is such a HUGE project!! The Edmond Downtown Art Festival is May 6th, 7th, & 8th. We want to be open before then. Is is possible? It is possible!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Progress on our new concept in Edmond

As many of you know by now, we are significantly upscaling our restaurant concept. We have been formerly known for 15 years as Italian Jim's Pizzeria. When we open our new place in Edmond we will be simply known as, "Italian Jim's Restaurant". We are losing the name, "Pizzeria". No, we are not getting rid of our pizza, but we are upscaling our menu and didn't want people to think all we did was pizza. We will be adding a really nice filet mignon, ribeye, salmon, and other signature chef dishes. We are "taking it up a couple of notches!" We will still be "casual" dining, but it's gonna be a really nice place! Things are getting close and it's possible and "preferred" for us to open sometime in April. May is not out of the question, but we want to make it happen in April. Also, we are excited about adding our glass blowing studio to our restaurant. To us, it's a completely natural fit. "Italian-style Art" (For centuries the glass blowing capital of the world had been Murano, Italy) and Italian food. At this point it seems there will be a few limited seats in the dinning room for folks to watch us blow glass from their table while they eat. Also, of course, people will be able to walk right into the studio before or after their meal to watch glass blowing.

We are going to have live and exciting demos of glass blowing and also host special glass events for groups of all sizes. We will be booking special "Romantic" evenings where a gentleman can bring his wife for a special Italian steak dinner (or whatever they want) and then after the exquisite meal, they will have an appointment in the studio with us to watch us create a special something "live" right in front of them and then after it anneals, pick it up and take it home. Business men can bring clients in and have the "experience" of watching something extraordinary created right in front of their clients eyes and then bring it to them later. For the next day or two the client will be highly anticipating the gift thats coming. We will have a video/photo service available eventually and will be able to document the experience on HD DVD to accompany the gift to the client, spouse, or date! Better book your Valentine's Day reservations soon!

I was talking with the owner of one of the major glass blowing supply houses in the United States the other day (I'm pretty sure he told me one time that he's the primary supplier to Mr. Chihuly) and he told me that as far as he knows, there is nothing or nobody in the United States doing what we are doing with the restaurant and art glass studio. We apparently, will be on the cutting edge in our industries!
(Make sure you "click" on the pictures to see a bigger version)
I'm gonna be posting some pictures of "before" and "during". Some will just be "during". Brace yourself, this first set of photos was taken from very close to the same spot. The photo with all the dirt on the floor was taken March 4th, 2011, the other one was taken July 15th, 2010 before we even decided on this property for sure. Then later on, I'll just be posting random shots of different areas in the restaurant/studio. This shot in particular, is taken from the front of the building, in what is now the glass blowing studio. Don't let the booths fool you, they are just hanging out there in the studio until we are ready to put them in the restaurant part. The booths are totally wonderful! Circular booths! Not U-shaped booths! CIRCULAR! Yes, that's right, I think circular is better.

Monday, February 21, 2011

3 New LARGE Redento Raffinatos!

We are thrilled with these new Redento Raffinatos!
We think Janusz would be proud of us!
The Olive and Purple one is 33 1/8" tall, 10" wide, & 6" deep!
The Red and Blue one is 31 3/4" tall, 10 1/4" wide, & 4 1/2" deep.
The Olive and Blue one is 30 7/8" tall, 9 1/4" wide, and 4 1/2" deep.
The photographs are decent, but they really don't do them justice. Much for vivid in person!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New cane vase

Here's a vase we blew yesterday afternoon from cane we pulled yesterday. It's 17 1/2" tall and about 8 1/2" wide. It's wonderfully thin and the canes on the very outside that run up and down, are raised up from the surface of the vase, all the way up and down the vase. (which is what we tried to do) In the past, it has been hard for us to do that, because when the vase is heated in the glory hole, the canes have a tendency to flatten and be smooth across the surface of the glass. This is the first time that we didn't have them fused "flat" . Plus, we pretty much kept them straight up and down. They have a tendency to want to twist a little bit. We're excited that we were able to do it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Redento in Morning Light!

This Redento Raffinato is 33 3/4" tall and about 11" wide. It's tremendous! Here it is in it's new home in Lawton as the morning sun strikes it. Notice the aurora borealis-like effect with the colors being cast on the white background. Wow!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Here's two

Last night we had a wonderful group come out to the studio for a demo. We made a Redento Raffinato while they watched. It turned out Super Good! After cold working it was 23"1/4" tall. That seems so small now. It used to be really big.

The Murinni Raffinato was blown about 2 months ago and I finally got a picture of it tonight. It stands slightly over 30" tall. The dark colored circles are a beautiful transparent purple with green cane, green color, and white cane surrounding it. I wasn't able to get it lighted properly, but I guess it will have to do.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A New Multi-Media Sculpture by McGahan Signature Glass!

Here are some photos of a new Multi-Media sculpture we just installed this evening in Edmond. The place we installed it is beautiful! The home is going to be on the "Garden Tour" this Saturday. The backyard at this home is simply stupendous! There are places in the backyard where you can stand and think you are way out in the middle of nowhere, when you are in one the nicest neighborhoods in Edmond! It's amazing! You can go to the Oklahoma Horticultural Society's website and find out about tickets for the tour! We are going to give it a whirl ourselves!

Our sculpture is steel, copper, blown glass, with low voltage lighting. It stands about 5 foot, 5 inches tall. We used copper for the "stems" and we fabricated leaves out of sheets of copper. We cut the leaves out, textured them and soldered them to the stems. We then blew the "flowers" or "buds" to go on top of the stems. To give it that beautiful "aged" look, we applied a patina to the copper and "wa-la" beautiful blue-green patina! After we got it all together and "aged", we "electrified" the sculpture with low voltage lighting. Looks almost as neat as the backyard it's in! The "buds" or "flowers" can of course be changed out to different colors for different seasons. White would look pretty cool in the winter. Red, gold, and/or orange could be attractive in the fall. Hail shouldn't be much of an issue unless all "hail" breaks lose and it's a complete "toad strangler". We blew the "buds" a little thicker than we would normally blow something and they are pretty sturdy. We are really pleased with how our first one turned out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Peek At The Big Doors To The Glass Studio in Edmond

Here is the lovely and gracious Christi Mitchell standing in front of the new big entrance to the glass studio right on the main drag in Downtown Edmond. These are some HUGE doors! We'll probably keep them open most of the time while we are blowing. Peeps can walk right on in to the studio while they are strolling in the downtown area. This place is gonna be super, super, COOL!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Big News! Huge News!

We are finally realizing more of our dream!! We've been in the pizza business now for over 14 years (This Jan will be 15 years). I blew my first piece of glass 6 years ago this early summer. Shortly after beginning to blow glass, I wanted to decorate our restaurant with the glass. I wanted to blow my own pendant lights, and put all sorts of glass in our restaurant to make it look beautiful. A little while later, we (the fam) decided "How cool would it be if we had our glass blowing studio and restaurant under the same roof. People could come in and eat great Italian food and in the same building watch us create Italian Art. (For centuries, the best blown glass on the planet came out of Murano in Italy) We have been cultivating, developing, and pursuing that quest for over 5 years now. When we came up with the idea, we had never heard of that being done anywhere! Later, we heard of a place in Vermont called Simon Pearce. To the best of our knowledge the only place that comes close to what we have wanted to do is Simon Pearce, who has a restaurant and glass studio on the same grounds. The glass that they blow however seems to be only clear and seem to be primarily functional pieces whereas ours has lots of color and much of what we do I consider to be "art glass" but we blow functional pieces as well. Having said that, it truly seems to be first class in every way! One of these days, I think we will try to make it up there to take a look at it in person. Our hats are off to Simon Pearce!

At times it looked impossible! Starting a glass studio is not easy. Neither is operating a restaurant. (A banker told me one time that the statistics show that less than 2 out of 100 "mom & pop" restaurants that start are still in business five years later!) I don't know the stats on a glass blowing studio. But the good news is, we are now moving toward realizing that dream at a pretty fast pace.

Work has already started on the deconstruction and renovation of our new place! Our new place will house both Italian Jim's and the glass studio together. Right now Italian Jim's occupies about 2400-2500 square feet. Our new place will be 6,500 square feet. We are really excited about it. We are going to be right in downtown Edmond, OK. I will be giving more specifics about the restaurant and the studio later with some photos taken during the construction.

Wait till you see the new "Oklahoma Today" magazine!!!

Actually, don't wait! The newest issue of "Oklahoma Today" magazine is being mailed out now. Some have already received theirs. They featured us twice this issue. Once as one of the top pizza places (Italian Jim's) in Oklahoma and also did a TREMENDOUS write-up with an EXTRAORDINARY photo of some of our latest stuff. I've been told you can't get it in the news stands till about the first of next month, but it could be early. I think we are mentioned on page 77 and featured on page 78? (I'll check those page numbers and make sure that's correct.)

From Oklahoma Symphony Show House in March 2010

This is an old photo. Sorry I was a little late in getting this one posted. We have moved on to some new things and never got around to gettng it posted.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

A Beautiful Installation at Warren and Karen's House in Edmond!

We are excited to get the photos taken of the beautiful installation we completed recently. Warren and Karen invited Linda and I over to their house this week for hors d'oeuvres and to view the installation we did for them. (Linda hadn't seen it yet) We had such a good time visiting with them and looking at their extensive backyard/flower garden area. The installation we did for them was in their bathroom around a skylight. They installed extensive lighting to really reveal the majesty of the glass! It is beautiful! Their backyard area is really extraordinary! Just to give you an idea about how wonderful it is, their home is gonna be on the Garden Tour this September. We left enriched by the warm hospitality and with our crew cab pickup back floor area full of starter plants! You can't beat that with a stick! Wonderful people!

2 More Large Redentos Find a Home!

We are proud to have our Redento Raffinatos in such a beautiful home with such nice folks. These Redentos are in Mr. Riley's beautiful home on Winter Creek Golf Course. The home is stunning, both inside and out. The outdoor landscaping is lush with flowers, ground cover and nice design features like a pergola. There are 2 niches are in the front entry area to where the Redentos stand poised in their majestic grace. We're honored to have our glass here.