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Vintage glass artisan Victoria Onorato

onoratoExtremely talented artists are born with a gift, and sometimes that gift isn’t realized until later in life. Case in point? A retiree from the City of Chicago is now a nationally recognized heirloom glass artist who is using her talents to keep her Italian heritage alive.

Victoria Onorato always knew she loved art. Her uncle, Vito Davi, was a world renowned sculptor and Onorato was always amazed with what he did with his hands.

“From my upbringing, I had something artistic influencing me,” recalls Onorato. “When I was a little girl, I was always getting into trouble for playing with my dad’s tools to make jewelry boxes or something else. I was always doing something with my hands.”

For the last seven years, Onorato has been using her hands, creating and selling beautiful pieces of art from heirloom glass. Kissed By the Sun Creations is Onorato’s God-given talent come to life.

“Each art sculpture is made with several pieces of heirloom or time-period glass and crystal,” describes Onorato. “I go around the country attending estate sales. I see things that just catch my eye: bowls, plates, vases, carnival glass, Depression-era glass. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and have an idea for a light.”

Onorato puts each piece of art together very carefully. She mixes her own glue and starts from the bottom up, layering and leveling as she goes. It takes 24 to 48 hours for the glue to cure before she adds another layer. At that pace, each piece takes about three weeks to make.

Traveling the country, Onorato sells her pieces at a variety of art shows. Pieces run anywhere from $100 to $850 and can also be found for sale on her website, www.kissedbythesuncreations.com.

Onorato says her pieces tell a story of history — a way of keeping heritage alive.

“My whole purpose is preservation of history using the glass,” she adds. “We will never see these eras again. Our ancestors have stories and they are what made this country today. This is my way of giving back. I’m bringing their lives back in a beautiful way.”

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About Lissa Druss

Lissa Druss is founder and CEO of Strategia Consulting, a government relations and business relations and crisis communication firm. She is a regular contributor on television and radio stations, offering perspective on crisis events and public affairs issues. She spent 21 years as a television journalist and is a nine-time Emmy award winner. She holds the title of Cavaliere dell’ Ordine della Stella d’Italia; serves on the boards of Milan-Chicago Sister Cities International, the Get Growing Foundation and the Italian American Human Relations Foundation, and is chairman of the Jarrett Payton Foundation. She works with the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii and the JCCIA, and is a member of the National Italian American Foundation.