Creating Art & Jewelry from Recycled Glass

The shelves in Diana Branscome’s studio are filled with an array of neatly arranged, empty bottles of different colors and qualities – all awaiting transformation. They come from various sources, including restaurants, friends, and people who appreciate Bombay Sapphire gin almost as much as the artist appreciates its container. There’s a workbench, tools, buckets of glass pieces lying in wait, and a gleaming stainless steel kiln in her studio, located in the Beck-Cohen building in Downtown Charlottesville. Oh, and there’s a hula-hoop, which comes in handy for working out the spinal kinks after sitting at the be14541166186_b9890d5e45_nnch for a while!

Diana Branscome came to Charlottesville from Northern Virginia to attend UVA, and like many graduates, decided to stick around. After earning her law degree, she worked as a legal analyst for nearly a decade, but found that she needed an outlet for her creative energy. Branscome started making jewelry using semi-precious stones, and became interested in working with glass 14558761871_bbd8b29010_nas a medium after a visit to The Glass Palette almost a decade ago – and was hooked. When her employer downsized and phased out her department, Branscome decided the time was right to become a full-time jewelry artist. Her jewelry displays started to include more of her glass work, and eventually the gemstones gave way to glass pieces.  

 Branscome frequently creates commissioned pieces, sometimes using a bottle with special significance — a pendant made f14560872821_1b6ec6d80f_nrom a wine bottle saved from a romantic weekend in Napa, or a centerpiece bowl made from the glass tile remnants from the custom backsplash in a gourmet kitchen.

     14558791881_e22fc751be_nThe process starts by breaking up the bottles into pieces, which is much more labor intensive than you might think. How hard can it be to break a bottle, after all? In order to work with the glass, it needs to be cut, not broken. Branscome uses a tool called a wheeled glass nipper – a hand tool that will cut glass into tiny fragments – which can then be arranged and fused together. To make her signature ‘Ice Bowls’, thousands of these glass fragments are cut by hand, laid out and fired in the kiln to form a disc, and then fired a second time on a mold that will give the finished piece its desired 14375553928_f8f7dc9ef6_nshape.  The finished pieces are beautiful, functional, and unique.

 Branscome Glass can be found at the Charlottesville City Market most Saturday mornings, and many pieces are available for sale at C’ville Arts, an artists’ cooperative on the downtown mall, where Branscome is a working member. Her work can also be found at numerous galleries in Virginia, and at various locations across the US and in Canada, and on her website: branscomeglass.com.


July 19th. Peach tasting and Pie sampling

On July 19th Market Central is sampling a few different varieties of peaches from Cason’s, Sunset View Farm, Saunders Brothers and Vintage Apples as well as peach pie from Family Ties and Pies.  Stop by our tent on 1st street for what we think/hope will be some of the best peaches/pie of the season.  Recipe ideas and general fun included. 

Woodard Properties

Letter to City Council: City Market Design Endorsement

June 7, 2014

To Charlottesville City Council:

 Market Central has reason to believe that the privately owned 1-block surface parking lot due east of today’s City Market location will soon change hands for the first time since 1964 and become available for development, enabling a long-envisioned two-block development with a public plaza that would be a permanent home for the City Market.

 For more than a decade, Market Central and many others have advocated that the optimal permanent home for the City Market is a public plaza, designed from the start to house the City Market, within a mixed-use (commercial and residential) development of the two full city blocks between Water St. and South St., on either side of South First Street. This was the top preference of the 2011 City-appointed public task force, a 2005 blue-ribbon citizens committee, two national-expert consultants (Ted Spitzer/Market Ventures, 2013; David O’Neil, 2012), the Charlottesville Market District Alliance, and the City’s 2007 Market Value design competition. The community has a long and distinct record of consensus support for this vision.

 The longstanding impediment has always been the unavailability of the private 1-block parking lot, but in just a few months that obstacle is set to be overcome. In fact, two of the four new City Market design proposals anticipate this happening – the proposals from WVS and Woodard Properties. Both proposals envision the outdoor plaza space (and perhaps some indoor space) owned or managed by the city as a permanent home for the City Market.

City ownership or control of the market’s home is absolutely critical for the long-term viability and vitality of the market. Holding the market in a privately-owned parking lot displaces parking revenue, creating an inherent user conflict that is likely to gradually erode the market’s allotment of hours, space and, ultimately, its viability. In contrast, a public plaza accommodates phased growth that can build on the success of the current City Market. For this fundamental reason, Market Central does not support the two proposals that end public control of the market’s allotted space: those from Shank & Grey and from Equitable Real Estate Partners. The City Market has been relegated to a parking lot for more than 20 years, and it deserves better than just a new parking lot.

A two-block solution would be far superior to a one-block (or partial block) solution. With a two-block solution, the central plaza would be an exciting and memorable place that is a true public asset, serving as both a home for the market and, when the market is not being held, a public square that can be used for anything from outdoor dining to festivals and other events. Such a plaza would extend the Downtown pedestrian core southward, connecting the Mall with much recent — and future — redevelopment just south of the railroad tracks.

An integrated two-block project enables construction to be done in phases minimizing disruption to the City Market. For instance, one of the two blocks could be home to the market while the other block is under construction. A two-block project allows far more space-efficient underground parking, with fewer unsightly entrances required.

At minimum, City Council should do nothing that could derail a two-block development. As explicitly envisioned in the City’s RFP, Market Central and the undersigned urge Council on June 16 to narrow the field to the two proposals from WVS and Woodard, and further investigate both projects for financial and construction viability, including securing development rights within the next 6 months to the two private lots required for a two-block development. There should also be ample opportunity to revise and refine the proposals based on public input.

This is a once-a-generation opportunity to shape the fabric of downtown Charlottesville with what could be the most important project since the creation of the Mall. Knowing the stakes, we urge City Council to be bold and visionary.


Market Central Board of Directors & Staff
Cecile Gorham, Chair
Brevy Cannon, Vice Chair
Mark Watson, Treasurer
Kathy Kildea, Programs Coordinator
Chiara Canzi, Secretary
Eric Betthauser
Lynda Fanning
Nan Janney, Program Director

Lynette Meynig, Family Ties and Pies
Kent Brown, Crossing Brook Farm
Gail Hobbs-Page, Caromont Farm
Ben Thompson, Rock Barn
William Jones, Babes in the Woods
Lindsay Swan, Cygnet Hollow Farm
Patricia Anderson, Cricket’s Baked Goods
James Lum, J.M. Stock Provisions & Supply butcher
Toan Nguyen, C’ville Coffee
Kathy and Lena Zentgraf, Greenie’s
Joe Hollick, Pair-A-Dice Farm
Laura Dollard, Broomfield Farm
Robert Wade, Capital City Candle
Dawn Story, Farmstead Ferments
Chuck Geyer, Agriberry Farm
Debbie Donley, NAMEinals
Amanda Welch, Grubby Girl
Elena Day, Elena Day Pies and Produce
Lynn Eheart, “The Lemonade Lady”

Gary Okerlund
Gail South
Dave Metcalf
Jim Hingely
Katy Wingfield
Brian Sewell
Gene Corrigan
Lena Corrigan
Megan Murphy

Woodard Properties
Market Plaza LLC

Tell City Council TODAY what kind of home the City Market deserves!

City Council has a once-a-generation opportunity to shape the fabric of downtown Charlottesville with what could be the most important project since the creation of the Mall. Knowing the stakes, we urge City Council to be bold and visionary.

June 10, 2014

Dear Friends of the Market,


On Monday, June 16, City Council will make a fateful choice among four proposals for development of a permanent downtown home for the City Market.

Market Central endorses the two proposals that envision a two-block development with a dedicated central public plaza that will serve as the permanent home of the City Market. The central plaza will be owned or controlled by the City, which means public protections and accountability for the market. The plaza will be a public square, much like the Downtown Mall, when the market is not in session.

We endorse the design plans from WVS and Woodard Properties. Example renderings and full details available here.  

If you support a two-block solution with a central public plaza to serve as home for the City Market, as detailed in this letter to City Council here,  please sign our petition TODAY, so we may convey your support at a Market Central press conference on Friday. Thank you! 


Sign Our Petition


Market Central

Cecile Gorham, Chair, Board of Directors

Brevy Cannon, Vice Chair


Media Contact
Name: Brevy Cannon
Title: Vice Chairman
Phone: 434-981-8813

Email address: brevycannon@gmail.com