Saturday June 27, 2020 | by Farah Rose Smith

From mosaics to masks, Brooklyn designer Allison Eden shifts gears during pandemic from glass to fabric

Brooklyn-based glass architectural and interior designer Allison Eden, who has been designing handmade glass and tile mosaics in New York City, has started a new artistic venture: fashionable mask-making. Graduating in 1995 with a degree in fashion from FIT, Eden originally parlayed her clothing design skills to elaborately patterned glass tile mosaics, which have attracted a celebrity clientele. With the downturn in the home design business during the pandemic, Eden has refocused her design studio on a fashion-forward mask line, which started as her personal effort to stay safe at a museum opening as the pandemic started to arrive in NYC in March 2020.

"I was going to the opening of the Studio 54 exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum," explained Eden in a telephone conversation with the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet. "It was the night before the shutdown. My husband said there was no way we were going to this party, so I said I'll make a couple masks and everything will be fine. I made disco masks for both of us, and the photos of the masks from the party went viral." The couple's photos even made it into the New York Post, where it was shared widely on Instagram and Facebook.

Eden's Bushwick studio was fully shut down in March, along with the rest of the city. "We have 15 artists, make mosaics all day long. I had to reinvent myself and pay my employees. It was really necessity. I took my patterns and digitally printed them." The first day that Eden posted her new facemask designs on Instagram they received almost 400 orders. "I never knew that was going to be an essential business that could bring me back to work."

Isolated in her apartment during quarantine, she enlisted her family to help package and ship the masks. Eden added that she is organizing a charity auction to benefit the recuperation of New York City amid the pandemic crisis. She is asking artists to donate a single piece, the profits of which will be given to the artist's charity of choice. "We need to keep the culture and diversity alive. I love that there is diversity in this city. Somehow its being destroyed and divided, and we need to bring it back. I feel like being an artist, this was our town, it was taken over by money. This city has given me a career, a beautiful life, and I love it here."

Eden is also preparing her glass mosaic studio for reopening. "At the moment we are preparing, sweeping, cleaning, planning projects. I’m ready to hire people. My clients have been so supportive, during the darkest part of this. I hope to come back stronger than ever." 

Allison Eden Studio's masks and gloves may be purchased here

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.