Lisa Swerling at work in her Glass Cathedrals studio

Glass Cathedrals

Tufnell park, London

I’m Lisa Swerling, an artist making miniature worlds in boxes called Glass Cathedrals. Inspired by the power of the miniature to communicate big ideas and emotions, I've spent nearly twenty years making thousands of artboxes - in Cape Town, California, and now London.

Described as "little pockets of joy", Glass Cathedrals remind us that we are all the heroes of our own stories, and that finding delight in small moments is a superpower we can turn on in the blink of an eye.

The story behind the business

When we gaze down from a plane at city lights at night, we feel like giants. Then, looking up at the stars, we feel like tiny specks amongst them. That a person can feel like a god and like a speck of stardust at one time, in one body and mind - what marvels us humans are!

One day in London in 2004, I put an architect’s model on a tiny chair, and then inside a wooden box. He was in a triumphant pose - arms upraised - except he had lost both of them above the elbow. But as soon as I put him in the box, he changed from pitiful... to extraordinary! From lost, to telling his own story. I was entranced.

For a small box to contain such meaning - in fact to be transported to an entire parallel world, one that reflected back much that was good and precious about our own - was a powerful magic. I wanted to share it, and so the Glass Cathedrals concept was born.

founder Credentials

  • 50s Plus Founder
  • Female Founded Business


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