LANCASTER, Ohio — At this point in his career, Lancaster artist and product designer Jason Annecy never thought he'd be celebrating the legacy and achievements of Fran Taylor, and decorated glassware company, Gay Fad Studios.
It started with this mural design and has led to a new storefront venture with his husband David in downtown Lancaster.
“That's kinda how we got our feet wet in getting to know the community, and ultimately what we saw in each interaction was that everyone was so wonderful to work with and it provided us the opportunity to produce some artwork throughout the town,” Annecy said.
Glassware company Gay Fad Studios was started by Fran Taylor, a trailblazing entrepreneur in 1939, before moving operations from Detroit to “Ohio's Glass Town” Lancaster in 1945.
Taylor invested $30 of her own money to start the company, at first painting metal wastepaper baskets before moving on to designing mid-century glassware.
Annecy said Fran Taylor broke the glass ceiling before the phrase existed.
“She really believed that you should end up providing opportunities for everyone to have their own equal voice in the community. She purchased the plots of land in her own name to be able to design a 46,500-square-foot distribution plant.”
With blessings from family members of the late Fran Taylor, Gay Fad Studios has a mix of designs inspired by Taylor, in addition to original works.
The Annecys said what started off as a tribute is now a way of life, and both said they're excited about what the future holds.
“Once they learned about who Fran was, and all the amazing achievements that were accomplished over 25 years, people would just light up. They were so excited, there was a sense of pride, and I think that became really infectious for us,” said David Annecy.
“Many times we'll even ask ourselves, 'what would Fran do?' Those types of things really help us as we continue to move forward,” said Jason Annecy.
Gay Fad Studios was a cornerstone of downtown Lancaster until the business was sold in 1963. The new location is 137 W Main St. in Lancaster.