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From Murano to Seattle

Lino in the Murano Studio, around 1998

From Murano to Seattle

Upon immediate comparison, the vibrantly colored cityscape of Murano is a notable contrast from the often dreary and clouded city of Seattle, Washington. While it might appear these two places have little in common, they are fused together through a passion for glass.

This commonality has been shaped by some of the greatest glass artists of all time. Through decades of international collaboration, Seattle has grown to be a prominent location for glass art.

Not all too long ago, glass viewed as an art form was a foreign concept in the states. It was only in factory settings that one might find decorative art. [1]

For the few inspired by the art form, there were little options in terms of education, training and mentorship domestically within the U.S. Thanks to artists hungry to learn more, international influences were called upon and more educational programs were created to provide opportunities for emerging artists.

Pilchuck

Founded by Dale Chihuly and art patrons John Hauberg and Anne Gould Hauberg, Pilchuck hosted its first glass workshop in the summer of 1971. Located on a tree farm in Stanwood, Washington, Pilchuck’s landscape is just as dreamy as it’s concept; a magical place where artists can create, learn and inspire.

American glassblower Benjamin Moore (who had met Lino when he visited Murano) invited him to give a demonstration at Pilchuck in 1979. Lino boarded a plane to head for Seattle, WA not speaking a word of English.

“The technique, they were very poor,” Tagliapietra recalls. “But the energy, they were fantastic.” [2] Lino’s presence at Pilchuck was mutually beneficial. Ultimately, he provided a deep knowledge rooted in technique and expertise while he gained a fresh perspective.

“To see someone with that insane command of the material – the speed and virtuosity and finesse, working on a very small, delicate level as well as doing huge, massive things – was just mind-blowing,” Moore remembers. [2]

The Maestro was one of many established and influential artists that lent their experience and knowledge to the students. Bringing in artists from around the world helped shape Pilchuck to be what it is today.

Pilchuck is now revered as one of the most prominent glassblowing school’s in the nation. The success of Pilchuck undoubtedly contributed to the rise of Seattle’s studio glass reputation.

Museum of Glass

The glass movement quickly gained momentum in the Northwest and by the early 1990s talk of a museum dedicated to glass arose. [1]

Thanks to Phil Phibbs (retired president of the University of Puget Sound) and artist Dale Chihuly, the idea became a reality. In 2002, the Museum of Glass opened in Tacoma, WA greeting visitors with a bridge of glass filled with the brilliant work of good friend Dale Chihuly.

The Museum of Glass continues to serve as an invaluable space where visitors can observe exhibitions of the most talented glassblowers. Not only does the museum cater to well-known artists, it provides a hot shop for local glass artists. The hot shop also features seating where guests can watch the artists in action and observe the process.

In 2009, the Museum of Glass dedicated a major travelling retrospective exhibition of Lino’s work, which was also hosted by other museums in the United States including: the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery Washington DC; the Chrysler Museum of Art Norfolk, Virginia; Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs California, Flint Institute of Arts, Flints, Minnesota.

The rise of museums featuring glass in the Northwest not only provided space to the artists to showcase their work, but opened a door for locals and visitors to learn more about the art form.

Lino’s Second Home

Lino in his studio in Seattle – Photo credit: Lino Tagliapietra Inc

Fortunately for the Northwest, Lino’s first visit to Washington would be one of many. He continued to return to Seattle and had his first solo gallery exhibition at Traver Gallery in Seattle, WA.

In an interview with L’Italo-Americano Lino described his fondness for Seattle. “The city has changed a lot”, he adds, “But I still go to Seattle regularly, for me it is like my second home.”

We are happy to have recently opened Lino’s second studio here in the heart of Seattle.

 

Seattle Magazine
[1] http://www.seattlemag.com/article/how-seattle-became-epicenter-glass-art
American Craft Council
[2] https://craftcouncil.org/magazine/article/il-maestro
L’Italo-Americano
http://www.italoamericano.org/story/2015-5-31/lino-tagliapietra