A Glimpse in the Techniques of Glass; Coldworking, Venetian Tradition and Interesting Techniques
“Art is the outcome of technique and ideas.” – Lino Tagliapietra
Viewing one of the Maestro’s pieces, you get carried away by the sheer wow factor. The colors, the details and the thoughtfulness all take you away. It’s easy to get lost looking at his art; to rediscover something new every time you look at the piece. Not always taken into account, is the countless hours spent creating such as piece. The centuries of tradition, the decades of practice by the Maestro and the amount of time that goes into perfecting a piece.
Of course there is the obvious time spent in the hot shop sweating over the hot material. Shaping it and giving life to such a piece. But what happens after it properly cools? There is cleaning to do of course, and shine and polishing. But those familiar with Lino’s work are aware that he is not settled until perfection. When he has the vision for it, coldworking will be done. This will give (an already very intricate piece) even more detail and complexity.
Coldworking, Incalmo and Bollinato are all techniques frequently embraced by the Maestro. Many of you are most likely familiar with what the end result of these techniques look like as having seen them in many pieces. Read on for a brief synopsis of each technique!
Coldworking is an important part of the glass making process. While it may be assumed that a piece becomes cleaned and polished after it finishes cooling, what may not be obvious is the amount of hours that can be spent adding detail to a piece. The cold working process allows for a piece to truly become elevated with grinding, carving, engraving and other techniques that add complexity and detail to any given piece. It’s a collective term for many techniques that transform the glass.
Lino loves embracing coldwork on his pieces. Some are just cleaned and polished and left in their natural state, while others receive 40+ hours of intricate cutting creating a maze of cut glass.
Cold working is technically defined as changing the shape or surface texture of glass. This is done through a series of tools and techniques and is very difficult work.
One technique that really catches the eye is a cut called Battuto. First used circa the early 1900s, this particular technique is unmistakable. Battuto means struck or beaten and is evident why when viewing the end product. The surface of the glass is ground to have an appearance of endless tiny and irregular marks. The end product is similar to that of a hammered metal effect. The cuts are broad and relatively flat. Pictured below is a sample of a gorgeous piece with Battuto coldworking.
A technique originated from Murano dating back to around the 16th-17th century. Incalmo is defined by two blown pieces being opened and joined together while hot. They generally differ in color giving this technique a unique look. This isn’t easy to achieve as both pieces must be the same diameter in size to fit perfectly together. If done correctly, the end process is a gorgeous layering of colors and design.
A personal favorite of mine, Bollinato is a special technique that leaves a series of encased bubbles throughout a piece. There are two methods to achieve this look but the one used most frequently by the Maestro includes a mold we informally refer to as the pineapple mold. This cylinder shaped mold is patterned with various spikes around the inside. Hot glass is then inserted into the mold, blown to puncture the glass to create a hole and re-covered with another layer of glass. This allows the air bubbles to be trapped and the surface to be smooth. The end effect might leave the viewer curious as to how the bubbles were so perfectly placed around the piece; the power of the mold.
There you have it, three very different techniques that all are special to the Lino. Now when you see the end result on some of your favorite pieces you can better imagine the Maestro’s creating these pieces.