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Lino Tagliapietra 40th Anniversary at Pilchuck Glass School

© Russell Johnson 2019

Overlooking the Puget Sound from its site on a hillside tree farm, the Pilchuck Glass School boasts a long history of nurturing artists in the craft of glassblowing. Lino Tagliapietra first visited Pilchuck in the summer 1979 at the invitation of Benjamin Moore, a visit that marked the beginning of a long relationship with the school and the Pacific Northwest. 

On Sunday June 16th, the Maestro, along with 100 guests, celebrated the 40th Anniversary of this momentous visit with a day of festivities at the at Pilchuck’s picturesque campus in Stanwood. In the early afternoon, friends, family, and colleagues arrived at Pilchuck and enjoyed a tour of the glass school’s grounds. Situated on a tree farm, the campus spreads over several acres and boasts a stunning view of the Puget Sound. Guests enjoyed a private tour of the school’s hot shop, lodge, and wooded trails.  

Pilchuck Glass School Hot Shop. Photograph Courtesy of Lino Tagliapietra Inc.

Pilchuck Glass School bridge to the lodge. Photograph Courtesy of Lino Tagliapietra Inc.

Pilchuck Glass School Campus, wooden bridge. Photograph Courtesy of Lino Tagliapietra Inc.

The highlight of the day was unquestionably the live glassblowing demonstration by the Maestro, who was joined by fellow legends of the American Studio Glass Movement. With Nancy Callan, Jen Elek, John Kiley, as well as his team of gaffers, Erich Woll, David Walters, Darin Denison, Jason Christian, and Levi Belber, the Maestro created three glass vessels in Pilchuck’s iconic hot shop. Benjamin Moore introduced the demonstration, reminiscing on Lino’s time at Pilchuck and explaining the various blowing processes to the audience. 

Lino at the Pilchuck Hot Shop, with Darin Denison and Erich Woll assisting © Russell Johnson 2019

Lino at the Pilchuck Hot Shop, with Erich Woll, Jen Elek, and Darin Denison assisting. © Russell Johnson 2019

Lino at the Pilchuck Hot Shop, with David Walters and Erich Woll assisting. © Russell Johnson 2019

Following the demonstration, guests enjoyed dinner in the Pilchuck lodge during which a slideshow presented a collection of photographs from throughout Lino’s years teaching at Pilchuck. Christopher Taylor, Pilchuck Glass School’s Executive Director, lead the attendees in a toast to Lino, thanking him for his contributions to the American Studio Glass Movement, and his long support of the Pilchuck School. 

Christopher Taylor presenting the Maestro. Photograph Courtesy of Pilchuck Glass School.

The evening concluded with a short speech by the Maestro himself. Lino fondly recalled his first summer at Pilchuck, the people he met and the kinds of glass he helped create. He also recalled his arrival at SeaTac and the taxi’s driver quizzical expression when he asked to be driven to “Pilchuck, in Stanwood”.

Lino Tagliapietra giving his speech. Photograph Courtesy of Pilchuck Glass School.

Photograph Courtesy of Pilchuck Glass School.

The day was a joyful celebration of the relationship between the Maestro and the historic glassblowing school, as well as a tribute to the community of artists who have worked with Lino and experienced the magic of Pilchuck. 

Lino and family with Benjamin Moore © Russell Johnson 2019.

Jen Elek, Lino Tagliapietra, and Nancy Callan © Russell Johnson 2019.

Benjamin Moore and Lino Tagliapietra © Russell Johnson 2019

From right to left: Levi Belber, Jen Elek, Nancy Callan, Benjamin Moore, Dante Marioni, Lino Tagliapietra, John Kiley, Jason Christian, Darin Denison, David Walters, and Erich Woll © Russell Johnson 2019

Pilchuck Glass School Campus. Photograph Courtesy of Lino Tagliapietra Inc.