By Salvo Sportato
Murano, Italy–It’s November the 9th, and even if we’re travelling in the Bel Paese on a cloudless day, there is a distinct possibility that in the Venetian laguna, it will be gloomy. And in fact that’s what happened. Shortly after we left the Mestre railway station with an incredibly and unexpectedly high sun, the landscape changed completely as if, through fog curtains, we entered into a magical alternate reality — the most beautiful lagoon city in the world. As we reach the island of Murano with the vaporetto, we try to get into the less touristic paths. Mission accomplished. Between the dock posts, the glass laboratories are waiting for us, and it’s not hard to find the new main character for a good handcraft story: Murano glass.
Simone Cenedese Gallery is the name at the entrance. One of Simone’s assistants receives us and immediately takes us into the very heart of one of the finest glass-making establishments on the island. Simone is master glass-maker and designer and has inherited the passion, the talent and his art from his dad, Giovanni. After introductions, the glass blower/artist openly invited me to observe the production phases. He’s was working with his team of artisan glass-makers at the moment, and he made me aware of the importance of maintaining the pace in glass-work, “If you lose the perfect temperature, your work is lost.” So we agreed to meet again in the afternoon for a calmer interview.
The workshop is a show not to be missed. Tens of ovens at scorching temperatures, metal instruments of all kinds, water tanks for cooling, containers of every shape and material, lathes cork, diamond blades and, above all, fast and competent hands. Hands trained to not lose a single moment or improve upon that specific instant, which may prove essential to the creation of a work of art. Every piece, every detail is unique. The slightest defect condemns the newly created object to be destroyed and, if the we’re talking about colored glass, it cannot even be recycled. In the glass-world, this is the apex of all that is finite and precious.
Simon said that glass is an open work through which he tries to experiment every time with new colors and unique shapes, as words adapt to many different meanings and different shades to express the moods and the artist’s inner world. That is why his creations display the name ‘Artistic Murano Glass,’ which, for him, represents a seal, a guarantee of excellence, quality and uniqueness. His customers are not the only people who show great appreciation to his works, but also big names and big brands.
After this experience in Murano, I think I can say that this particular field is one where art intersects and melds beautifully and perfectly with craft and with the handmade. It’s unique and precious with its unblemished fragility, perfect temperature, exquisite colour, faultless transparency and shapes. A glass, a vase, a lamp can be art, crafts so closely linked to everyday life. Art you live your life with.
IN THIS ISSUE: Bevilacqua Velvet: A Bastion of Venetian Tradition, Giuliana Longo: The Gondolier’s Milliner , Chiarastella Cattana: Venetian Jacquards, Simone Cevedese: The Art of Murano Glass ; The Gondolier’s Slipper: Alla Giulia ; Tabarro: The Medieval Gentleman’s Cape