Lino Tagliapietra, widely acknowledged to be the world’s foremost glass artist, returns to Centre College for four days of master classes and public demonstrations Oct. 23-29.
It will be his 10th visit to the College.
The connection between Tagliapietra and Centre began in 1996 when he exhibited with Stephen Rolfe Powell ’74, Stodghill Professor of Art and founder of Centre’s renowned glass program. Four years later, Powell persuaded Tagliapietra to come to Danville with the promise of a trip to the Kentucky Derby. Other visits followed, including in 2004 when he received an honorary degree from Centre.
A native of Murano, Italy, Tagliapietra once said, “I represent a place where they have been blowing glass for a thousand years. When I was born, I was born with glass. I don’t play music, I play glass. It is part of my culture, my brain, my blood.”
He began working as a glass apprentice at the age of 11. By the age of 21 he had achieved “maestro” status. In 1979, he made his first trip to the United States, sparking a remarkable international synergy. To the innovative—but largely untrained—creativity of the American artists he brought the finely honed technical skills of Italian glass blowing. His profound influence on American glass has been called “the Lino effect.”
Among his many awards are the Glass Art Society Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rakow Commission from the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Urban Glass Award for Preservation of Glassworking Techniques from Urkunde Goldmedaille, Germany. A documentary made in 2000, while he was at Centre as Humana Visiting Artist, aired on Kentucky Educational Television.
Now 83, he retains his exuberant dedication to teaching and sharing with the next generation of glass artists.
“My students will have extraordinary access to Lino and his very talented team,” Powell says.
In addition to demonstrations at the Centre glass studio in the Jones Visual Arts Center, Tagliapietra will also be working on large glass panels at Powell’s studio in the old Coca-Cola plant on Stanford Avenue.
Powell is especially looking forward to the Glass Art Society’s upcoming international conference in Tagliapietra’s hometown. As vice president of the society, Powell has been working closely with his mentor to prepare.
Some 1,500 participants will see the famous glass factories of Venini, Effetre, and Barovier Toso, among many others, when they will be open to the outside world for the first time ever.
“This is a historical event, given the guarded and secretive past of the glass culture of Venice,” Powell notes. “There is no question that Lino is the most influential glass artist in the world. Only Lino could make this happen.”
by Diane Johnson
October 11, 2017