Dante Marioni at the Craft in America Center

“It’s a rare day that I show up someplace and get to just talk about myself–no dog and pony show.”

Dante Marioni spoke at the Craft in America Center on March 9th where he did just that: talked about himself with good humor and surprising candor. He also qualified his quote by saying, “If you don’t enjoy people watching you and being on display–you should probably do something different [than glassblowing].”

“I was lucky that at an early age I found what I wanted to do.” He started blowing glass for fun–seeing his father  play with the medium really inspired him. Marioni spoke about his early career when he could really perfect his technique by making goblets–a right of passage for glassblowers. He described a “goofy chandelier” that was a gorgeous large-scale work that incorporated many, many goblets. He went back to visit it later and found that people had tossed coins in it, probably for good luck.

While inspired by the freedom the preceding generation was taking with glassblowing, Marioni got more interested in pattern; the mathematical precision of reticello was compelling to him. Encouraged by his dear friend Lino Tagliapietra, Marioni embraced the method with fantastic results. He mentioned that this talk would be “demystifying,” but in actuality, he clicked through numerous images of incredible feats of skill that remain stunning and remarkable.

“What I do, and a lot of people that blow glass, is process driven. You blow things and you see things that inform what you will do next,” Marioni said.