Italian master turns stemware into sculpture

It took three trips to Venice over some 25 years before I finally ventured to the nearby island of Murano, known for its glassblowers and, of course, glass galleries.

It was one of those things that seemed like a hassle — finding the right boat to ride, getting tickets, etc. Wessel is much more adventurous in that department, so when we went there last November, I let him do all the work. Love that! Indeed it was a bit of an ordeal figuring out boat details. You’d think that with the hordes of tourists in Venice, they’d make it easy, but then perhaps it wouldn’t be such a charming place. Can you imagine not getting lost in the maze of streets and canals? How memorable would that be? 

Ferry from Venice to Murano on a grey fall day

Ferry from Venice to Murano on a gray fall day

The 10-minute boat-taxi ride there would have been incredibly scenic — if we could have seen  anything. Instead, it was raining, so we had to sit inside, and the windows were fogged up. Wessel, of course, ventured out to take photos, and it was indeed beautiful in its own way. When is Venice not beautiful?

Murano, a mile north of Venice proper, is very cute in its own right and sort of like a very miniature Venice. In the summer especially, tourists arrive by the boatload to visit the famed glassmaking studios and galleries. Though the shops vary from low-end to high, most of them quickly blend together.

Engraved glasses from Luigi Camozzo

Engraved glasses from Luigi Camozzo

After popping into several stores along the main street, I was getting a little bored. That is until I happened upon the studio and gallery of Luigi Camozzo. truly an island apart from the others. And, I have to warn you, so are the master engraver’s prices. But if you can’t afford his museum-quality work, ranging from $250 to $7,500 and up, don’t let that stop you from looking.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find Camozzo, 56, in his small workspace at the back of the shop doing what he’s famous for: using an assortment of diamond, copper, and stone-engraving wheels to transform handblown glass vessels into works of art.

Luigi Camozzo at work

Luigi Camozzo at work

Camozzo doesn’t blow the glass; he uses existing pieces. But by cutting, marking, and carving into the glass surface, he adds texture and depth to each piece, elevating them into something even more special. He works his magic on everything from modern sculpture to antique stemware, including paper-thin English and Bohemian crystal.

Amy West apprentice of Luigi Camozzo

Apprentice and artist Amy West

Camozzo doesn’t speak English, but his friendly apprentice, Amy West, who hails from Kansas City, Mo., and has lived around the world, will be happy to explain the fascinating history and techniques of glass engraving. She has her own glass and beadwork on sale there as well, and it’s of course more affordable. 

Here’s the address to the gallery, and good luck finding it! (Be glad it’s in Murano and not Venice, but really, it won’t be that difficult.)

Luigi Camozzo Studio Galleria, Fondamenta Venier Sebastiano 3, telephone (011) 39-041-736-875.

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One Response to “Italian master turns stemware into sculpture”

  1. karel Says:

    I guess, everybody will be influenced by the spell of beauty and glitter. But my concern is: How to handle it (transport, customs, where in my house give it a place). But I’m a member of the “kijken, kijken, niet kopen”-people (i.e. “staring, staring, not buying”)
    And I know, this is not romantic

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