Whenever Lino Tagliapietra comes to work at the Museum of Glass Hot Shop, I take a day off work to go watch him: Lino Day. It’s one of my favorite holidays.
I can’t tell you whether you should take the day off to go, too, but I can tell you why I do.
Lino is the Maestro. He is 78 years old, and when he comes to the hot shop, he works. I am sure you know what it’s like it watch someone do what they love doing, and something very complex that they have perfected over a lifetime. Or maybe you don’t. It is the purest pleasure. Taking a day off to watch Lino is a meditation on the beauty of creation from several directions.
What he creates is beautiful; the way he works is beautiful; doing what he loves to do for his whole life has made him beautiful; and when I watch him in the hot shop I remember there is beauty in this world and in people.
The first time I saw him here in Tacoma, Lino was working on the “Saturno” series. These are pieces that are shaped like the planet, Saturn. If you were to look at one with its central orb and surrounding flat ring, you would assume the “planet” part was blown, and the “ring” part was perhaps molded and fused on. That’s what I assumed anyway.
I watched him and his team work on a piece for—well, I don’t know how long, because that’s how it is watching the Maestro: you lose track of time – anyway, I watched them working for a long time, transferring the piece from one to another – all very purposeful and choreographed. I couldn’t figure out what was happening (because I had in my mind that they were just doing an orb, and would then do the ring). So finally, Lino takes the punty, makes some quick move, and the piece (it seemed to me) turned inside-out, and there it was: the Saturno, spinning at the end of the punty, whole. Ring and all! It was such a surprise, and a joy and a miracle, that it brought tears to my eyes.
And that’s why I take a Lino holiday whenever he is in town. How often do you get to be delighted by the greatest living practitioner of an art, mesmerized by the process of creation by a master, and reminded that the world and its inhabitants are full of beauty?
See Lino Tagliapietra in the Museum of Glass hot shop October 10-14, and make sure to visit his finished work in the galleries, Maestro: Recent Works by Lino Tagliapietra is featured in the galleries now until January 2013.