Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Hello boys and girls.

(Before I go any farther, with the exception of photos #4, #5, #7, and #8 which I took with my iPhone - ,make sure you click on the photos and see a bigger image. ESPECIALLY the Lino VENETIAN piece! - thats the guilded blue vase with the yellow leaf and coil)

Linda and I just got back in town from a really gratifying trip. Linda has wanted to go back to Spokane where she spent some time as a little tyke. So we decided to finally go. Being the ever gracious gal that she is, she, knowing that I have been planning to go see Dante Marioni and Janusz Pozniak in Seattle, said "How about flying into Seattle first and seeing them." Quit! Stop! Ouch! Quit twisting my arm! It hurts! Okay! Okay, we will stop there first if you insist. (It really didn't sound exactly that way. ) We left last Friday morning at 6:30 am and arivied at Seattle at about 11:15 am or so. (Seattle time). My first time ever to Seattle! Seattle was gorgeous! The view! The mountains! The Trees, flowers, water, everything! More importantly we arrived at Dante's studio and received a very warm welcome form Dante and his wife and Janusz. We spent a couple of hours with them on Friday and came back and spent most all day the following Monday watching Dante and Janusz blow glass. (Pictures #1 & #2) Dante gave us the grand tour and Janusz gave us his grand tour of his studio apartment. (Assorted pictures throughout) I got to see the famous "Dante Chandelier" up in Janusz's apartment. I got to see both of their work up close. Extraordinary talant in Janusz, a faithful helper, and a real gentleman! Dante, of course, well… what can you say that hasn't already been said. Dante introduced us to his father, Paul Marioni. Extremely nice and humble man, very friendly and sweet natured! Dante and Janusz introduced us to Preston Singletary,, John Kiley, Elise, Michelle, and Sean. Dante made us feel really welcome and right at home. We went to Spokane Saturday and Sunday, then flew back Monday to go back to Dante's studio. Spokane was beautiful as well. The Spokane Falls were wonderful. Azteca restaurant there was awesome! We drove up to Sullivan Lake on Sunday. It was beautiful! If I had a bunch of money I would move me and my wife, my 3 kids and daughter-n-law, our best friends and their kids(if they wanted to move) and live up there in Seattle! It was great!!!!!
Oh yeah, on Friday, Dante told us that there was a huge exhibit at the Tacoma Museum of Glass featuring "Lino Tagliapietra in Retrospect - A Modern Renaissance In Italian Glass" and that we definitely should go. We went on Saturday and were there over 4 hours! Amazing! Here's the website:

They also had "Living Legacies Homage To A Maestro" a very large exhibit of Dante's work along others. In their words, "Artists represented in the exhibition include Nancy Callan, Dale Chihuly, Paul Cunningham, Dan Dailey, Jen Elek, Flora C. Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick, Dante Marioni, Richard Marquis, Benjamin P. Moore, James Mongrain, Janusz Pozniak, Richard Royal, Preston Singletary, and David Walters. Each of these accomplished artists has worked with Lino in some capacity during their careers, and their ability to manage the intricacies and challenges for working with molten glass has grown exponentially. The artworks in Living Legacies have “translated” traditional Italian techniques into a thoroughly fresh and contemporary American language shown through singular works and installations." To top it off, Martin Blank and his team were working "live" in the hotshop. Lino's pieces are something to see on the internet or in books, but seeing them in person… well… breathtaking! At least one of his pieces was about six foot tall! Well worth the 10 bucks a person and the $12.50 parking fee. Not to mention seeing the Chihuly Venetian Bridge and all that. We ate at Ivars Salmon house right next to Chihuly's boathouse. (Pictures # 4 and #5) Pretty cool! I took about 200 photos. I may post a few of Dante's studio and some other things if I can make my self wait the loooooong time it takes to upload a few. We'll see.
Also, a few weeks ago, I was perusing Chihuly's website and found this beautiful venetian that Lino did with Chihuly that has fascinated me greatly. (Picture #11) I printed a number of copies on paper and carried them around with me in my pickup to look at, put it on my computer, my iphone, and in my studio. I even got to see it partly being made on the new Chihuly video that just came out a few weeks ago, called "CHIHULY in the HOTSHOP". I have made it one of my goals to make one just like it in time. I saw the piece in person at the hotshop in the Tacoma Museum of Glass! IN PERSON!!!! Did you get that? IN PERSON! One more time just in case, IN PERSON! When you first walk in the hotshop, it was center stage at the entrance It was magnificent!

Also we stopped at Olympic Color Rods and met the folks there and the owner, Phil O'Reilly. Phil stopped what he was doing and treated us like kings and gave us the tour. They have an awesome set-up and are great people with warm hospitality.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Las Vegas Baby!

Just thought I would tell folks whats been happening.

I temporarily shut down my furnace on Saturday March 29th. The last time I did that the Oklahoma Natural Gas came and said my meter had quit working properly. I bet they come out again and check it out. You would think as much gas as I buy they would give me a Christmas and birthday present! Nope! All they want is my money. I look forward (I think) to one day getting an electric furnace.

I took my three top managers to the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. We left Monday, March 31st and returned Friday, April 4th. It was the first time any of us had been to Vegas. What an extraordinary place! I, of course, made sure that we all went and saw the Fiori Di Como at the Bellagio. Tremendous! Went by the Chihuly Store in the Bellagio. Really cool. The lady that worked there was really nice to us. Had a great time at the International Pizza Expo. Looking for ways to take our business to the next level or 2.

Since we were going to be gone and my furnace was ready to charge again, I decided to take that opportunity to shut it down, save some greenbacks, and do a little maintaining on the furnace. The furnace door had gradually gotten chunks knocked off and was not maintaining a good seal at all. I could see the $5 bills just floating out into the sunset. It was already that way when I bought it and of course it has gotten worse with use. So I chiseled out the old refractory cement and reformed the door and poured new refractory in it's place. Many heap big thanks to Andy Boatman at Blue Sage Studios for telling me what kind of stuff to buy and where to buy it. Andy always knows what I need to know. Always ready and willing to help. A true gentleman!

We are kind've tweaking the studio a little bit. Got some folks coming out to take a few photos for a magazine article. I was putting the furnace back together today and was going to light it, but accidently broke my Giberson Burner Head! Getting it overnighted from Joppa Glass works. Yeee Hah!

Hopefully I will get it lit tomorrow afternoon late. We have a decent amount of caterings tomorrow plus I am speaking at the State Capital to about 50 folks for about 30 minutes or so. Then going to get some photos taken, then back to work on the studio.

Thats's whats been happening here.

I'll report when we get everything up and running. We are starting to make some different kind of stuff. Been really inspired by some of the Venetians on Chihuly's website. His website is totally first class! Very inspirational to me. Some of the Venetians with coils and leaves are really appealing. We did 2 right before we shut down the furnace and did decent for our first 2 attempts. We are really excited about continuing and getting better at that kind of stuff. We also have been pulling cane and working with that a little..