Sunday, March 12, 2006

Burano? They Sure Love Their Paint!

I wonder how often they take to their brushes? The houses all seem to be freshly painted with the brightest colors they can find - Alexander Julian would be proud!

What a sleepy little island. What do they do here besides make lace and try to entice the touristas? I managed to pick up a few gifts, as well as add to my meager scarf collection. But most of all, it was a very pretty day - good for a boat ride, a lengthy stroll, some local pix, and a late lunch back on Murano.

I've been spending my days walking, walking, getting lots of fresh air, walking... But I sure am itching to get back on the torch! I don't want to forget all the wonderful things I learned with Lucio and Vittorio, and I've got some ideas for new beads. I may even create a line based on my impressions of Burano - they won't be for the faint of heart.

Tonight I will start packing my suitcase of new treasures, which must be carried onto the plane. I just hope I haven't gone overboard. This will be a challenge...

Just Hanging' Out...

Although I miss being in the studio watching the masters at work, it's nice just hanging around seeing the sights with no commitments. And now I can do that with both eyes functioning. Silly me, washing a contact lens down the drain...

Great shopping in Venice yesterday, and a wonderful start to the mask collection. The weather was perfect, and the view of the Basilica at San Marco as the sun was going down was stunning.

Today, it's snowing! Perhaps a trip to Burano, or maybe just hang out here on Murano. But first, a cappuccino at the foot of the bridge - they might think I met with some kind of disaster if I don't show up for my daily treat.

I've been invited to bring some of my beads to the shop of Luigi the engraver to try my hand at the wheel... with plenty of assistance from Amy, of course. Amy was our class translator and is Luigi's apprentice. I'll dig out some beads and do that later in the week.

As mellow as this week will be, I think the time will pass very quickly. But you know, I'm starting to get home sick. What I miss most is a nice thick hunk of poached salmon and a plate of steamed veggies. My body is still wondering what on earth I've done to it. Eating in is the best way to go here on the island, no doubt about it.

Until next time... Ciao!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How Can That Be?

Wow, tomorrow is the last day of class... where did the time go?

On the last day of Lucio's class last Saturday, I was completely overcome with emotion. As he finished up the big sculpture he did for Ofilia to take back with her, I had to leave the table - the tears were running down my face.

Monday we started Vittorio's class - a completely different style of glass work. And what a master HE is! I'm thrilled that I'll be bringing home 2 of his class demo pieces. I wish I could bring HIM home with me, he's like the papa I always wished I had.

We're all battling some kind of cold or flu - the 5 of us that are in Vittorio's class were having a coughing competition. I had a fever today, which really hindered my productivity on the torch. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

Tonight we had a demo by Luigi, the local engraver. This is a dying art, and he and one other guy are the only folks left here who do this. His work is absolutely beautiful! His apprentice Amy has been our class interpreter, and she's a real peach - I hope she and I can get together when she comes back to San Francisco this summer.

I'll be in Murano for another week and a half after class is over, with absolutely no commitments. That will be really nice! More time to spend in Venice, a trip over to Burano, and perhaps a side trip to Florence. I'm sure this time will fly as well, and when I get back home it will all seem like it was a dream. I couldn't have asked for a nicer dream...

Ciao, ciao!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Major Talent!

A day full of treats! This morning we visited Davide Salvadore and watched him and his crew create an incalmo vase - wonderful! I'm afraid that these guys will die of emphysema - chain smokers all, lighting their cigies on the blow pipes. We also saw the secret of how they create the blown glass beads... but I'll never tell. :-)

This afternoon, Lucio brought out a cello that a "girlfriend" of his owns. We just happen to have a cello player in our group of students, so we got to listen to Joyce jam with the instrumental bluegrass CD on the stereo. Then she went into some Bach, and ended her session with some good old rock - go, Joyce!

After finishing up the day in the studio we had another treat - a demo by Cesare Toffolo. These glass folks are all masters, with work in galleries all over the world. I feel so fortunate to have been able to watch them work in their home environment!

We ate in tonight - Valerie cooked pasta with chicken and veggies in pesto sauce, and it was the best meal I've had since I've been here. No more bisteca for me, by gosh...

And now it's time to go have more glass dreams, getting ready for tomorrow's work. Ciao!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Another Day, Another Explosion...

Today was the 3rd day of class with Lucio the Maestro. What an amazing man to watch! His art is wonderful, his technique is magic. I can only hope that some day I'll be able to complete an entire figure without having it blow apart because I cannot get beyond my beadmaking techniques. I've got the mermaid's tail down pat, though...

The visit to the glass factory this morning was such a treat - like watching a symphony. Just how much glass can I carry home with me?

No pasta today! And no cappuccino, either. Good news about the pasta, not so good about the cappuccino... I'm such a creature of habit, and I've developed some new ones in this short time I've been here. I'm afraid that Starbucks just won't cut it when I get back home.

Murano is full of dogs. And they all seem to have a purpose. Different "personalities" than those in the US - they don't come up and greet passersby and it's rare to hear them bark. Maybe I should bring Niki here for some behavior lessons.

Murano is NOT full of cars. I haven't seen a car since I left the airport, and the nights are incredibly quiet. This morning, we passed by a "boat raising" on our way to the factory. How does a boat sink in the canal? Poor fellow.

Time for some visiting before bedtime, a little reading, and lights out. I haven't gotten home sick yet, I wonder when it will hit me...


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Glass Overload?

What an amazing place, this Murano. The amount of glass is so overwhelming, it is impossible to decide what to bring home with me.

Day 1 - Try to stay awake until the local bed time. What better way than to look through the windows of glass shop after glass shop after glass shop.

Day 2 - a trip to Venice on the Vaporetto. Such an amazing city, especially during Carnevale - a Rennaissance Faire on steroids! First impression? Claustrophobia! But I'll be going back next Sunday. So many mask shops - again, too overwhelming to decide on which ones to bring home. Highlight of the day - watching Vittorio Constantini make a fish.

Day 3 - visit all those glass shops on Murano. Make a decision, make a commitment... OK! Must return to pay for the Toffolo pieces I had set aside. Must return to visit all the other shops I had no time to see.

Tomorrow I start class with Lucio. I'm nervous - I don't do sculptural work. By the time the week is over, that will have changed (hopefully). I am energized!

Now I will go lie down in my little twin bed, thinking of the days ahead of me and what might be in store. And if I'm lucky, I won't wake up at 3 a.m. again with my brain racing around in circles.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Rain and Snow and Melting Glass

I just checked the weather in Venice. bllleeaaaacchhhh........ rain, freezing rain, snow, more rain... great weather in which to melt glass, I suppose. Gotta remember to pack my scarf, hat, and mitties. Here's what's in my back yard - the bottlebrush will probably be well-bloomed by the time I return.

I think I'm running on adrenaline today! Back to packing...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

To Blog or Not To Blog...

I'm about to embark on a journey, both literally and figuratively, and I've decided to share my thoughts... with you and with myself down the road.

This is my first blog - and will be my first trip out of North America. I leave for Murano (Venice), Italy in a day and a half, and I have no idea what to expect - except that I'm starting to get very excited! I'll be studying for 6 days with Lucio Bubacco, then 3 days with Vittorio Constantini.

I haven't been on my torch for several weeks and I'm nervous about being in a class with so many experts. I had such good intentions about preparing for this experience - a book on anatomy for artists, a CD to learn some of the Italian language - and I'm as green as I was when I first learned that I was going on this trip. But I'm going to absorb every moment like a sponge, and when I get home I hope to be able to create something new and exciting - and tell you all about it in Italian. ;-)

Gotta go organize now... lots to do before I leave... still not finished with my taxes... aarrgghh! Maybe I'll just watch the Olympics for awhile.

Here's the mess I'll be leaving behind. Ciao-der!

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