Connections: Contemporary Craft at the Renwick Gallery highlights the evolution of the craft field as it transitions into a new phase at the hands of contemporary artists, which in some way echoes the communal spirit and ideology of the pioneers of the American Studio Craft Movement in their heyday.
MARTIN DEMAINE: Hi, I’m Martin Demaine, an artist and scientist based at MIT, and one strong influence for my work is Lino Tagliapietra, who also has a beautiful piece of glass in the same room as our paper sculpture.
Lino captures the movement of glass, with incredible patterns and color and so on. He’s mastered the control over glass, and he works in a team, which implies that collaboratively you can do more than you can individually.
So all my work is with Erik Demaine, my son, and we’ve managed to incorporate these glass techniques not just in glass but also in paper folding. One of the ways we’ve been able to combine these two materials, folded paper and glass, is to put the paper inside the glass. Kind of a ship in a bottle effect.
Lino changed the world of glass when he started to share his secrets. I started in the late 1960s in the studio movement, and we had no knowledge, we had to rediscover everything.
Lino grew up in Murano [Italy], learned all the secrets of glass, and started to share and explain everything. He made it so we could explode in the universe of glass, we could do all kinds of colors, incredible forms, develop new techniques, and have this new growth as an expression and art form.
One of the questions I asked him was about cane patterns that are used to decorate glass, have all the patterns been done? And he thought for a moment, and he said, “lots more.” Just a very simple, quick answer. And he actually collaborated then with Erik and I in designing software for our project called “Virtual Glass.” It’s for glassblowers throughout the world to design and expand their techniques.
It’s an honor for us to be exhibiting our work near Lino.