Vermont glass artist Ethan Bond-Watts has been selected to receive the set of 14 glassblowing tools donated to The Studio in memory of Elio Quarisa by Roberto Donà, toolmaker and owner of Carlo Donà.
In his thoughtful tribute, Ethan remembered the maestro’s words of encouragement.
You are my student. And now you will make the glass. And in the future, you will be the teacher and you will have students. You will teach for them like I teach for you. This is how we learn glass in Venice for a thousand years.” He pauses to let it sink in. “Now, it is your turn, in America.” He smiles, with pride, with humility.
The judges selected Ethan’s entry out of the thirty-two submissions received from artists across the world who shared their work along with stories and memories of the beloved teacher. In his submission, titled Il Maestro Mio Ethan shared great memories from Elio’s lessons on glass, and life.
“Proud, very proud,” Elio pulls back his shoulders and puffs up his chest. He lowers his chin, “but humble, always humble.” He is modeling the “drago,” the dragon that carries the cup on so many of his goblets. “For the swan,” he continues, “multo delicato,” this time it’s in the hands and wrists. He makes two dainty A-OK’s, and tilts them up as he lowers his arms, forming two tiny winglets at his waist. I am amazed at how convincingly a muscular 70-year-old Italian man can go into character as the mythological archetype of femininity and grace. “Please… I show you,” he silently whips an iron out of the pipe warmer. He takes his gather, the light and heat of the furnace make his face glow.
“His wonderful narrative of his experiences with Elio brought him alive for me again,” said one of the contest judges. “For the wonderful way he shared “Elio-isms,” through his numerous, sensitive description of Elio’s looking at glass, love and life, Ethan captured Elio’s essence. I think Elio would laugh and say “Bravo, Ethan.”
“I want to thank everyone who sent in their memories.” said Amy Schwartz, director of The Studio, “The community that Elio created through glass and teaching was special. It was a privilege to help students connect with Elio and I am glad to see that community continue on in his memory here at The Studio.”