In 1979 Dante Marioni lived in Seattle, Washington, with his family in a converted building that was once home to the telephone company. In the summer, his father, the artist Paul Marioni, would drive him and a few high school friends north to the forests of the Cascade foothills, where a growing community of artists gathered at Pilchuck Glass School. Marioni began to blow glass at Pilchuck, and he soaked up the communal environment.
Marioni’s mentor was Lino Tagliapietra, who taught him the centuries-old traditions of Venetian glass blowing. His father was friends with artists such as Richard Marquis and Benjamin Moore, who were happy to coach Dante. Marioni’s uncles, the sculptor Tom Marioni and the painter Joseph Marioni, were also influential.
“I did not want to be a glass artist,” Marioni says. “I wanted to be a glass blower. I wanted to do it all the time and get as good as I could at it. I had a singular pursuit the way a rock climber might, or a golfer.”
His hard work paid off. In 1993 the Clinton administration put together a collection of American craft. Marioni was invited to participate, and when his work ended up on the cover of a book of the collection, his career took off.
Marioni conceived this series during a trip to Australia, the home of the gum tree, which is a species of eucalyptus with long, narrow leaves.
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