Masters: Dante Marioni

Masters: Dante Marioni

Dante Marioni Portrait

Photo: Birthe Piontek

Dante Marioni hesitates when you ask him what he’s most proud of. “There are obvious things that happened that were a big deal,” he says – when his work was selected for the White House Collection of American Crafts in 1993, for example, or being in the last “Young Americans” exhibition in 1988. “But I always take it with a grain of salt when something amazing happens.”

Instead, the 48-year-old wants to stress how lucky he’s been. To have discovered a passion so early, as a teen working at the Glass Eye, a glassblowing studio in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. To have had the support of family and friends – among them, glass artists Richard Marquis, Lino Tagliapietra, Benjamin Moore, and Paul Marioni (his father). To have emerged in the 1980s, during an explosion of interest in the medium. To have the world-class Pilchuck Glass School so close to the city.

“I don’t know anybody, personally, who’s been as lucky as me,” Marioni says.

Yet interlaced with all that good fortune and good timing are other elements: hard work, for one, and energy and vision. “I think it’s important to consider that you want to contribute something to the vocabulary of forms, in this case, blown glass forms,” he says. “I want to make something that hasn’t necessarily been made. It might look a little bit like something that’s been made, because just about everything I’ve done has some frame of reference. But you have to make it yours.”