Dante Marioni was exposed to and enamored of glassblowing by the age of 15, when he moved with his family to Seattle. The son of pioneering studio glass artist Paul Marioni, Dante received an intensive early training at Pilchuck School in Stanwood, Washington, working overtime to practice glassblowing. Here, he met Lino Tagliapietra, whom he credits as the greatest living glass artist, and whom he gratefully calls mentor. Marioni is strongly inspired by Benjamin Moore (some of his more monumentally tall and thin vases are created in Moore’s studio) and Richard Marquis (with whom he developed the mosaic technique).
By the late-1980s, Marioni could claim his own successful career, exhibiting in major galleries and museums such as the Bellevue Art Museum, Washington and the American Craft Museum, New York. In 1995, he was invited to the Clinton White House as part of an exhibition, and his work graced the cover of the accompanying publication, The White House Collection of American Crafts. In 2008, he had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. His works are part of major collections and museums throughout the world, including: the Corning Museum of Glass (NY); the Chrysler Museum (Norfolk, VA); the New Zealand National Museum of Art (Wellington); the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC); and the Yokohama Museum of Art (Japan).
Marioni’s work developed out of the Venetian tradition—both in form and method—with an elegance and whimsy that belies its technical excellence. His mosaic murrini vases were inspired by Venetian architect Carlos Scarpa who made objects for the Venini Factory by fusing tiles together and rolling them on the blowpipe. Marioni has also mastered reticello—a difficult decorative lace-like technique used in Murano in which two parts are fused together in an overlapping pattern, trapping little bubbles of air. What is unique about Marioni is his penchant for working in groups, creating still-life compositions of multiple variations on a theme. His groupings might be inspired by a form (like a Venetian pilgrim flask), a color (like a particularly attractive blue glass color bar), a pattern (like straight parallel lines), or an object (like an acorn).
He is still drawn to the studio first and foremost to practice glassblowing, attempting each day to do it well, create beauty, and bring something original to the art form. He loves the physical element of working with glass, the tension of creating the object from start to finish without stopping. That he gets to do so with a team of some of his closest friends is an added bonus.