MuranoNet meets the artists
Today we would like to introduce Maurizio Alfier, a very talented Murano glass artist.
It’s a sunny afternoon as we travel towards his atelier in the Venetian mainland and we are quite excited to meet the maestro. When we arrive, Mr Alfier welcomes us in his studio, surrounded his colourful artworks: paperweights, pendants, plates, sculptures, and murrine that he’s personally designed for his incredibly colourful creations.
Maurizio, let’s start this interview by telling to our readers who you are and when you’ve started working with Murano Glass.
I was born in Switzerland in 1962 from a Tuscan mother and a Venetian father. I would not say that my artistic career has followed the usual path: since I’ve always had skilful hands, when I was 20 I began working in Venice: I worked with Guerrino Lovato ( Guerrino Lovato is a great artisan that has worked for the restauration of the Fenice theatre in Venice, Ed. ) making decorations for sets and theatre masks.
You haven’t had an immediate contact with glass then.
Not at all. However, this period of my life has proven to be fundamental: learning the techniques for creating masks moulds has allowed me to develop new ideas and ways of reproducing certain details when I approached the Murano glass.
When has it happened then?
When I met my wife, Manuela Milan. Manuela had already learned to work with Murano glass from a family friend who is a master glassmaker. I was fascinated: it all started this way. I still remember that I spent a whole year experimenting with Murano glass to find the right ingredients, the right times, the right execution. I wanted to produce something original, innovative, with a high quality.
I have been experimenting with techniques such as fusing and slumping glass and since 1996 I create furnishing objects. Starting from that year, I have cooperated with many artists – such as Massimo Nordio and Mauro Eraldo – in the realization of their projects. These partnerships continue even today.
Definitely a jump ahead from that year of experiments!
Yes. The only way to get familiar with a material so fascinating as difficult – that is Murano glass – is working with it; a continuous process of trial and error that leads you to uncover its secrets and hone your technique.
What has led to the creation of Alfier Glass Studio in partnership with your wife?
In 2006 my wife and I we decided to make a change in our careers and co-found this enterprise in order to give life to our ideas, to our creations based on research, experimentation, reinterpretation of the Muranese tradition.
Experimentation, research, innovation… You often repeat these words.
Of course! Our goal is to always have the latest cutting edge technology available and to constantly innovate the design of our products. In this way we can offer original creations, abreast with the times, always different, all marked by a great production quality.
Well, let’s talk about your creations. Are them unique pieces?
The artistic pieces that I create, such as the sculptures, are unique. For canoes, gondolas, plates, paperweights, and small items it’s a different matter: they are made with a mould, so their shape is identical. What changes every time is the design of murine. These objects are similar but never identical.
What about your inspiration? Where does it come from?
My ideas come primarily from two sources: the fantastic products – for technique, shape, and colours – made by the greatest Murano glass masters, and the daily work experience that I have with glass. Plus my passion for always creating something new: I try to give a modern reinterpretation of the fusing technique, although it is known and used since the 30’s.
Maurizio, what would you recommend to an enthusiast who wanted to devote himself / herself to making glass objects?
Having in mind that working with glass involves certain difficulties is important.
But always remembering that these difficulties can be overcome with passion and continuous research. Hearken to your imagination!