This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘glass’

More Shops in Venice

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 12, 2017

As a follow-up to my earlier posting, unusual shops in Venice, I’m posting some more shop windows and displays.

In a glass shop in the sestiere of San Marco, I found this chess set showing Ashkenazi vs. Sephardi Jews. I’m not sure this set would be very functional because the pawns are different designs and you would need to agree, in advance, on whether a Jew holding a palm branch or a Torah scroll is a bishop or a knight. Some stores have lights in their display windows that interfere with cellphone photography (the lighting turns bright pink or purple), but DSLRs are not affected.


I bought this vase in a small glass shop in the San Polo sestiere. It’s probably a knock-off because it’s so cheap (25 euros = 100 NIS); the clerk said it was the last one in that design. Although I looked in lots of glass stores, I saw very few asymmetric teardrop vases, and the ones I did see were half the size, twice as expensive, and not as beautiful. The design is similar to the work of Vetreria Artistica Oball in the sommerso (“submerged”) technique. It’s 10 inches high and weighs about a kilo. The seller packed it in bubble-wrap and newspaper and sealed it in a sturdy, sealed carton. I shlepped it around Italy in my suitcase and hand-carried it on the flight back. The photo was taken when I got home. I love the clean, elegant lines and jewel colors of this piece.

Vase from Venice

All Saints’ Day is a public holiday in Italy, but who knew that they celebrated Hallowe’en with Jack o’lantern and bat cookies? Bakery in San Polo, Venice.

2016-10-28 12.12.47.jpg

These dishes with three-dimensional sculpted mice and pigs are adorable. I’m sure they’re decorations. If you were to eat off them, you’d have a tough time getting the food out of the crevices and you’d probably chip an ear or a snout.


Everyone needs a gondola kit. Gondolier and velvet upholstery not included. They got the shape right–a gondola is asymmetrical. Because the oar is plied from one side of the gondola, that side is less curved, so that it will glide in a straight line.

2016-10-30 09.04.35.jpg

I would have loved a cheerful ceramic spoon rest for my kitchen counter, but there was a limit to how many breakable objects I was willing to carry.


Torrone morbido (soft nougat) is a traditional Italian Christmas confection made from honey/glucose, beaten egg whites and lots of nuts. Here’s a recipe for a large quantity, with a video, Jamie Oliver’s version (requires you to wave a blowtorch around the metal mixing bowl during whisking), a beautifully photographed recipe that makes smaller quantities, and an extremely simple Sardinian torrone that requires only three ingredients: nuts, honey, and a couple egg whites. The commercial torrone have food coloring added. The homemade versions are extremely pale or white.


Posted in Italy, photography, travel | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Murano, Island of Glass

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 8, 2012

Glass flowers, Murano

Murano, although thought of as an island in the Venetian lagoon, is actually a string of islands joined by bridges. Today it is best known for its glass-making. If you’re going to be in Venice for a few days, it’s worth a trip.

The photos above and below are planter boxes filled with glass flowers.

Glass flowers, Murano



Window, Murano

Glass Sculptures, Murano

Glass Sculptures, Murano

The Santa Maria e San Donato Cathedral is one of the oldest in the area. Parts of the building date back to the seventh century. Saint Donato of Arrezo, the patron saint of the church, was a fourth century martyr. I’m sorry we didn’t think to go inside because we missed the dragon bones! Yes, there are four large bones hung on wires behind the altar, the ribs of a dragon that the saint killed by spitting. Apparently the bones are too large to be those of cattle. Here’s a photo from the blog of an English Catholic priest.

Santa Maria and San Donato Cathedral, Murano

Of course I always have to photograph a few doors and walls…

Blue Door, Murano

Most of the Murano Museum of Glass was closed for renovations when we were there last month but a few rooms were open. Below is a photo of an amazing 19th century miniature garden made entirely of glass. It was commissioned by one of the doges as a dining table centerpiece and covers an area about the size of a ping-pong table.

19th Century Glass Centerpiece, Murano

Below is a smaller glass centerpiece, of a similar date.

19th Century Glass Centerpiece, Murano

We stopped at Vetreria Rossetto Estevan to watch a lamp-working demonstration. A glass artist carefully teased a molten lump of glass into a graceful horse, reheating the glass when it cooled, to soften it. I found something funny when I did a Google search on this vetreria and found some photos on Flickr taken three years ago — different artist, same glass horses!

Glass Demonstration, Murano

Glass Demonstration, Murano

Glass Demonstration, Murano

Glass Demonstration, Murano

Glass Demonstration, Murano

Posted in Italy, photography | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dale Chihuly at the Litvak Gallery, Tel Aviv

Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 3, 2011

Chihuly, Garnet Persian Set

One of the most challenging things, I find, about photographing a gallery exhibit is coming up with photos that don’t look like the catalogue. The photo above is a view of a row of Chilhuly’s vases, across the hall, seen through one of the shells of the Garnet Persian Set, which was set up in a small dark room.

The photo below shows the whole installation. Because the room was so small, I took three photos and stitched them together.

Dale Chihuly, Garnet Persian Set

It was tricky to photograph in that setting but very beautiful.

Chihuly, Garnet Persian Set

The Kaleidescope Persian window installation was also very difficult because the gallery was fairly dark. Incidentally, because this was a gallery, not a museum, the pieces have price tags. This installation can be yours … for 6,185,600 NIS (a little over $1,781,000 US)! That works out to just over 100,000 NIS per plate.

Chihuly, Kaleidoscope Persian Window

Dale Chihuly, Litvak Gallery

Some of the pieces were outdoor installations — very difficult to photograph because the balcony was small and in the shadow of the building. I did a hand-held HDR shot of the blue icicle tree. It’s followed by a single photo to give you a better idea of what it looked like without HDR.

Chihuly, Blue Icicle Tree, HDR

Chihuly, Blue Icicle Tree

Dale Chihuly, Vases

Dale Chihuly, Lapis & Gold Chandelier

Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly, Drawings

Chihuly, Reflection of Kaleidescope Window

Dale Chihuly

More photos from the exhibit are in my Flickr set.

Admission is 48 NIS, includes audio guide in English or Hebrew. Litvak Gallery, Museum Tower, 4 Berkovitz Street, Tel Aviv, is near the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, about 15 minutes walk from Arlozoroff Station. Exhibit on view through April 20, 2011. Gallery hours: Mon-Thur 10:00-21:00; Fri 09:00-14:00; Sat 17:00-21:30; Sun closed. Photography permitted.

Posted in photography | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »