MURANO, Italy - On this island a mile north of Venice, tourists arrive by the boatload to visit the famed glassmaking studios and galleries. Though the shops vary from low-end to high, most of them quickly blend together. The studio-gallery of Luigi Camozzo, however, is an island apart. So are the master engraver's prices, but if you can't afford his museum-quality work, ranging from $250 to $7,500 and up, don't let that stop you from looking.
You'll probably find Camozzo, 56, in his small workspace at the back of the shop doing what he's famous for: using an assortment of diamond, copper, and stone-engraving wheels to transform handblown glass vessels into works of art. By cutting, marking, and carving into the glass surface, Camozzo adds texture and depth to each piece. He works his magic on everything from modern sculpture to antique stemware, including paper-thin English and Bohemian crystal.
The master doesn't speak English, but his friendly apprentice, Amy West, who hails from Kansas City, Mo., and has lived around the world, will be happy to explain the fascinating history and techniques of glass engraving and also show you her own glass- and beadwork.
Luigi Camozzo Studio Galleria, Fondamenta Venier Sebastiano 3, 011-39-041-736-875.