For the month of September, the Livingston Public Library’s display case is exhibiting the luminous and exquisite glass works of Leonardo DiNardo, a local artist who works in glass.
His studio is at the Riker Hill Art Park in Livingston where he arrived in autumn 1985 and has been producing his magnificent works at that location ever since.
“I love creating beautiful pieces. When you get involved with something so much, it becomes a part of your soul, the essence of your being” says DiNardo.
DiNardo is an ex-Marine who served for 5 years and for a year in Vietnam. After the Marine Corps, DiNardo returned to his hometown of Newark and attended the former Newark State College, where he received a degree in industrial arts.
He worked for a few years as a shop teacher at Watchung HIlls Regional HS, but he soon became interested in glass making, and left teaching to open a stained-glass studio and retail shop in Scotch Plains. To further his skills in glass making he closed his shop and trained at schools that specialized in glass blowing such as the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and the Pilchuck Glass Center in Stanhope Washington.
He met a Swedish glass designer Ann Warf, who was visiting glass making centers in the United States, and who persuaded him to return with her to Sweden and became her assistant. He lived in Sweden for a year, working and teaching at Orrefors and Kosta Boda glass factories and mastering his craft.
The process of glassblowing is tedious. After the crystal has been heated, cooled and then reheated in 3 different furnaces until it is just the right temperature and texture, the glass is ready to be blown into various shapes and sizes. Says DiNardo” You blow into the pipe in order to expand and enlarge it, and how you hold your hand and how much pressure you put allows you to form it into basic shapes like a teardrop or a cylindrical shape”-
DiNardo and his assistant make 4-10 pieces a day at the studio, including glass bowls, plates,intricately designed bottles and paperweights, which he then sells at craft shows, galleries and out of his studio. He also restores crystal and stained glass windows. He bends glass and makes curved glass for special lighting and architectural purposes.
DiNardo has shown his works at notable galleries such as the Heller in Manhattan, the Glass Veranda in Boston, and at prestigious craft events like the Rhinebeck Craft Fair and the Morristown CraftMarket. He won first place at the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in 2010 and 2014.
Glassblowing is an arduous process and something can go wrong at every stage, but for Mr Dinardo the rewards compensate for the disappointments and loss.
“When you get a perfect piece, there’s just no other feeling like it.”
Be sure to stop by the library and check out this wonderful display!
-Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services Librarian