Ermanno Nason was born on July 21st, 1928 on Murano. He belonged to one of the most ancient families on the island, dating back historically to the year 1300. His grandfather, his father, his uncles and his brothers all lived, breathed and worked with glass. They were all excellent masters who designed and reproduced glass beautifully. “Pasta de vero dentro al serveo, questo gera i Nason”, a family born and bred with glass in their head. “You have to start working at a very young age if you want to be good at this job”.
This was the theory that the masters upheld, and without a doubt young Ermanno followed the rule: at the age of 7, he stood on the threshold of his father Italo “Otello”‘s glass studio, Nason & Zaniol (better known as “I Due Foscari”). “I was still in elementary school when I started working, Nason explained. My passion for glass was such that I could not help spending every afternoon after school in my father’s furnace. I would watch him work, tired and sweaty, but happy.
I later learned the basic steps, such as pulling the glass out of the kiln, which looked like the mouth of Hell to me. The red-hot material was very heavy and it was hard to keep it balanced. The glass was as fluid as water and yet the Master Glassblowers were able to pull it out of the furnace, lift it up in the air – with the typical motions they excel at – and shape it into a thousand different shapes. There were people walking everywhere, opening glass bubbles to form plates and many other different objects. It was… incredible.”
Little by little, he fell in love with his work and his dedication grew; he left school and divided his time between the workshop and the Scuola per Apprendisti Vetrai “Abate Zanetti”, the night school for apprentice glassblowers directed at the time by Vittorio Zecchin, which he attended to learn how to draw. But it was the furnace I.V.R. Mazzega that gave the Maestro one of the most extraordinary experiences of his life. “At that time, I was the head Maestro at Mazzega. One morning a gentleman, whom no one knew at the time, came to the shop with a folder full of drawings. He showed them to us and asked whether it was possible to make these pieces in glass.
The drawings were extraordinary, innovative and incredibly original. But when I read the signatures of the artists, I was dumbfounded: they were all internationally renowned artists and the gentleman in question was Egidio Costantini”. That was the beginning of his cooperation with the “Centro Studio Pittori Arte del Vetro”, a project conceived by Costantini, which produced remarkable works by Renato Guttuso, Lucio Fontana, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, Oscar Kokoschka, Jean Le Witt, Georges Braque, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Luciano Minguzzi, Henry Moore, to name just a few.