I saw a great collection of Art Deco Venetian glass in a Venetian palazzo that I'd never seen before, and I was stunned at how unbelievably innovative and beautiful these pieces from the 1920s and '30s were. I thought when Lino [Tagliapietra] came next summer, I would have him make these for me. 

I would pretend that I was adesigner in the 1920s and make these eccentric pieces with reds and blacks and golds and greens-and handles.After a couple of days the pieces became much more involved. It wasn't long before something started to happen. It opened first in the drawings....around the fourth or fifth day I started to make bold drawings in charcoal.

The series started a drastic change from rather refined classical shapes to very bizarre pieces: handles ch anged to knots, prunts became claws, colors went from subtle to bright, big leaves and feathers appeared.The big Venetians are such a technical tour de force you're limited to what you can do if you are working in this huge scale. There's a lot of things you can't do—it's just too big to handle. We were working so big we were sort of restricting ourselves. I decided we'd go all the way back and make them small again. I call them the Piccolo Venetians. —Chihuly