Italian Glass Blowers

Dec 22, 2012

RAY: For centuries the world has been astounded by both the art and artisanry of Italian glass blowers of the Renaissance. In fact, glass making was such a secret that they even moved the artists to the island of Murano near Venice.

While many of these artists' creations have found their way to museums and private collections in virtually every corner of the world, many did not. And even for those with many years of training in this art form success was often elusive. And when these artists of that era would fail in their attempts to create something of beauty, they would save these lacklustre works to serve as a reminder of the fact that they messed up. Maybe there was a flawed technique or some inattention to detail.

These artists often referred to these substandard works of art, these disappointments, these failures, as 'bottles.'

-- Hey, Giacomo, what's a thatta you make?

-- Eh, it's just a bottle.

We use this Italian word for 'bottle' in the English language. In fact we use it intact, unchanged. Except in English, it does not mean 'bottle.' Rather its meaning is derived from its use by those Italian glass blowers.

The question is, what's the word?

Here's a little hint: The word is a common English word that's often been used by many in association with this very program!

RAY: If you were in a little wine bar in Italy, someone might ask you if you would like a bottle of wine. Those little bottles of wine are sometimes covered with straw. They would ask you if you wanted a, "fiasco de vino."

TOM: A flask!

RAY: Right. A fiasco is, was, and still is a bottle. But, as we know it's an utter failure as well. Just like our show. Do we have a winner?

TOM: Our winner this week is Joanne Ericsson from Auclair, Wisconsin. Congratulations, Joanne!

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