Thomas Stearns (1936-2006) was the first American to design for Venini from 1959 to 1961. He won a on Fulbright Travel Grant, left Cranbrook Academy, and showed up in Murano with new ideas, but absolutely no knowledge of the Italian language. But, from this potentially disastrous situation grew a collection of ground-breaking designs that actually won the “Best of Show” award at the Venice Bienalle of 1962.
When the judges found out that the winner was not Italian, but a monolingual American, they actually rescinded the award. By then, however, it was pretty impossible to deny that Thomas Stearns had created something really special.
Stearns’ amazing designs proved too difficult to put into mass production, which made them even more special. There are only about 30 pieces total floating from collector to collector. So beautiful.