Murano, Italy

March 2017: Murano, an island on the lagoon of Venice, has been home to the world’s top art glassmakers since the late 13th century, when the threat of fire led officials to force them out of the main city.

During a recent trip to Venice, Jill and I toured the New Murano Gallery, where we saw a master craftsman demonstrate how to turn incandescent matter into works of art. (Note: Craftsman serve as apprentices for 10 years before they receive the “master” certification.) Afterward, we toured the 2,500-square-foot gallery, where you can see beautiful sculptures, vases, chandeliers and glasses that cost a pretty penny.

What made the trip interesting, in addition to the beautiful work, was the opportunity to “create” pieces of art on my own. The salesman asked those on the tour not to take pictures, citing copyrights, but I asked if I could photograph the inside of some of the more colorful vases. My point was that these photos would create abstracts that in no way showed or displayed the artists’ craftsmanship in a way that violated the copyright.

At that point, the salesman agreed to let me take photos, hoping in some way I’m sure to spark a sale. (And he made one — four wine glasses that we purchased in honor of my wife’s birthday.)

If you’re ever in Venice, it’s worth the trip to see one of the galleries. Like every city that caters to tourists, there’s always the question of whether what you’re getting is fake, overpriced, or some combination thereof. I viewed it as a win-win-win — the salesman got a sale, Jill got some beautiful glasses that she loves, and I got some beautiful images that I consider works of art, too.

What do you think?