Thursday's Child: Murano glass

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Broken, the better to glitter.

Was that your intention,
to break apart just enough
to shine? What’s forged

without heat, or gleams without
a blush of poison?”


- from “Murano” by Mark Doty



Of the four classical elements, water is the one that defines Venice best. It's ironic, then, that the art for which Venice is best known is a product of fire and air.

Glass-making is the most important industry in Murano, a district of Venice made up of several islands connected by bridges. In the thirteenth century, all Venetian glassmakers were forced to resettle to Murano because of the risk of fire in the city. They soon formed a community on the island, and for many years were known for making the best glass in the world. In fact, artisans were prohibited from leaving the country, to prevent their specialized techniques from being copied elsewhere.

Many of today's glassmakers use the same techniques that have been passed down for generations. And they've taken advantage of their reputation by opening some of their factories and studios to visitors. When we were in Venice, we took a water taxi to visit one of the factories, and enjoyed seeing the stages of the process, including heating and colouring the glass, and shaping it by blowing or by using hand tools. These artisans work in incredibly hot temperatures - even watching the process from a safe distance was steamy. We were amused to see this artisan light a cigarette off the hot, malleable glass.

"Always
the fate of the maker,
to become what's made."

- from "Murano" by Mark Doty

19 comments:

Julia said...

Wow, love that glass vase in your first photo - what a beautiful pattern. It's very nice to know the history behind this kind of piece of art. Thank you! :)

Daniela Grimburg said...

Murano glass is so delicate and elegant and the Venetian tradition of the art of glass making is amazing.
Beautiful post Beth!

bakewithjill.com said...

It would be so neat to see the factory in person. I have a tiny Murano bowl that a friend brought back for me, and it's beautiful.

Guru Uru said...

That glass vase is gorgeous, I love the colours melding together :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Jessica Lawson said...

Glass-making fascinates me~ I've watched several shows about it and never cease to be amazed!

Chris Scheuer said...

That vase is magnificent! So cool that the art is still alive!

Julie said...

Beautiful What a wonderful place to visit. On my bucket list!!

bamskitchen said...

Gorgeous vase! I have always wanted to take a glass blowing course and they have one in Hong Kong. You have given me incentive to give it a try.

Barbara said...

Never saw anything as lovely as the glass when I was in Venice. Nice post!

Gloria Baker said...

Love Murano glass is absolutely beautiful!!!

Angie Schneider said...

The glass vase looks indeed very beautiful!
Thanks for sharing, Beth.
Happy Sunday!
Angie

Kathy said...

I would love to visit Murano glass! Your vase is gorgeous! Even though I’ve never been there...my aunt brought me back a lovely little vase when she went over to Italy, many years ago! Very interesting post!

Valerie Gamine said...

Lovely poetry, as usual. I'm green with envy over your stunning vase!

Elzbieta Hester said...

I have a pair of earrings made of the murano glass...Nice story, thanks! :) ela

Mary @ The World Is A Book said...

What a beautiful vase. Thanks for taking me back to this lovely island. We did a tour of a glass factory too and it was amazing how they created some of these masterpieces. I wish I had enough room in my suitcase and money to buy so many of those treasures.

Michele {Malaysian Meanders} said...

That vase is captivating. I hope you bought it to remind you of your trip. I've always wanted to try blowing glass. It seems like it would take a lot of lung power, though, and be quite hot.

Roz Corieri Paige said...

I will be in Venice in 2 months and am going to re-read and re-read this post for advice! I cannot wait to visit Murano, even if I cannot afford any of this magnificent glass!

Murano Glass said...

Murano glass is a gift to the humankind. From Murano glass vase and sculptures to jewellery, table lamps and plates, every item is just a glaring example of topnotch craftsmanship in practice for the last 8 centuries. Hope this glass art tradition will continue forever. Lots of thanks for the post, Beth!

authenticmuranoglass said...

I definitely recommend to visit the glass museum in Murano if you really want to discover the history of Murano glass. The museum take the visitor through several hundreds of history explaining every single art glass in terms of technique, color end master-glass family. I visited it twice and every time I discovered something new.

Post a Comment