6.09.2008

Murano Glass and the Italians

The age of glassworking is unknown, but it is said to pre-date the birth of Christ. The long-lived techniques spread throughout the ancient world, from Japan to North Africa. We know the techniques spread through Italy, because the Romans were known for making some significant changes to the original designs of furnaces and kilns. They were the first to add more exhaust vents and more options for side access to these kilns. They are also responsible for refining and experimenting with tools.

The Italian achieved the highest technical achievement than anyone else in the world, and in 1291, they were sent to Murano due to the fire hazards of Glasswork. Murano is located off the shore of Venice, Italy.

As Europe entered the Renaissance, a new use for glass was developed. Angelo Barovier, working in Murano, invented Crystallo, a clear soda glass in 1450 AD. There was a new need for clear durable vessels as chemical science was developing. This was the best glass for the job. The pipe glassblowing technique wasn't suitable for making these small objects. It was discovered that forcing a small narrow stream of air into a flame from an oil lamp created sufficient heat to work with the small pieces of glass. By the beginning of the fifteenth century this technique was spread throughout Europe and Lampworking was born.

Murano glassmakers monopolized quality glassmaking for centuries, developing and refining techniques of various types of glass, including, crystalline glaass, enamelled glass, glass with threads of gold, mulitcolored glass, milk glass and imitation gemstones made of glass. Now, there are more brands of glass, but everyone learned from the Italians, the Murano is still the epicenter of the most prizes glasswork around.

Today, Murano is a destination for tourist and glass and jewelry lovers, and visitors only need to take a short boat ride for a visit. The artists are still using their original techniques they developed and crafting everything from paper weights, figurines, wine stoppers, glass jewelry, and large glass sculptures. So if you take a trip to Venice, Italy, remember to visit the island of Murano. You can take a free boat ride to the island, as the glass company;s will sponsor your visit. Just be ready to be subjected to some high-pressure salesman in the showrooms. It's worth it.

Kincaidesigns' use of Italian Glass
At Kincaidesigns, we use the Moretti and Bullseye glass for the lampwork glass beads. Moretti glass is the famous Italian brands, also known as Effetre Glass. In my opinion, Moretti is the superior of any art glass I've used, followed by Bullseye glass. Between the two brands, the color palette is extensive.

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