Murano is world renown for blown glass, and since I just finished A Hotel in Venice, and the story deals with the intrigues of blown glass, ancient formulas and secrecy. I thought I’d share a visit to a Murano furnace with you.
Murano is 30 minutes by vaporetto (ferry) or a 15 minute water taxi ride from Venice. Murano has been in the glass business since the 13th Century. Afraid of fires, the political leaders of Venice, moved the furnaces to Murano.
The concierge at the hotel was able to arrange a private visit to the Schiavon Art Team. I have seen a working furnace before that was geared toward the tourists straight off the boat or the ferry, as it were, and I have stopped in many Murano and Venetian tourists shops, glass is always for sale. From little tourist trinkets, vases, lamps to magnificent chandeliers that cost thousands of Euros.
For the most part the pieces are pretty similar in the shops, and geared toward the tourist trade. This furnace had some spectacular pieces of art.
I was totally unprepared for the sheer beauty and originality of the work, contemporary glass art work that came to life when properly lit. I loved every piece I saw, they were not the common pieces sold everywhere you turned, but unique pieces with astounding colors and textures. Terrific variation of African baskets with dark reds, black and tan deep opaque colors that if not touched would pass for a woven basket. The work is sublime.
Not only was I able to watch a master glass blower at work, I was also allowed to take all the pictures I wanted. Starting with the furnaces, the annealing area or drying room, polishing room and the galleries. The host and designer and master blower-that is rather a rare combination-was willing to answer my questions, and assured me that secrecy still prevailed in the design and processes involved.
Some were custom pieces ordered by individual clients and businesses, but there were many pieces for sale in the gallery upstairs, as well as a gallery down the street from the furnace that is open to the public.
It takes many years to become a master blower, and it is incredibly hard work. Try blowing through a tube and shape a piece of molten glass. If it’s your first try, your face will turn beet red from the effort-but the master blower makes it look effortless.
The visit was a most memorable and inspirational experience, one I will always cherish, that being said-I want to go back and revisit.
I have included a few pictures, hope you will find then as incredible and beautiful as I did.
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Fire Within