HARD ROCK HANKY by STRIULLI A. VETRI D'ARTE
The defining feature of this "handkerchief" vase is the transparency of the crystal glass, completely clear and smooth, in which the typical murrine of Murano tradition are embedded, like tiny pictures of Venetian life.
The sizes of each piece are indicative, as small variations may occur due to their hand-crafted nature, which makes them unique and unrepeatable.
The same collection also includes a colourful tableware set. Like all products born from the craftsmanship of Murano glassmaking masters, their dimensions may vary slightly due to their hand-crafted nature.
Glass-blowing, which most likely originated in Syria between the first century BC and the first century AD, is a glass manufacturing technique that revolutionized glass production times by significantly speeding them up. This may be defined as the "classic" technique for creation of hollow objects.
Glass can be mouth-blown or mould-blown. In the first instance the master, aided by his assistants, shapes the object by blowing through a long hollow metal tube, the so-called "blow-pipe".
The glass is picked up from the center of the oven, blown and shaped by use of a "borsella", a pair of flexible tongs that can accomplish different tasks depending on their shape. Indeed, the borsella can be used to pinch the object, narrow it, remove imperfections, open it up or give it a precise shape.
During this work, the pipe is countinuously spun to avoid warping the glass, as it is still soft at this stage and can be warped by gravity.
Mould-blowing, on the other hand, involves blowing the glass into a mould which, in Murano, is built out of pear wood. It can be made out of two or three hinged pieces, used to shape the object, or by a single truncated conical piece, sometimes made of bronze or brass, used to imprint a decorative pattern onto the object.
"MURRINO" GLASS or HOT-WORKED MOSAIC
The hot-worked glass mosaic is based upon glass canes; they are produced in very few furnaces, due to the complexity of its manufacturing.
The master picks up a cylindrical mass of molten glass (the "paston") with the cane-making rod, and joins it to a smaller blob (the "conzaura") attached to a short rod. He then hands over one of the rods to his assistant, then they slowly walk away from each other lengthening the glass rope.
As the glass quickly cools, they carefully set down the hardened cane onto rough wooden boards on the floor. The evenness of the cane depends exclusively on the superior craftsmanship of the master. A special type of cane is called "millefiori"; it is a hollow or solid cane composed of concentric multicoloured layers which, in cross-section, form a typical star- or flower-shaped pattern.
These canes are produced by filling open moulds in succession, creating each pattern by layers of different-coloured glass. The finished cane is used by cutting into small segments and arranged onto a horizontal metallic plate, coated with purified lagoon-marsh mud -- this is the only substance able to isolate melting glass from metal. The arrangement is melted inside an oven and picked up for further processing, usually blowing and shaping with tongs. It is this initial procedure that determines the pattern and size of the object, whether one uses solid canes, geometric plates, filigree or aventurine, and creates an infinite variety of unique products.