LEONARDO Black Goblet by SEGUSO GIANNI
Goblets are some of the most classic and valuable products in Murano glass-making. The glass goblet is the tangible representation of timeless luxury straight from the princely courts of Europe. Its presence is seen in all of human history, from legends, to tragedies, to magic, to historical events, each Murano glass goblet is a small masterpiece. Leonardo is an extraordinary product and is amazing for both its exquisite decoration, and its incredible lightness: the ethereal weight of a feather in your hands. The decoration on the stem is unique, born from the creativity of the master glassmaker. Its clear stem is in “zanfirico” filigree, while cup and base are black blown glass. Due to its exquisite features, this classic Murano glass goblet is for display purposes only, and is not suitable for food or drink.
SEGUSO GIANNI Srl
Generation after generation, the Seguso family keeps the art of glass alive. Gianni Seguso, owner of the art glass workshop by the same name, remembers his debut alongside his father: "I had the blessing to grow professionally with him, he could make anything, and even became drinking-glass master at the age of sixteen! In his later years, he would produce any sort of object, including glass sculptures designed by famous artists, but especially magnificent chandeliers".
These few statements capture the work philosophy of Gianni Seguso, who now works in the furnace with his son Marco. Even though many of this furnace's creations are excellent examples of classic style (one for all, the prestigious "Ca' Rezzonico" style chandeliers), much energy is also devoted to searching for new shapes and ideas.
This is how the ancient heart of tradition, represented by the careful ritualistic movements that are cherished as crucial inheritance of the old masters, is joined to a desire for creativity and constant renewal, to breathe new life into the thousand-year old art of Murano glass. Along the lines of this philosophy, the new line of jewellery GioVe was born within the furnace, to breathe new life into this ancient tradition.
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.
GOLD OR SILVER LEAF
Precious metal leaves are extremely thin sheets of metal, usually made of pure gold or silver. In glassmaking, the imperceptibly light leaves need to be kept in a sheltered area of the furnace workshop, as even a breath might blow them away.
The gold or silver leaf is gently arranged on a flat surface by the master, who then rolls the incandescent blob over the leaf to pick it up; the metal leaf adheres perfectly to the surface of the glass, which is now ready to be blown. Upon blowing, the sheet of precious metal splits to spread over the entire surface of the glass object.
The final product therefore appears to be covered in a fine gold or silver dust.
Filigree is a type of glass featuring thin, opaque, white "lattimo" glass threads: depending on the position of these filaments, the patterns take on different names. The three classic filigree patterns are: "a retortoli", when the threads are twisted together almost to mimic fabric (also called "zanfirico"); "a reticello", when the filaments are criss-crossed forming a small web, usually with bubble inclusions; and the "mezza filigrana", where the threads are arranged diagonally.
To create a twisted filigree, the master glassmaker sets up thin clear rods with spiralling white or coloured threads running through them, placing the segments of the rods side by side to form a rectangle. This arrangement is then melted in the oven to form a rectangle, which is then rolled into a cylinder and sealed at both ends. At this point the master can blow the artefact and shape the final product.
The half filigree is obtained by the same initial procedure, except the threads within the clear rods run linearly rather than in a spiral. Once the cylinder is ready, the master twists it to impart a diagonal direction to the parallel strands. If two half-filigreed objects are blown one inside the other, with strands running in opposite directions, the effect is that of a fine web, the "reticello". Since the surfaces of the two blown objects are still wavy at the time of bonding, each crossing of the mesh traps a tiny bubble, adding to the decorative effect.