Glass of Venice: Art, Technique and Secrets of the Glass Masters

The art and the techniques of the ancient glass working of Venice

Glass working techniques have different names, and knowing these names will help you understand the secrets behind the product and the hard work of the master who brought it to finish.

Below you will have a list of technical names that you will find in our products in the catalog, learn the art of glass through the right terms.
Blown: as the name suggests, the artisans expand and shape the glass, blowing air into a long metal barrel connected to it, as the millennial tradition of glassmaking dictates.
This ancient action, combined with the experience and skill of glass masters, transforms simple glass into true artistic masterpieces, one of a kind.

Decorations: it is chosen during the design phase of the work and can range from a customization of the glass edge to the inclusion of precious gold leaves in the transparency of the glass. In practice, these are the applications hot added by the master on the surface of the object, to make it unique, precious and inimitable. 

 the craftsman uses a metal mold, with small pyramid-shaped points with a square base along the entire internal surface of its circumference.
In blowing, the glass completely fills the void and gives a particular optical effect of crossed relief.

Pinecone: the master begins by using a metal mold with an evocative shape, with small pyramid-shaped tips with a square base along its entire internal surface. In the blowing, the metal expresses a cross relief effect on the glass.

Beaten : this is the technique where the skill and experience of a craftsman are put to the test. Characterized by a surface carved by hand, thanks to a grinding wheel, in order to make countless small apparently irregular signs.

Flying hand: this expression indicates the agile and expert movement of the hand of the master glassmaker in the hot working of a precious glass.

Pulegoso: a frothy paste is obtained, full of irregular air bubbles, given by the union of the melted paste with a substance that causes this reaction. Pulegoso is rarer in lighting, even if, due to the effect of the light, it allows to obtain remarkable chromatic effects.

Rods: they can be single-colored or formed with glass pastes of different colors, transparent or opaque, for infinite variations. The glass element is drawn and circular in section. The reeds are usually joined together to be melted and blown. The result is an object of further value, due to the final effect and the difficulty of execution.

Incalmo: consists in the hot coupling of two shapes blown along their circumference, so as to obtain in the same object the suggestive meeting of differentiated areas and, usually, of different colors. This is considered one of the most complicated processes.

Fasce: on a generally transparent central body a pattern of colored threads, more precisely called “Fasce”, is hot cast.
After having carefully mixed them with it, it covers everything with a very thin layer of crystal, thus obtaining an irregular and highly effective chromatic design.

Engraved: it is performed with a hard stone grinding wheel, with which the cold surface of the almost finished object is engraved, following the artist's drawing with absolute precision.

Murrine: among the oldest, it even dates back to Roman times, recovered in Murano at the beginning of the eighth decade of the nineteenth century. It consists in the union of glass rods of various colors in a pre-established design. The whole is then heated to form a single barrel, which is precisely cut into small discs. Arranged in a precise order, they are then heated, worked and blown to obtain the final shape of the object.

Submerged: starting from a blown or solid glass, it allows to obtain multiple superimposed layers of different colors with a suggestive color effect. The glass attached to a barrel is immersed in crucibles containing glass of different colors. Sometimes, to increase the decorative effect between the layers of glass, the master inserts inclusions of gold leaf, other metals or with air bubbles.

Rigadin: it is a decoration obtained by blowing the glass ball into a mold, usually of bronze, which has triangular section grooves. The glass inside the mold becomes ribbed and, if it is additionally twisted, it becomes the twisted Rigadin.

7 Points to Make the Realization of a Glass Work Unique

1st - Design and study of the project

The Venetian glass designers outline the models on paper that will then be made by the hands of our master craftsmen. The designs can resume the classic Venetian tradition or propose new ideas and styles. The limit is only in the mind of the creator.

2 ° Choice and use of valuable and quality materials

Only by choosing a noble material from which glass will then be obtained can one expect to create an authentic work of art.
The artisans prepare the glass paste in fusion at 1500 ° C and select the powders for coloring. It is a crucial moment for the success of the product and nothing can be left to chance.

3rd Decision of the technique used

The technique to be used for the realization of our work has already been decided in the project, since the master will have to know every step and secret to create the work at its best.

4 ° Shaping the work

This passage is the best known one where the experience and the skills of the teacher are the masters. Typically in Venice, the passages that give the glass the shapes and characteristics we desired in the project are also admired live.
An authentic, artisanal knowledge, preserved for a millennium in the city of Venice and handed down from generation to generation up to the present day.

5th Improvement: Coloring and Decoration

The skilled hands of the master craftsmen slowly perfect their work by creating patterns and harmonies by hand according to the required finishes. Flowers, leaves, curls in glass "bloom" also in different colored glazes embellishing the finished work.

6 ° Tempera and Grinding

The product is still hot and is placed for many hours in the "tempera", a long cooling oven, until its temperature has dropped making it ready for grinding. In this last phase the artisans smooth and finish the glass surfaces bringing the work to completion.

7. Quality control

The final checks are carried out to make sure that everything is perfectly in order, we move on to safe and super resistant packaging.
Et voilà we have our glass product ready and finished.

The Master of Glass - The craftsman par excellence

A master is born from the knowledge of those who worked glass before him, so art from year to year, century after century grows, develops and acquires body, will and technique.
In the world of glass there are no schools, only teachers: the oldest glass masters, custodians of a knowledge that is handed down only by word and deed. To protect its secrets.
So much so that at the time of the Republic of the Serenissima the glassmakers were authorized to enjoy privileges and immunities out of the ordinary, but obliged to never leave the Republic, in order to maintain their knowledge between Murano and Venice.
Over the centuries the masters have gone beyond the borders of the Venetian territory, without however abandoning the traditions of a trade suspended between artistic sensitivity and manual skills, of which only those who understand the perfect balance are destined to become a master.

La Fornace: Place where glass is born and takes shape

This place represents for many not a workplace but a home, a factory of creative stimuli that brings each day to the peak of one's inner self. The glass master is as much a craftsman as an artist and as an artist he needs to express what he has inside and he is able to do it through glass. The processing of it can be compared to the telling of a story, it has a beginning, a phase in which it takes shape and an end, often with moral. The daily life of glass requires dedication, patience and constant application. The masters start working at dawn, testing the strength of the glass.

The instruments have been the same for centuries and each master has his own. The most used is the barrel with which air is blown into the elusive molten mass, which is then processed quickly with pliers, rods and scissors.

Technical masters specialists

As previously written, the master has with him a huge cultural baggage and knowledge and since they are above all human beings, being experts in everything is practically impossible, for this reason with a lot of dedication each master approaches a processing technique that most involves him. and that helps him to express himself.

With time and dedication, the technique begins to be part of his being and allows him to give life to his works such as chandeliers, glass sculptures or in all forms of lighting.

The Colors of the Glass are the mirror of the Master's Soul

There are many colors that can be used in the glass to give it a body and a soul.
But what determines the color rather than another?
The external temperature and humidity of the environment, as well as the type of cooking, can affect shades and shades. The change enriches the single color variant with further uniqueness, making each work even more exclusive.
The high quality is the reflection of the constant search for perfection and the passion for innovation that characterize each phase of production, in a perfect balance between manual craftsmanship and daring creativity, far from fatuous passing fads.
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