Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Murano

The island of Murano. Synonymous worldwide with glassmaking. It was for a long time the centre of the world as far as glass was concerned, and the Venetians put it on the island for two reasons: to prevent the risk of burning down Venice from kiln accidents, and to be able to protect the secrets of glassmaking, isolated on the island.

Apparently many of the shops in Venice selling "Murano" glass are in fact selling Chinese imports. It doesn't surprise me in the slightest. But on Murano hopefully nobody is doing any such thing. Artisans who have spent all their lives perfecting the art create all kinds of beautiful objects out of glass, in improbable shapes that you wouldn't believe could be moulded from liquid sand.

I saw a demonstration. With the skill of an expert, he took a bit of molten glass on the end of a rod and in less than thirty seconds (before the glass had a chance to cool) he had pulled and cut it into the shape of a horse. As he set it up on a table for me to look at, the interior of the horse was still glowing red hot. And the craftsman went outside for a fag break.