The Glass Island

Glass making oven in Murano Italy

In 1291 all the glass makers in Venice were forced to move to Murano due to the risk of fires at a time when Venice was built mostly with wood.  The island of Murano, now famous for its glass, lies about 1.5 km north of Venice.  The glass makers of Murano held a monopoly on high-quality glassmaking for centuries.

The glass is made from silica, which becomes liquid at high temperatures.  The oven is heated to about 2,500° Fahrenheit.

artisan making glass in Murano ItalyAs the glass cools from a liquid to a solid, there is a window of opportunity when the glass is soft before it hardens completely, allowing the artisan to shape it. (click to enlarge)

The finished product –
Vase made of Murano glass in Murano Italy

It took only minutes to produce this horse …
Horse made from Murano glass in Murano, Italy

Credit for the first photo goes to our travel buddy Dick W.

Ailsa’s Travel Theme is: Hot

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16 thoughts on “The Glass Island

  1. Almost caught up Lynne – but I had to stop to say hi – your walk through the glass making process was so interesting – I could have spent a week there, watching, trying to understand … I bought some brilliant beads – made by an African who’s been living (and studying glassmaking) in Venice for a decade or so – I liked that they were immediately recognisable as Venetian, but then again, just not … 🙂

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    1. I know you love Venice so happy if I raised a memory. We watched another fellow through an open doorway as he heated a large piece on the end of his pole – he made it into one of the large glass horse heads seen in many of the stores, some of which were selling for 4000 euros.

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  2. Great shot. I wish i could be in a situation to get such a photo. Love your blog too, you have some fantastic photos that are so clean and just fresh to look at.

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  3. It’s so fascinating to watch the glass-blowing demonstration. The horse seems to be the favourite, as that’s what they did for us. It seemed like such a shame to put it back into the furnace. i would have gladly given it a home. 😀

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    1. It was quite amazing watching him produce that horse – literally just a few minutes with tongs stretching it into over all shape and then tweaking for curl of tail and position of legs … presto, a horse. Yes, considerable skill – mind you, the particular style of this horse was widely available so I guess they have the stretching and tweaking for this piece down to an art 😉 so to speak.

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