Kiln-Formed Glass in Venice -

Kiln-Formed Glass in Venice

This is the main board for discussing general techniques, tools, and processes for fusing, slumping, and related kiln-forming activities.

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Greg Rawls
Posts: 147
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 8:11 pm
Location: Charleston, SC

Kiln-Formed Glass in Venice

Postby Greg Rawls » Sun Feb 01, 2004 7:50 am

Just got back from a business trip to Venice. Good food, good wine and LOTS of lousy glass! Seems every street vendor was selling these cheap, fused glass pieces with a Murano glass sticker! Looked like the CR*P that is coming in from China, yet they claimed it was Italian. But the people were buying it! Even in the stores and galleries the majority of the fused glass was uninspired.

Now I did see some really great blown glass and a very few pieces of really good kiln-formed, but nothing as good as I see posted on this board or at WG@BE.

Seems while the Italians have mastered blown glass, the art of kiln-forming glass has excaped them!

Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2003 7:50 am
Location: Bristol, UK

Re: Kiln-Formed Glass in Venice

Postby Peg » Mon Feb 02, 2004 8:33 am

Greg Rawls wrote:Just got back from a business trip to Venice. Good food, good wine and LOTS of lousy glass!

I've been to Venice a few times, and I agree most of the fused stuff is not only poor but in incredibly bad taste.
Spotting some moderately tasteful plates in a window a couple of years ago, I ventured into a shop where I had a long chat with the owner. His kiln was at the back of the shop with a curtain round it to screen it off (fire hazard or what?!).
I asked about the colours he used (muted greys and yellows), and he said he was trying to break away from the more lurid combinations normally used.
All the stuff on Venice is made using glass made on Murano (neighbouring island). Compatibility is not good - every colour needs to be tested against every other, and each combination has a different firing schedule. The dishes this chap made were fused and slumped in one firing - he said that on Venice firing more than once was very unusual. Each firing schedule had at least 6 ramp rates, most many more. He drew me a graph of a typical firing - and all I can say is 'praise be to Bullseye'; they do half the work for us!
Most of what is produced is for the tourist trade. Prices are low (compared to the UK), and output is high. Every tiny street has at least one glassware shop - most of the glass evidently made with no creative input.
This year I saw a lot more 'high-end' work for sale, some extremely attractive - and expensive. There are definite signs of improvement, even in the low end of the market.
But there is still too much glass on the streets of Venice.
Especially those lurid chandaliers and blown glass fish - there's no excuse for those!

Beth S
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Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2003 1:38 pm

Postby Beth S » Mon Feb 02, 2004 5:07 pm

I, too, was disappointed in the the majority of the glasswork I saw in Venice and Muranno. I did, however, discover a gallery that was very inspirational for me. The woman working there was very friendly and even mailed me the english version of a book about an artist I had particulaly liked for no charge. I was invited in to watch one of the artists at work. It was all being done in a furnace or glory hole, not fused. I would highly recommend this gallery to anyone visiting Venice or Muranno, there is one in each location, as a place to see some really unique and artistic glasswork of which there is little in Muranno. The name is Berengo Gallery. The website is . Beware that everything on their site takes foreve to load if you have a dialup connection.

Bert Weiss
Posts: 2339
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 12:06 am
Location: Chatham NH

Postby Bert Weiss » Tue Feb 03, 2004 2:57 am

My take on Murano glass is the same as my take on leaded stained glass.

"90 percent of it makes me want to puke, but the remaining 10% is so fabulous that I've dedicated my life to it."

Vennini has some fabulous kiln fused Murrini pieces. They invented the pattern bar. They also perfected the hand ground matt surface.

Bert Weiss Art Glass*
Furniture Lighting Sculpture Tableware
Architectural Commissions

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