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How it’s Made – Murrini

How it’s Made

Murrini is a word used often around here. Many of our favorite Lino pieces make use of this extraordinary technique to achieve their intricate designs and patterns.

We’ve discussed the history of Murrini and Millefiori (meaning 1,000 flowers) in our blog previously, but today we’re going to briefly look at how murrini is made. Making murrini requires a high skill level and great deal of patience as they are all made by hand.

As you may know, Lino was in the states recently and during his time here he created some stunning new works. The Maestro has returned back to Italy for the time being and was expected to relax and enjoy gorgeous Murano. However, Lino would not be himself if his mind wasn’t constantly creating and dreaming of new pieces. While in Murano, Lino has been busy dreaming of new murrini creations; sketching and bringing to life his ideas.

Murrini Design

The drawings don’t begin to shed light on the complexity of this process. There are many steps required in order to achieve the end result shown above.

Cane

We couldn’t talk about murrini without addressing cane. Cane is a very narrow and long piece of glass usually found in the form of a rod (these can also be flat). Canes are created through the stretching and compacting of molten glass. These are stretched long lengths and to a varying degree of thickness.

Here is an old video where you can see Lino making cane at Corning Museum of Glass.

To make more complex cane, large bundles are thoughtfully assembled (as shown below) and fused carefully together to release any air.

The unique part of cane and murrini is no matter how long it is stretched or pulled, the pattern or design is perfectly maintained.

Murrini

Murrini is typically sliced from cane where you can then see the amazing detail. They allow artists to obtain repeating patterns throughout a piece. Murrini is simply a cane made from layering hot glass or fusing together cane components. The cane is bundled together by wire, heated and pulled into more can (sometimes in a square shape). These are stretched like taffy until the desired diameter is reached.

Once cooled, you can cut them to reveal the intricate patterns throughout. The end result of such cane, is a cross section of patterned glass. These hand-made glass designs are artistically created and add a unique value to a vessel. The designs can be dotted, floral, geometric patterns, and so on. The possibilities are endless when considering color combinations and designs.

A term similar to murrini, millefiori, is the Italian word for 1,000 flowers. Millefiori is often used in paperweights and represents a floral pattern. To give an example of the time consuming process, here’s another video by Corning Museum of Glass that demonstrates the making of a millifiore ball.

Now when admiring the Maestro’s work, you can take into account the long hours of preparation needed to achieve such a piece. Pieces such as Contarini are an example of work that utilizes the beauty and range of murrini. Photos below show examples of the type of murrini used to create this series and the end result of how it looks once heated and blown into a vessel.

Murrini
Contarini