Category Archives: Murano Glass News & Events

News and events in the world of Murano Glass, both in Venice and Murano, elsewhere in Italy, and around the world

Murano Glass Is In Trouble. How Skyrocketing Gas Prices Are Affecting The Ancient Industry.

Murano Glass exists in Venice for over 1,000 years and survived multiple upheavals. However, this time it is in real danger of extinction.

Murano Glass artisans create glassware in a factory on Murano island
Murano Glass artisans create glassware in a factory on Murano island. Photo courtesy of GlassOfVenice.com

Murano Glass is one of the world’s oldest surviving industries. While glass-making was known to humans even as far back as ancient Egypt, the production of glass in Venice was established on the heels of the craft developed in ancient Rome.

Fleeing from the barbarians, the Romans who settled in Venice established glass-making furnaces and used local silica and soda to create their first glass vessels. After the industry got established on Murano island by the government decree in 1291, the local glass furnaces have been working full force despite the difficulties brought by wars, floods, and competition.

However, this time it’s different. The Murano Glass industry has encountered the perfect storm created by the horrible flood of Venice in 2019, the global Covid-19 pandemic, and the enormous increase in gas prices brought on by the war in Ukraine and the transformation to renewable energy. This gas problem may just be the last straw to break the back of the ancient industry.

Murano Glass furnaces are notoriously gas-hungry. They have to burn at 1500 degrees Celsius and cannot be turned on and off daily. It takes about a week to ignite a furnace and bring it to the stable high temperature required for glass-making. This process costs tens of thousands of euros. Therefore, the furnaces are normally only extinguished for one month a year, august, when the local glass artisans traditionally take a break amid the summer heat.

The Glass Factories Are Shutting Down.

However, since February of 2022, many of the artisans we at GlassOfVenice work with had to extinguish their furnaces for varying periods of time, from a month to what looks like a permanent shutdown for some. This is because they cannot continue production with the current gas prices unless they increase their own prices to the point where customers will stop buying Murano Glass from them.

To put it all in perspective, he price of gas in Murano jumped over a thousand percentage points from 0.20 euro per cubic meter in September of 2021 to up to 3 euros per cubic meter after the start of the war in Ukraine. This translates into an unthinkable jump in the annual gas bill from about 20,000 euros to over 300,000 euros on average for a Murano Glass factory. This estimate is based on the data from Consorzio Promovetro Murano trade organization, which says there are about 100 factories on Murano and their combined gas usage is 10 to 11 million cubic meters in a normal year.

Almost as bad as the increase in prices is the uncertainty that the glass factories face. Prices jump wildly from month to month and no gas supplier is willing to renew Murano factories’ expiring gas contracts at fixed price. Because of this, it is impossible to plan production. Some Murano business owners decide to shut down their production entirely while they wait for some stabilization and subsidies from the government. Others shut down some furnaces resulting in limitations to the variety of their glassware and other restrictions in the glass-making process.

Smaller Artisans Also Face Uncertain Future.

Even smaller Murano Glass workshops and individual artisans working with a torch instead of large furnaces are feeling the pain. Such glass makers use much less gas but the torches require oxygen to operate, which also increased in price. In addition, they are faced with a shortage of glass canes.

Many smaller Murano artisans use lampworking method of glass-making. This means they use glass canes, which they heat up under the torch, then blow and shape into jewelry, ornaments, and figurines.

These canes in all designs and colors are produced by Effetre – the icon of Venetian glass-making and the only maker of glass canes on Murano island. However, Effetre, which operates multiple large furnaces, has also stopped production almost completely due to the gas price increases, since their business has also become unsustainable almost overnight.

The situation is really dire for all glass artisans on Murano. Among Glass Of Venice’s 30+ suppliers of varying sizes, 10 have stopped production at various points in the last 6 months and 4 have not reopened. All are waiting for promised subsidies from the government and from UNESCO, however, those are temporary patches on a growing wound and are slow to arrive.

The Murano Glass industry is an incredibly important part of our cultural heritage, it is a venerable human achievement that needs to be sustained and protected. Moreover, it is a vital part of the economy of Venice and Murano, helping them stay living breathing cities rather than Disneyland-like destinations. It is our hope that Murano Glass will stay resilient in the face of this new adversity and will prosper once again.

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Exhibition Presents Murano Glass Art by Giampaolo Seguso

It is rare to see the very best of artistic Murano Glass created by prominent Venetian artists outside of Venice, let alone in the United States. For a short time this May and June all lovers and collectors of Murano Glass in the United States can enjoy a wonderful exhibition of Murano Glass Art at Bellarmine Museum of Art at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. The exhibition features 33 beautiful glass art pieces by Giampaolo Seguso, a member of the renowned Seguso dynasty—a family which has been crafting glass on the island of Murano for over 600 years! The legacy of glass work goes back twenty-two generations in the Seguso family, and has garnered them international acclaim.

The pieces on display are each accompanied by a poem by Giampaolo Seguso himself, which reflects of the meaning of existence, nature, and beauty, merging together Seguso’s gifts for visual, as well as verbal arts. It is so rare to capture beauty in one medium, but Seguso ambitiously endeavors to capture it doubly, creating something new and profound. The name of the exhibition, La Ragnatela, is Italian for “spider web,” referring to Filigrana technique of glass-making invented on Murano in the 16th century. This complex technique uses glass canes that are positioned parallel to each other and then melted together so as to create delicate spiral or web-like patterns within the glass. Seguso was so enchanted by the endless artistic possibilities offered by Filigrana technique that he authored the book, La Ragnatela, published in 2001, which is the culmination of his research and personal application of the Murano Filigrana technique. Like all in-demand artists, Giampaolo Seguso and his art have traveled the world, holding exhibitions in Norway, Germany, and Brazil.

La Ragnatela presentation can be visited at the Bellarmine Museum of Art at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. This exquisite exhibition opened its doors on April 10th and will continue to wow the collectors and those interested in Murano Glass until June 13, 2014, so make plans to see it soon.

by Kevin Grinberg

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Murano Glass Exhibition in New York Metropolitan Museum

Murano Glass Exhibition in New YorkWhile Murano Glass is ancient and famous art known well beyond the borders of Murano Island, unfortunately it is rare to see a major Murano Glass exhibition outside of Venice, Italy. It is even rarer to see one in a world-class museum, so we are delighted to let you know about the new exhibition opening up in Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York dedicated to the art of famous architect and modernizing force in Murano Glass, Carlo Scarpa. Called “Venetian Glass by Carlo Scarpa. The Venini Company, 1932–1947” this exhibition illustrates how Carlo Scarpa led the way in breaking the mold of classic Murano Glass making and bringing out new facets of this ancient art in line with the changing times.

Carlo Scarpa was a talented Venetian architect who became familiar with the medium of glass and skilled at glass-making while working at famous MVM Capellin Glassworks on Murano Island for five years. Scarpa was fascinated with the possibilities that the medium of glass offered to an artist with its fluid nature, transparency and color. Having learned the intricacies of glass-blowing, Scarpa was invited to work at one of the most famous glass companies on Murano at the time, Venini, in the role of artistic consultant. Scarpa’s talent quickly became obvious in this job ,where he promoted innovative techniques that built on the solid foundation of ancient art but took it to new levels, achieving the colors, shapes and designs beyond anything created by Murano masters before. Venini Glassworks enjoyed great success with Scarpa’s innovations, showcasing his works at prestigious international exhibitions and gaining global fame.

The exhibition at Metropolitan Museum is organized chronologically and by technique, featuring new takes on traditional Murano decorative techniques. Among others you will see colorful objects created in Bullicante technique where carefully controlled pattern of small bubbles is introduced into the glass, as well as trendy pieces made in elaborate and labor-intensive Filligrana and iconic Murrina (aka Millefiori) techniques. Streamlined shapes, elegance and bold colors characterize many of the pieces and highlight their contemporary appeal.

The exhibition at New York’s world-famous Metropolitan Museum of Art will be running from November 5, 2013 through March 2, 2014 and is certainly not to be missed. We highly recommend visiting it for a unique opportunity to see the artistic value of Murano Glass up close and appreciate its transformation to a contemporary art form evolving in step with modern times.

by Kevin Grinberg

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Murano Glass Beads on View in Murano Museum

Murano Glass beads are a significant part of Murano Glass history. Besides their function as a base component of Murano Glass jewelry, they were in wide use as currency (then known as trade beads) between the 16th and 20th century when Venetian merchants set voyage to the Middle East and Africa to acquire goods, services and slaves. These days Murano Glass beads produced by the talented Venetian masters represent a wide range of traditional Venetian glass-making techniques and are used to create unique Murano Glass earrings, pendants, necklaces,bracelets, cufflinks, and more. The public usually sees these finished products and does not get the behind-the-scenes look at the wide variety of exquisite Murano Glass beads which Murano artists draw upon for their creations. The Venetian beads are individually hancrafted over a flame or in the special furnace and decorated using traditional Murano glass-making techniques.

The new exhibition at Murano Glass Museum (Museo del Vetro) called “ERCOLE MORETTI. A century of Venetian pearl” seeks to familiarize the public with these beautiful pieces of Venetian Glass Art by displaying a great collection of Rosetta, Mosaic, Millefiori, and Murrina Murano Glass beads and other glass objects created over a period of a century by one of the most renown workshops of Murano, Ercole Moretti and F.lli, which this year celebrates its 100 year anniversary.

The exhibition runs at Murano’s Museo del Vetro from October 9th 2011 to January 6th 2012.



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Glasstress in Venice: Contemporary Art in Murano Glass

Venice Biennale is always a grand event in the world of art, which ambitiously attempts to represent and explore the international contemporary art scene. This years’ Biennale is the 54th one and features artworks spanning painting, photography, film, and modern art installations made of paper, steel, glass, wax and even vapor, presented by 89 countries. Multiple concurrently running shows and exhibitions make up the Biennale and attract hordes of artists, journalists, celebrities and tourists. One of the most interesting exhibitions in this year’s Venice Biennale is Glasstress, an attempt to explore modern art themes in Murano glass. Glasstress is the result of the joint efforts of some of the best contemporary artists who came up with the ideas for sculptures and installations and Adriano Berengo’s Murano glass factory, which implemented them in Murano glass.

Glasstress runs from June 4 to November 27, 2011 and is held at Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti and the Berengo Centre of Contemporary Art and Glass in Venice, Italy.

After Venice Biennale Glasstress will present travelling Murano Glass exhibitions around the world, including one in New York City.

To get your own piece of artistic Murano Glass, please see our wide selection of authentic Murano Glass at www.GlassOfVenice.com

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Murano Glass Exhibitions in Venice

Venice never ceases to amaze tourists not only with its unique beauty but also with the richness of its cultural heritage and the many museums and exhibitions that offer insights into Venetian history and art. Murano glass art has recently been in the spotlight, and two current exhibitions in Venice celebrate the contribution of two very prominent Murano glass creators – the Venini glassworks and Lino Tagliapietra – to the 20th century renaissance of this ancient Venetian art form.

The first exhibition dedicated to 90 years of Venini family glassworks is called NOVANTESIMO VENINI, 1921 – 2011, and is open until July 10, 2011 at the Murano Glass Museum. It highlights in chronological order the achievements of the famous Venetian glass masters from Venini Glass Company in the time span from 1921 through 2011 and features about 100 works characteristics of various artistic periods in the life of the company.

In another very exciting development, the first ever exhibition of the masterpieces created by world-famous Murano glass master Lino Tagliapetra is set up in Venice and will stay open until May 22, 2011 to the delight of all Venetian glass and Tagliapietra fans. The exhibition is housed in beautiful Grand Canal Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, the home of Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti and features a selection of the best art glass pieces created by the master in the last decade. Lino Tagliapietra, who was born in Murano, Italy in 1934, is one of the most prominent Venetian glass masters currently working, and his creations can be seen in galleries, museums, public spaces and private collections around the world.

If you are in Venice this Spring and Summer, we highly recommend that you visit one or both of these exhibitions for a rare in-depth look at the modern interpretation of the ancient art form that is so unique and characteristic of Venice.

To learn more about Murano glass history and techniques, please visit GlassOfVenice.com

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Finally, a perfect way to learn about Murano glass and experience its magic!

Numerous times on various travel websites, forums, and blogs, including ours, travelers to Venice ask the question of whether and how to see a demo of Murano glass making without wasting precious time in Venice and experiencing an annoying sales pitch. GlassOfVenice is happy to report that finally there is a way for most people to learn more about this fascinating art and experience it first-hand in the studio of a famous Murano maestro at very reasonable cost and without being pushed into buying anything. This definitely makes it worthwhile to make a trip to Murano and see the world of artistic glass making with your own eyes.

The Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and Murano Glass Museum (Museo del Vetro) together with Abate Zanetti Murano Glass School present GLASS IN ACTION, a comprehensive overview of the ages of Murano glass history. This one-of-a-kind begins with a guided tour of Murano Glass Museum, which has on display a unique and extensive collection of glassware from ancient Rome through Murano glass of the Renaissance period to modernity. After that it’s on to the Murano Glass School, for a glass working demonstration with an accomplished Murano glass maestro, and the viewing of a documentary film.

Use this unique opportunity to learn more about Murano glass at its birthplace and get enchanted by the birth of glass from the magic of fire and the skill of an artist. The cost of the entire program is just 15 euro per person, and it runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. English tours start at 2:30pm at the Murano Glass Museum (Fondamenta Giustinian 8, 30121 Murano, Italy).

Learn more about this program at the Murano Glass Museum’s website.

Learn more about Murano glass and its history at GlassOfVenice – About Murano Glass

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Murano glass vases by Venini for Versace

Murano glass is about to get even more famous and fashionable as it gets a boost from the legendary Versace brand. In an attempt to add a twist to their Versace Casa collection of home furnishings and decor and revive Gianni Versace’s heritage, the famous design house teamed up with the best-in-class Murano glassmaking firm Venini to produce an exclusive collection of hand-blown contemporary glass vases. The result of this collaboration by two biggest names in exclusive fashion is eagerly awaited since 2004 when they last worked together on a line of Murano glass vases.

Speaking at the presentation of the new Versace Casa collection in Milan on April 14th, Donatella Versace said: “I’m so proud because, with this new collaboration, we re-created some historical vases that Gianni had designed, obviously re-edited and streamlined. The first Venini collaboration ran from 1997 to 2004”.

The vases which will include new pieces as well as the legendary Heritage Collection designs from the 1990’s, will be numbered and initialed and will feature rich colors, geometrical patterns and bold designs. They will be available this Fall at all Versace boutiques, selected Venini stores, and other exclusive retailers throughout the world.










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A New Word in Murano Glass Art – Real Murano Glass Shoes!

In our long careers in Murano glass and many trips to Venice we have seen lots of Murano glass items from smaller rings and pendants all the way to large sculptures, chandeliers, mirrors, bathroom sinks, and even Christmas tree. But one thing we have never seen or even imagined in Murano glass is shoes.

Amazingly enough, we recently learned, now one can find and even buy and wear real Murano glass shoes! And if you like that idea, you do not even need to travel to Italy. Master shoemaker Pasquale Fabrizio who owns famous Pasquale Shoe Repair in Los Angeles that serves lots of celebrities and Hollywood stars has just created a line of Murano glass shoes fit for a real-life princess. These amazing shoes were introduced to the world (or rather to a selected few celebrities) at a champagne reception on January 29, 2010 on the rooftop patio of Pasquale Fabrizio’s shoe studio called “Q by Pasquale”. This proves that there really is no limit to Murano glass art and that, far from being a thing of the past, it holds a dinstinctive fashionable place in modern life.
Murano Glass Shoe

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