Humans have been making glass objects for thousands of years. Whether it was Egyptians or Phoenicians who were the first to create beautiful glass objects from simple silica sand, it was not until Murano glass artists united on the small island near Venice that the glass-making reached the peak of its creativity. Murano glass artists came up with a whole range of techniques of manipulating glass into breathtakingly beautiful objects that for more than thousand years are the synonym with magnificent glass. But, it is not only techniques that became famous exports from Murano. It was also a unique way of looking at the glass and incorporating artistic expression with possibilities that glass as a medium offers.
Through centuries, Murano glass artists have been adapting to the change in styles and customers’ demands, to produce, and even dictate, the glass art style. But, Murano is not exporting only its famous glass art objects and techniques used even today all over the world. They are also exporting the knowledge, through a number of famous murano glass art schools. One of the most famous is Abate Zanetti Glass School in Murano, an offshoot of the murano glass design school created in the 1860’s.
Abate Zanetti Glass School was created to serve young people of Murano island who wish to continue in their fathers’ and grandfathers’ footsteps. But, the school created so much interest that now it offers also short-term courses, for all skill levels, as short as a weekend and as long as few weeks. The classes are taught by the best glass-makers of Murano such as maestro Pino Signoretto. Each course is booked a long time in advance, by glass artists and glass enthusiasts from all over the world.
The School continues in the footsteps of one of the historic glass art institutions in Murano, the Drawing School for Murano glassworkers, established in 1862 by the Abbott Vincenzo Zanetti.
The building which houses the school is part of Murano glass history as well. Originally built in the 1930’s, it has been restored to preserve the original character of the traditional Venetian palace. Regardless of its traditional looks, it is built as a school, with big rooms for classes and exhibitions, a hall for lectures, beautiful garden and well-equipped library.
The mission of the Abate Zanetti Glass School is to remain the guardian of old Murano glass traditions and is quickly gaining reputation as a central point of Glass art in Murano. In the school, famous glass-making families share their knowledge and trade secrets with new generations of artists, from Murano and elsewhere. Their goal is also to pass on the love, the passion and the unique artistic style and high standards in glass making.
The courses in the school are covering all the most famous Murano techniques in forming glass, like glassblowing and solid working. The students learning glassblowing technique are creating different objects: Venetian goblets, plates and vases, decorated using various techniques such as filigree, reticella filigree, murrina, and incalmo.
Fusing, a popular contemporary glass technique, is also taught in the school. Fusing, or slumping, allows the glass sheet to be formed, at high temperatures, into different artistic forms. Students who learn fusing can work on stained glass, sculptures and glass jewelry.
Lampworking is another ancient technique which reached its peak in Murano that is now taught students from different countries. Glass rods of different thickness are softened by heat from the ‘lamp’ heated by methane gas and oxygen. Once pliable, rods are shaped with different tools, making small decorative objects and beads of all sizes and shapes.
The Abate Zanetti Glass School also offers small group or private lessons if requested. The School teachers and maestros are also available to work with individual artists and designers on their projects.
At GlassOfVenice.com, We feel that the handmade colorful and precious murano glass objects allow us to go back in time and capture the fragile beauty of Venice, and we are happy to share this opportunity with our customers worldwide.
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