January 17th, 2011
Glass Blowing Tradition
Glass Blowing and the Millefiori Tradition
Glass blowing is an age-old craft and one practiced the world over. That said, there are certain decorative traditions that stand out. Perhaps the most intricate is the mosaic glassware in the Millefiori tradition.
Regular glassware is mass-produced; there really isn’t any other way for manufacturers to churn out such high volumes. Hand made glass, on the other hand, is rare as there are so few people with the skills to make it.
The skilled craftspeople who dedicate themselves to this art often have a love for Millefiori glass: read on and you’ll see why…
Millefiori was invented by the Egyptians, later developed by the Romans and made recognizable as an art form by the Venetians. This evolution happened over a period of 13 centuries.
The design is recognizable thanks to its distinctive decorative floral patterns – “mille” meaning thousand and “fiori” meaning flowers.
It’s not a style easily mastered by beginners, but with a little tuition it’s possible to follow the process and create your own wares.
Here’s how it’s made: the flower petals are created by cutting across a heated section of mixed glass tubes; from here it’s all about the skill of placing these flowers onto newly blown glass.
The real talent is the hand processing, something that could never be replicated by the production line. The Millefiori style has become so popular it is imitated in other forms, so you will find examples of beads and beaded necklaces, on which the same pattern appears.
If you are thinking of gifting someone an experience like this they need to be ready to get ‘hands on’ and learn the basics first. And to pick up these skills, be it at a glass making session in Philadelphia, or Seattle, they’ll have private tuition.
After this there’s also creative glass workshops, where they can get more into the designs and the incredible Millefiori tradition.