Monday, 26 August 2013

A touch of glass

Over a thousand years ago, glass was invented in Venice, specifically on the island of Murano, just near Venice.  For many hundreds of years, the essential methods in glass production were a closely guarded secret to protect the livelihoods of individuals and the monopoly that Venetians held on the glass industry.  All around Venice, in the many souvenir shops, glass products of varying kinds are available for purchase.  On Murano itself, there are quite a few glass shops selling very high quality material.  Large red or deep blue horses on hind legs.  Colourful vases with faces in them.  Jaw-dropping fruit bowls.  Beautiful chandeliers made entirely of glass.  I've heard you shouldn't accept the advertised price.  You can haggle.

We visited Murano this morning and looked at some small factories making glass.  It was interesting to learn that when a product is put into the desired shape, it cools down very fast and will crack.  To avoid this, the manufacturers place finished glass products into furnaces where the temperatures are controlled and gradually reduced. 

A glass sculpture near the canal on Murano
A glass worker creates a product.
He makes a horse.
On Murano
On Murano
A glass product in a Murano shop window

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