From the age of the ancient Phoenicians to our own, the art of glass working has been entrusted to just a few, worthy masters, who have passed their knowledge with judicious circumspection from one generation to the next.
For centuries, the secrets of the profession have been jealously guarded in ancient glassworks, time worn spaces where it is still possible to savour that magical craft that has brought countless masterpieces into the world, each entirely unique in its genre.
Speaking of glassworks, it is said that the Doge, the ruler of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, ordered that all glass working activity be relocated to the island of Murano to protect the historic city centre from the risk of fire. However, that was not the only reason to choose the island.
Indeed, the story goes that it was the corporation of master glassmakers – a notoriously closed shop, and obsessively guarded – who themselves sought to relocate to Murano to better protect their secrets.
Inside these foundries, since ancient times, skilled masters have succeeded in emulating the magical process that, by pure chance, centuries earlier on the sandy banks of a Syrian river, gave rise to the first glass.
A meticulously measured blend of substances – silica (from sand), soda ash, lime, sodium nitrate and others – is used to produce a vitreous substance that can be worked into glass objects.
In the furnace, this material is fused at around a thousand four hundred degrees. Because of these searing temperatures, the mixture is handled using long poles, and worked with traditional tools that are repeatedly doused in water.
Once the glass has been prepared by skilled artisans, the noble masters can give free reign to their creative genius, shaping the material with elegant dexterity to create pieces that are entirely unique, products of an art form that has been passed down through the generations.
Techniques, forms and colours will vary according to the masterpieces envisioned by these consummate artists.
Once the composition has been forged and the glass has cooled, it is decorated by expert Venetian artists.
And still today, the secrets of the art are scrupulously preserved, perpetuating a genuine Venetian tradition.