The Magic of Murano

A Day in Dorsoduro

In the previous chapters of our diary, we shared many glimpses of our lives and work. We decided to dedicate this chapter to the island of glass, Murano, where glassmaking transcends the craft and takes a magical form by merging tradition with creativity.
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Murano is an island on the Venetian lagoon renowned for its centuries-old glass-making practices and craftsmanship. It is no secret that the production of our glassware takes place in Murano. Today we are having a day trip to Murano to visit the furnace we work with, and we will you more insight into how our production takes place. We think it is particularly important to talk about Murano right now, so severely tested in these difficult times by the rise in the costs of gas. The day at the furnace starts at six therefore we are arriving in Murano early in the morning with our boat. The weather is cold and crisp for an early September day, you can see the tip of the boat cutting sharp waves over the lagoon. As we enter the furnace, we feel the hot air blowing from the ovens, instantly making our faces blush from the heat.
At the door, we are greeted by the staff who works there. Over the years we have had the privilege of getting to know them better, it would not be an overstatement to say that we are one big family at the furnace. We are offered coffee by our very Maestro - Andrea. When we visit the furnace we usually arrive with the planned production for the week and the first job of today is going over the details.   Andrea has been working at the furnace for as long as we could remember and he is a very skilled craftsman. He is accompanied by his colleagues, who are turning on the ovens to prepare for today’s production. Glassmaking is an ancient tradition and it takes years if not decades to master it. Even though we visit the furnace on regular basis, our Maestro always finds new ways to impress us.
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There is constant circulation at the furnace. We take place as we watch Andrea molding the glass on the pipe stick after heating it in the oven -which maintains a 1000 to 1500 degree heat- then adding more glass to repeat the process.  It is hard not to admire the gentle yet rough movements of glassmaking. Andrea starts to rotate the stick, then blows into the pipe and slowly inflates the glass. Two other artisans take turns to assist him, handing him various tools and holding the pipe stick for him while he is molding the glass. We are carefully standing next to them and observing every step of the process.  It is important to note that glass is always red when it’s extremely hot. It only adopts its intended color once it cools down which can take days. For this reason, glass is placed in a final oven to gradually cool down once the shaping process is done to prevent shattering or any damage for the matter.
Once the glass is fully solid and reaches room temperature, cold carving could be applied to the glass. Cold carving wheels are usually made of stone however they are lined with diamonds which is the only material that is able to cut glass. This process further defines the shape and the design of the final object. This phase of production takes place in the Moleria, a separate area of the furnace away from the heat of the ovens. We have been using this technique for some of our vases for some time now. Today a couple of pieces are being carved in the Moleria while Maestro Andrea is molding glass into what will turn out to be one of our Sacco vases in the oven room. Production of Sacco does not require carving. The glass is shaped with the technique called free-hand.
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The special touch that highlights the process of this very production is called: Iride which consists of making a surface iridescent, giving the glass a visual pearl-like effect. The chemical process starts while the glass is still soft and waxy. The Maestro puts the malleable glass above the metal fumes and a delicate patina envelopes it while he gives the glass its final shape. The final product obtains an almost-opaque, sheer surface which allows the light to playfully dance on its curved edges. Our visit to the furnace reaches its end around the early afternoon. We take a moment to say goodbye to the team and we join them for a toast - a bit of a ritual after a good day’s work. As all of us are sipping prosecco and talking about the production of the day, we could not help but realize how the more we dived into glass experimentation, the deeper our relationship and understanding with our Maestro became.
Observing all these magical processes turn into something we always have dreamed of thanks to these incredible artisans and their craftsmanship is simply outstanding. We are lucky enough to work in Murano, the center of glassmaking unmatched in the world, to collaborate with the best artisans and seeing them in action is truly magical. For this reason, it is essential to learn from the true artisans of the tradition, and pass on their knowledge. What we can do on our end is to bring our vision, ideas, and energies to try to create something new, without ever losing sight of the origins and essence of the tradition.  We hope that you enjoyed this page of our diary and if you want to read more about our story stay tuned for the next chapter!
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Venice, a Magical Backdrop

Adriano Cisani for Micheluzzi Glass

Visuals are of great importance when it comes to reflecting our brand. We take our photography seriously as we believe it to be a significant creative tool to communicate our work through visual channels. We realized soon after we started our journey that a lot of time and effort must be dedicated to ensure that the photographs reflect the fluidity of our glasswork. Therefore, we pay a lot of attention to perfecting the visual and tactile perception so that the images capture the true nature of glass.

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You might be surprised to find out visuals might be tricky when it comes to portraying an object that is sheer and reflective. At first, we found it challenging to refine perception through the lens and break the fourth wall. But that didn’t stop us, as we were determined to capture our work as realistically as we possibly could.

When we started shooting our very first batch of production, we opted for minimal images with a white background; focusing exclusively on the objects, their shapes and colors, trying to capture glass and its distinct texture.

It was exactly two weeks before the pandemic when we launched our website. Nevertheless, we consider ourselves to be lucky as we found time to focus on defining our vision through photography during the first lockdown.

Venice is usually warm and sunny during primavera and that year was no exception. Not to mention it was unrealistically empty and quiet. It seemed like time had almost stopped. It took us one gaze out of our window to have a eureka moment. We had the perfect setting for our photos all along.

The light and the water combined compose the key element of Venice’s spectacular facet. We quickly realized Venice is the perfect backdrop for our work. The idea of our vases being photographed surrounded by the iconic architecture and natural beauty of our hometown was truly exciting for us.

We made sure to take baby steps, starting at our beloved Fondamenta San Trovaso -only a minute of walk from our studio- then taking short walks in the area and ultimately expanding our shooting all around Venice.

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The great relief about having Venice as our photo set is that we no longer needed studio lights or photoshop fixes.

The natural light and the reflections of surroundings on the water complimented our glass objects perfectly as if they existed harmoniously in nature. Our work seemed to come to life when in contact with the elements of our city. At the end of the day we couldn’t help but think about how it's much more realistic to portray our objects in nature than in a studio.

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After this unexpected discovery we noticed how we had completed a full cycle. Venice has always been the inspiration behind our work. And through photographing our glasswork within the inspiration that ultimately led to their creation, we felt like we were deeming Venice immortal. 

We appreciate how our photography reflects our life and surroundings. The way we capture our work surrounded by the magical charm of our city almost feels natural for us and that explains why photography has quickly become a daily routine for us.

After some time, we just couldn’t get enough of photographing our collections. We usually dedicate at least one day of the week to shooting and enjoying our own city through the camera lens for a change.

One of our favorite settings for a photoshoot is Zattere with its breathtaking view of the Giudecca Canal. Another favorite is San Giorgio island thanks to its surreal view overlooking Piazza San Marco and Santa Madonna della Salute.

However, that doesn’t mean we don’t look for new settings! We are always on the look for new spots. In fact, we think of it as an opportunity to wander around Venice to discover hidden gems waiting for us to find them. In these little quests to find new spots we often meet people and stop for a chat with friends or curious passerby’s. 

In addition to outdoor locations which have been the main setting of our photos for a long time, we have recently begun to discover Venetian interiors. The idea is to make people who view our photographs feel like they are in a Venetian household. That is why we asked our Venetian friends to open the doors of their unique homes for us to capture our vases and glasses set in the atmosphere of a home.

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The opportunities for new settings and ideas are as endless and rich as the city we are living in. Although we are still working on new and exciting ways to capture our creations, this article sums up how we currently handle the creative process of our photography.

We hope that you enjoyed this chapter of our diary and if you want to read more about our story, check out our The Origins of Micheluzzi Glass.

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