Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Millefiori from Murano

I picked up this small dish on a trip to Murano Italy, "the Glass-Making Island," back in 1999. Millefiori — literally a "thousand flowers" — is a glass making technique that involves layering and rolling different colored glass and extruding long glass "canes" that are then bundled together and sliced across the section like a log cake. A shallow dish can be formed. This piece is only about three inches across but the level of vibrant detail is quite remarkable. Held up to the light the colors change as parts that are translucent shift to a more intense color.

Although painstakingly created with expertise honed through centuries of tradition, from a design standpoint I would have to admit this is purely decorative — it falls pretty heavily on the "Art" side of the scale.

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