The whole reason I got into working with molten glass at GSS Studio was to learn how to make my own murrini (or millefiori ) and to pull glass into stringers in the colors and sizes I wanted for micro-mosaic pieces.
So what are murrini anyways? Most likely, you know what it is – or you know it by the name millefiori. It is slices of glass, cut from a rod that has a pattern in the cross section. It is most famously made on the island of Murano outside of Venice Italy. Often you see it in jewelry or on decorative vases or paperweights. The pattern can be anything – when it is a flower based pattern it is called millefiori (a thousand petals) other patterns are called murrini, though many would use the term millefiori loosely for any pattern as it is the more well known name.
Murrini are complex to make, involving many layers of molten glass being put together and shaped, then heated up till red hot and finally pulling the hot blob by hand into a long rod. You have to be careful to not twist or turn the blob of molten hot glass when pulling or you risk messing up the pattern created inside! After the rod has cooled, it is cut into slices revealing the pattern in the cross-section.
I buy commercial murrini made in Italy and use it in my micro-mosaic jewelry. So why would I want to learn to make it?
While I love the murini I can buy, I just thought it would be so cool to create unique patterns myself. Then if I’m using my handmade murrini in my handmade micro-mosaic jewelry designs, it makes the piece of jewelry that much more unique, that much more “one-of-a-kind”. Truly, no one else in the world will have anything like it.
Most of my murrini patterns so far are abstract (my ultimate love) or geometrical. There will be more complex designs as time goes on but so far it’s a good start! Here’s some pics below – look for some of these in this year’s holiday collection of jewelry coming soon! 😀