For a little bit of fun, decided to create a murrini of a pig. It turned out cute and got made into little pins to wear and celebrate the new year. 😀
Wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous Year of the Pig!
恭喜发财 Gōngxǐ fācái
The last day of 2018 seems appropriate for posting the last of the Murrini Monday round up postings! Murrini Monday was my 2018 resolution. For it, I created a new murrini (glass rod with a pattern inside) each week and posted it every Monday over on my Instagram account. For those that don’t follow over there, every 3 months I post a round up here.
Murrini Monday has been awesome, the goal for me in making the resolution was to set a regular appointment to go get on the torch, create designs and to hopefully improve my skills. Posting gave me accountability. It accomplished that and more, gave me new goals and a new love for this form of glass art. Here’s the final 3 months of this year-long project! There’s some fun ones in here, my favorites – Salvador Dali’s face, 3 faces of Brrrr (the grey faces, supposed to be guy that is cold) and the red and white dove for Christmas. Decided to end with doing the thing I enjoyed making most this year, eyes.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year and prosperous 2019!!
3/4 of the way through the year and my 2018 resolution to create a new murrini each week is still going strong! It has been a crazy busy year with so much going on (except blog writing :-S ) but I’ve still stuck to my appointment each week to get on the torch and work at improving my murrini making skills. Each Monday over on my Instagram account I post a new murrini each week. For those that don’t follow over there, this is 3 months all one shot!
The summer was a fun one for murrini. I really want to try making faces, so started this set off with a theme month of eyes for “Jul-eye”. 😀 One of the eyes was inspired by a flower sculpture in the Kenzo world commercial that won an award at the Cannes Lions last year. Another eye is that of a famous person – hopefully by the end of the year I’ll show you who (in murrini of course). There’s a murrini of a couple of Chinese characters that represent my new Chinese name. Started taking Chinese lessons in the midst of this crazy year and discovered my real name doesn’t translate well into Chinese. So my teacher helped me picked a name ( Little or small (Xiǎo ), Red (Hóng)) I have a small patch of red in my hair, so this name suits me well. A few other random designs as well and finishing up with my first put together face. I’m so happy with it, but was sad to see a giant chunk crack off in the kiln. Was going to fuse it back together but now I kind of like the chunk standing up on its’ own, it makes a funny little face statue!
Here they all are, the past 3 months worth of Murrini Monday….
We’re now more than halfway through the year and I’m still sticking with my resolution to create a new murrini each week! It’s the longest I’ve ever stuck with a resolution, perhaps because this one is fun it sticks better. 😀
Each Monday over on my Instagram account I post a new murrini each week. For those that don’t follow over there, this is 3 months all one shot!
This past three months saw a month of space inspired murrini, a set of 3 hexagons that were inspired by a painting a friend posted on Facebook, a very special red and white murrini that was made into a pendant as a retirement gift, my first attempt at an eye (that I thought I royally screwed up but it actually turned out!) and other random designs.
Hope you like seeing them and hopefully it looks like I’m improving!
On New Year’s Day I made a post with a resolution to create a new murrini (glass rod with a pattern inside) each week this year. From the looks of it on the blog here, I’ve not been successful, but in fact I have! I’ve been posting them each week on my Instagram account and decided to post them here on the blog in 3 month increments. They’re not really worthy of a whole blog post on their own each week, so figured for over here this was a better format.
I’m still learning, so there are some winners and some stinkers in the mix, hopefully by the end of the year we’ll see progress in my skills. Below is the batch from January – March, during this time we had a month of all hearts in celebration of February and some skills tests, like trying to see if I could create a triangle and pull it while keeping the triangle shape.
Hope to be posting here more regularly soon. There’s been a lot going on in addition to coming up with new murrini to make each week. I’ve been busy in my studio getting ready for a dual exhibition with another artist coming in May! Hope to have more on that to share soon! In the mean time, here’s 3 months worth of murrini! 😀
Happy New Year!! 😀
Most of us make some sort of resolution each year, usually things that aren’t terribly fun and often abandoned after a few weeks. This year, my resolution is a little challenge that will hopefully be fun, not quickly abandoned and also improve my skills. It will be to create a new murrini (or millefiori) and post it each Monday. I’m going to post these sometimes here but each week for sure over on my new Instagram account (@studioambenz) under #murrinimonday.
For the first week of the year – this murrini comes with a bit of a story. I actually created it last year (had to if it was going to come on Jan 1!). It is a bit special as the pattern is actually my logo.
Since starting in mosaics, I’ve always signed the back of my art with my name and a piece of murrini, but it was commercially made murrini and the pattern wasn’t anything special or related to me.
I wanted to make my logo in murrini and start using that in my signature instead. The design is a stylized frog foot – (read why by clicking here)– doesn’t look too hard on paper but try building that from nothing with molten glass!
You have to slowly build up the design. A bit of black glass for the middle, then add a toe, fill in some green. All the while keeping it warm enough so it won’t blow up but not too much that it melts out of shape! It is an intense amount of very focused work.
It took 2.5 hrs to create the design and the blob of glass was HUGE! When you’re doing murrini you’re holding your blob in a flame and constantly rotating it, kind of like a rotisserie chicken. As the blob gets bigger, it can get quite heavy, it is hard work on the shoulders and neck, especially after 2.5 hours of constant movement!
The I day made it, there were several people in the studio. My blob got way bigger than originally intended and drew a bit of attention (I’m not good with attention….). It was so big another person helped me hold one end when it came time to pull as there was going to be more glass than the width of my arms! We pulled, I cut it so it would fit in the kiln to cool down and in that one cut could see it looked good. I was so worn out and shaky after the intense 2.5 hrs that I had to sit down and rest before getting in my car to go home.
Wish me luck in my attempt to stick with the resolution and create 52 murrini this year! Hopefully the end of the year will show 52 interesting patterns and some improved skills.
Best wishes to all of you for a wonderful, healthy prosperous 2018 and success in any resolutions you choose to undertake! 😀
The past two months have been a whirlwind of tremendous things happening one after the other. Life is kind of ramping up at the moment for me, but in a good way. Hope it is the sign of more to come. 🙂
I’ll share with you over the next few blogs all of the great things happening. Today’s is about a piece of mine that was accepted in a juried show! The show was a special one to get picked for as it was the 1st year of the Canadian Annual Mosaic Exhibition. It was such an honor to be a part of the inaugural year. It was held at the Flagship Gallery in Hamilton Ontario during November, and there were more than 30 stunning works in the show.
The piece of mine that was chosen is a micro-mosaic called “Enough” This technique is a little different than traditional mosaic, all the pieces in her are very tiny and have to be set using tweezers. They range in size (width-wise) from 0.5mm to about 4mm. All her glass was melted and pulled to size by me in a flame at GSS Flameworking.
I also created a special murrini (glass rod with a pattern inside) in black and white to go in her dress. The tiny pieces take quite a long while to put together, when most are between 0.5 and 2 mm wide it is time consuming to fill even 1 square inch!
So why is she called “Enough”?
In today’s world we’re constantly connected, bombarded by so many demands on our time, so much negativity, unending terrible news stories in the palm of our hand.
A feeling of frustration at this constant connection and negativity inspired to me create an abstract drawing of woman in a beautiful dress looking down with eyes closed, hands to head, having simply had enough of all that was going on around her. The drawing laid around for months till finally she came to life as a micro-mosaic.
She is smaller (the actual mosaic size of this piece is 5 x 7, overall size 8 x 10) and floats surrounded by a background of swirly darkness representing conflict.
Really came to love her a lot and was so thrilled she was chosen for the show. Her bits are so tiny, included below are some pictures but for best viewing click to make them larger. I also made a little time-lapse video of her progression – if you’re interested it is at the bottom of this blog! Be forewarned though, it was my first time doing this so it jumps a little. Next time I won’t kick the tripod out of place so much! 😀
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! 😀