Saturday, December 18, 2010

Natale di Luce in una Cometa di Vetro - Murano, Italy

Murano is an island in the Venice lagoon, easily reached from Venice by vaporetto.  Murano’s reputation as a center for glass-making was born when the Venetian Republic, fearing fire and destruction to the city’s mostly wood buildings, ordered glass-makers to move their foundries to Murano in 1291. Murano glass is still interwoven with Venetian glass.

The process of making Murano glass is rather complex. Most Murano glass art is made using the lampworking technique. The glass is made from silica, which becomes liquid at high temperatures. As the glass passes from a liquid to a solid state, there is an interval wherein the glass is soft before it hardens completely. This is when the glass-master can shape the material.

Natale di Vetro (Christmas of Glass) is an annual Christmas celebration in Murano, Italy, beginning on St. Nicholas Day and lasting one month. Simone Cenedese designed a glass sculpture for the 2008 Natale di Vetro celebration, and this stunningly beautiful work of art is on permanent display at Campo Santo Stefano. Titled “Natale di luce in una cometa di vetro,” (Christmas of light in a glass comet) this blue glass sculpture has become Murano’s symbol of Christmas.

During Natale di Vetro, several of the larger glass-works are open to the public, allowing anyone an opportunity to experience the glass artisans honing their craft.