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THE TECHNIQUES OF GLASS

    BALLOTON

    For this technique, the master glassmaker uses a special metal mould which has small pyramid-shaped tips with a square base all along the interior surface of its circumference.
    During the blowing process, the glass entirely fills the empty spaces in the mould and creates a particular optical effect of crossed relief.

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    BATTUTO (BEATEN)

    This is the cold-crafting technique that most challenges the skill and delicacy of the master glassmaker.
    The distinctive characteristic of Beaten glass is that its surface is “sculpted” by hand with a grinding wheel. This creates countless small and apparently irregular marks on the glass surface.

    CANNE (CANES)

    They can be either in one colour or made with glass pastes in different colours, transparent or matt, with infinite variations.

    The common denominator is the shape: the glass element is pulled into a long cane and has a circular section.

    The canes are usually lined up next to each other to be molten and blown. The result is an even more precious object due to the final effect and the difficulty of the execution.

    DECORI (DECORATIONS)

    These are any applications that the master glassmaker applies on the object’s surface while it is still hot. They make every object unique and precious. The Decoration is chosen while the work is being designed and can range from a personalization of the edge of the glass to the insertion of precious gold leaves in its transparency.

    FASCE (BANDS)

    The master glassmaker pours a molten pattern of coloured glass threads, which are technically called Bands, onto a generally transparent body of glass placed in the centre.

    After blending them into each other, he covers everything with an extremely thin layer of crystal thus obtaining an irregular and highly impactful chromatic pattern.

    INCALMO

    This is one of the most complex crafting techniques: the Incalmo consists in heating the glass to combine two hand-blown shapes along their circumference in order to obtain one object in which different areas, usually in different colours, suggestively meet.

    INCISO (ETCHED)

    This complex artistic technique is performed with a hard stone grinding wheel, which is used to engrave the cold surface of the almost finished product. The master glassmaker carefully and meticulously follows the pattern designed by the artist.

    For a moment, the master glassmaker holds his breath – that is how concentrated he is. If he makes the slightest mistake, all his efforts will be in vain.

    MANO VOLANTE (FREE-HAND)

    The term free-hand (in Italian, “mano volante”, literally ‘flying hand’) indicates the swift and expert movement of the master glassmaker’s hand as he hot works a precious piece of glass.

    MISTA (MIXED)

    This is the term used to define the combination of several techniques used by the master glassmaker to create prestigious glass objects with particular characteristics: the balanced mix of several crafting techniques gives the final work a strong personality and enriches its identity.

    MURRINE

    This is one of the most ancient decorative techniques, known already by the Romans and recovered in Murano in the early 1880s. It consists in combining several Canes (in Italian, Canne) of glass in different colours into a pre-established pattern. The composition is heated up until it melts into one single cane, which is then carefully cut into small sections. These glass sections are then placed in a specific order and heated up again in order to work and blow them into the final shape of the object.

    PIGNA (PINE CONE)

    For this technique, the master glassmaker uses a metal mould with an evocative shape whose interior surface is entirely covered in small pyramid-shaped tips with a square base. During the blowing process, the metal mould impresses a crossed relief effect on the glass surface.

    PULEGOSO

    One of Napoleone Martinuzzi’s most successful creations.

    Thanks to this technique, the master glassmakers can obtain a foamy glass paste, which is full of irregular air bubbles. The effect is obtained by mixing the molten paste with a substance that provokes this reaction.

    Sometimes, the glass created with this technique is enriched by applying gold leaves. Pulegoso glass is less common in lighting products, although, due to the particular effect of the light, it produces remarkable chromatic effects.

    RIGADIN

    This decoration is obtained by blowing the glass ball into a mould, which is generally in bronze and features triangular grooves. The glass inside the mould acquires a ribbed surface and, if it is subsequently twisted, it becomes Rigadin ritorto (Twisted Rigadin).

    SOFFIATO (BLOWN)

    This technique takes its name from the action performed by the craftsmen when they blow air into a long metal cane attached to a piece of glass in order to expand and shape it into various shapes.

    This glassmaking tradition has remained unchanged for more than a thousand years.
    Thanks to this ancient technique and to the experience and manual skill of the master glassmakers, a simple piece of glass is transformed into artistic masterpieces that are truly one of a kind.

    SOMMERSO

    In this decorative technique, the master glassmaker uses either a blown or solid piece of glass to create several overlapping layers in different colours for a highly suggestive chromatic effect. The glass, which is attached to a cane, is dipped into crucibles containing pieces of glass in different colours. In order to enhance the decorative effect between the different layers of glass, the master glassmaker sometimes inserts gold leaf, other metals, or air bubbles into the glass.