My late Dad Basil worked with glass and that personal connection was part of the inspiration behind my lighting collection with One World, and my desire to visit the Venetian archipelago of Murano, during World of Design filming.
The artisans of Murano employ age-old techniques dating back to the 13thCentury to craft all manner of glass objects.
The glassmasters of Murano undertake a seven-year apprenticeship to hone their craft – usually a family trade that has been passed down through the generations – which is sadly a dying art today.
While we were there we visited one of Murano’s glassmasters, who showed us how he works glass into the bowls, lamps, sculptures and vases characteristic of the region. The glassblowing process is painfully slow and detailed, and involves kneading and blowing the glass slightly, then pricking the bubbles and blowing it again, shaping and changing the glass as the process progresses.
The heat in the room is incredible, as is the intensity and the skill. It can take between two and three days to make just one piece.
In the past I’d looked at Murano glassware and written the multi-coloured birds, glass beads, bottle stoppers and chandeliers off as gaudy, but when you see the time and skill and the love that goes into creating it, it casts an entirely new light on the pieces. It’s like the slow cooking version of sculpture.