Heather Ferman Flamework Beads
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Murano Italy Trip

Still under construction!

The trip of a lifetime with Corina, Lucio, and Vittorio



You come into Marco Polo International airport, just across the lagoon from Venice, by a wide body modern jet plane.  But as soon as you exit the airport you step back into the 15th century as you board a boat to a city with no cars, buses, street sounds or even bicycles.  This is Venice.  The timeless city is a maze of thin alley ways with centuries old 3 and 4 story building on each side that lead suddenly out into wide courtyards with magnificent churches.  Along wider walkways are shops, restaurants and bridges that cross canals.  True to its ancient nature, even giving directions in Venice recalls a distant time.  The names of the pedestrian bridges and the churches are the way that Venetians know where they are, as conventional addresses are seldom used.   Venice is like an adult Disney World.  There is always something to see in every direction.  The city features beautiful architecture, amazing art in the stores,  pastry shops galore and clean walkways.  In addition, the unusual calm and peacefulness, that goes along with the complete lack of automotive distractions, makes Venice a treat for Americans who are used to the bustle of big cities.



After a few days of wandering the streets of Venice, and checking out every glass store that we could find, we took the 10 minute boat ride to Murano.  Murano, like Venice, is a series of islands, that can be reached only by boat.  The glass workers in the 15th century were sent to Murano to keep from burning the city of Venice down.  They were not allowed to leave Murano under penalty of death because they  might give away secrets.  Even today, I'm slightly fearful of the Murano secret police, only kidding. 


The morning we picked to move to Murano there was dense fog.  The station we were to leave from told us that our boats were canceled.  After a short period of panic we figured out that we could take the boats that go back and forth to the airport because they had navigation equipment.  So we dragged our suitcases to another boat stop and finally made our way to Murano. 


When we arrived in Murano we were taken to Luigis apartments.  We were expecting rustic accommodations, but we found them very quaint and comfortable.  We dropped our bags and started exploring.  We looked for Lucios studio first.  I couldn't believe that I was actually in the place where the masters of lampwork art got started.


The next day was our first class with Lucio.  His studio is a large room with beautiful work stations, ventilation and a gallery room off to the side.  There were 8 American students, plus Corina, eager to get started.  Lucio began by telling us to gather around his workstation.  He said, "I do perfooormance for you.  Do you want romantic situation or erotic situation?"  Then he picked out music and began his magic. 


After his initial question to the group, we soon found that Lucio, while speaking English, sometimes felt more comfortable explaining something in French to Corina so that she in turn could explain it to us in English.  Think about it.  We had an Italian teacher speaking French to a German woman, who would translate into English for us.  I found this very amusing. 


Lucio started with the nude figure of a woman while the music played in the background.  He was amazing.  He worked every part of her body.  He even made her fingers.  They were so delicate and thin.  He worked with ease.  His assistant, Diego, would be heating up a rod, having it ready for him.  Lucio would take the large melted blob and continue to build her body one part at a time.  It looked as though he was doing a dance with glass while the music played.  If the music was fast he worked faster.  When the music slowed it seemed as though he slowed.  Im not sure who was leading, but his "perfooormance" captivated everyone in the room. 


As Lucio formed the perfect womens body, every curve developed.  He started with the lower half first being careful to attach the thigh to the hip area so that it looked like one unit.  He then moved on to the knee and melted more glass into the calf.  The proportions just fell into place.  Now he started melting the glass for the other thigh.  Attaching it perfectly with a bend to the leg.  Then a calf appeared at the bent knee.  The glass just flowed into place and stiffened up.  All this with no shattering, cracking or the usual problems that WE would all have. 


After he finished the lower half of the body, he puntied to a foot and burnt off his old punty at the waist.  Diego had a blob ready for him to create the torso.  All of a sudden this female figure came to life.  He created the upper body, applying the bust, and creating armpits.  He then put in a neck and moved to the arms, creating a woman without hands.  He switched and then started creating the head, saving the hands and feet for last.  Before we knew it, he had a beautiful woman created in glass to perfection.  This probably took under 30 minutes.  He then decided she needed a snake.  So from one foot to the other he created the body of the snake.  Then he formed the tail and moved on to the other side to create the head.  Meanwhile his cell phone kept ringing.  He would answer it and continue to work on the glass.  How many of us could do that? 


Seeing Lucio work and having the opportunity to work in his studio, was a dream come true for me.  In his studio you are surrounded by glass, and each piece is truly a work of art.  Even his glass trash which is laying around fascinated me. 

Although we ate in some restaurants, we also ate some meals in his studio.  A table was set-up right down the center of his gallery.  It was very special to be surrounded by such amazing art work while eating authentic Italian food.  Every minute we spent was filled with memories. 


The days just passed as we worked and watched Lucio do his performance.  All of us wished it would never end. 


On the 4th day, Vittorio Constantini came to teach.  He is a very soft spoken, calm gentle man, very different from Lucios style.  He began by making bugs.  Being a mother of two boys, I was very excited to learn how to create bugs.  I thought this might get my boys hooked on glass.  Now if we could only create a Playstation tape so they could virtually burn glass so that they don't get burned in real life, I'm sure then they'd be interested. 


Vittorio created bugs, butterflies, spiders, birds, including an owl, and finished with fish.  All the creatures he created in glass looked 100% lifelike.  I expected the bugs to start crawling away.  Working with his small pieces was a big change from the large sculptural pieces we had been doing with Lucio.  Although this was a lot of fun, the real fun began when they started "collaboration". 


Lucio and Vittorio decided they would do combination pieces for us.  Even Diego got to join in.  Piece after piece was created using all three of their talents working together.  For example, Diego would make some rings, Vittorio would make a component to go on the ring, and Lucio would bring it all together with extra pieces that he thought of making.  It was a real circus act.  Somehow it all went smoothly, while they juggled glass and punties and pieces across three torches.  One torch looked like a bunson burner, that would keep things warm and even out the heat.  I think this torch will be a must have for us in the future.  I think it was run on just propane.  The finished pieces were true works of art comprised of all threes special talents.  

More to come.........both pictures and details...............


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