Monday, August 4, 2014
Glass in Venice
During the early Middle Ages, there were glass makers in the Venetian area who made glass for church windows. Later as Venice grew as a major port for trade, the Venetian glass makers were influenced by the art of the East, particularly Islamic art. By the 13th Century, glass making had reached such importance in the Venetian economy that the Venetian government began taking measures to protect their glass industry and its secret methods for making the uniquely beautiful Venetian glass. The glass production was concentrated on the island of Murano. Foreign glass makers were not allowed in, and Venetian glass makers were not allowed to emigrate. However, by the 17th Century, some of the secret methods gradually filtered out to Venice's competitors in the outside world. The glass artists of Venice were then forced to become innovative in their art in order to stay a step ahead of their competitors. After the fall of the Venetian Republic at the end of the 18th Century, most of the innovation ended for a period of time. Venice continued to produce glass, particularly glass beads, in the same style that had been developed earlier. However, innovation in Venetian glass making was revived in the 19th Century along with the unification of Italy. Venice continues to be the most famous glass making city in the world even today.
The glass bead pictured here was made by the Beadshaper in California, but the glass she uses is imported from Italy. You can see more of her glass beads at Beadshaper
Posted by Rose Klapman at 3:18 PM