Lampworking and the Phoenician technique.

The lampworking

By lampwork we mean a branch of glass processing performed using a burner, commonly called a “torch (cannello)” in which oxygen and methane gas (but alternatively also propane) are mixed to obtain a correct combustion so as to obtain a flame sufficient “hot“, inside which glass rods (semi-finished) can be melted, (attention melted not melted) and the manual skill of the worker will cause those same rods to become more or less elaborate glass objects.

The ancient art of lampworking has today reached an extraordinary and universally recognized technical-executive excellence. The glass used for this procedure is exclusively Murano glass, changeable and with different thicknesses.

The objects worked in this way include all those that could not be obtained by blowing in the furnace, which therefore required a longer processing, as well as greater skill on the part of the master glassmaker. Consequently, above all the pearls are created with the working of the “lampworking“.

With them, in the nineteenth century, utensils much loved by the population were created, from perfume bottles to the famous figured murrine.


The lampworking technique

Cesare Toffolo also wrote about Stefano Morasso’s forty years of passion for this work (and his glass working technique) in the book “Il vetro a lume“, exalting his innovation in color techniques with Murano glass . After an apprenticeship in a furnace, the young Morasso lands in his father’s studio who, little by little, will pass on his knowledge to him.

Stefano will be able to distinguish himself among the lumisti of Murano for a witty intuition: for a decade already a small iron tube was used on the island to produce lamp-blown beads, the vision of this process led Stefano to remember the furnace and its techniques , the idea was to “merge” these two worlds through that metal tube. So not only small pearls but multicolored blown complexes made with the help of the metal tube, the thought focuses on a miniature furnace where the fire is that of the lamp but the movements are those of the furnace. The technique is new so everything had to be thought about, no one can teach him the production process, everything has to be experimented and marked.

The objects gradually become more harmonious and the colors find their own way, new blown products have been born and a new way of thinking about lampworking.

Stefano has opened a new path that others have subsequently decided to follow, this technique now seems to have always been present but in reality it was born in the 80s. Until the early 80s in Murano the “lumisti” or lampworkers of glass, produced massive objects; mainly small animals while glass blowing was the prerogative of the glass industry. Stefano recounts that in those years he sold his glass objects to various customers in the historic center of Venice who kept asking him for new things to offer in their shop, thus he had the idea of blowing small colored bottles.

At the beginning, Stefano explains to us, these bottles were of only one colour, but then the colors became the protagonists of my work.

From that moment Stefano began to produce: goblets, bowls, candlesticks, thimbles, jars, things that no one before him had thought of creating using the lamp. For this reason, the lampworking blowing for the creation of complex objects such as cups is first attributed to Stefano Morasso as can be read in the first volume of “Il vetro a lume” by Cesare Toffolo.

Today Stefano is a middle-aged man who, assisted by his wife and young son, continues to experiment with new chromatic compositions to be blown using the steel tube.

Phoenician glass working technique

The PHOENICIAN or STRIATED or even PLUMED (because it reminds a plumage) working is one of the oldest Murano glass working techniques you can admire ancient artifacts with this working at the Glass Museum, I have been performing it since the beginning of my career.

The working technique is long and laborious and requires a particular knowledge of glass and a considerable speed of execution of the piece. I am currently the only lighting artist who uses this processing technique.