Hearts of Boro (borosilicate glass) murrine cane.

Boro hearts

I am taking baby steps where learning the complex process of making murrine.

Often referred to a millefiori, meaning million flowers. Glass cane like this one pictured that is not a representation of a flower are call murrine (plural) or murrina (singular). Popular murrine range in complexity from abstract forms to Simpson characters to tiny reproductions of Renaissance oil paintings. These murrine rang in price from $1-2 per gram to thousands of dollars for a single “coin” or slice of the glass cane produced my artists like Loren Stump.

When the murrine is cut, it can be sniped with a set of tile nippers or sliced with a diamond encrusted lapidary saw. When simply nipped off the pieces are usually irregular but only need to be fire polished with a torch. These are usually included into a larger glass object. When saw cut, the individual slices are more uniform and are typically polished, like gems are polished, to show off the design. When polished these murrina are mist likely destined for the collection of an avid murine collector but my also be included in larger works or included in pieces of jewelry.

Some purists collectors would shutter to do anything but collect and slow their collection in little plastic gem cases.

When starting out making murrine many people start by making a signature cane. This give a good introduction to making murrine. Some signature. Cane are simple and some are more complex. You can see my signature cane that I made in a prior blog post.

Murrine are a good skill to have as a glass artist. The possible uses range from murrine as the final destination, murrine as the focal point in a piece of jewelry or be part of a larger piece of glass like a plate, flask bowl or pipe.


Boro hearts
Boro Hearts

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When sitting down to the bench torch I am presented with the conundrum of impromptu spontaneity versus carful planning. I suppose, at some point I will want to carefully plan out my next move but being relatively new to lampworking, not new to glass, I am inextricably drawn to the free flowing creative process with a minimum of restrictions. So, in some cases the technical details may have suffered for the occasional devine “happy accident” factor. Flame-working is so much more dynamic than kiln formed or fused glass. It is hard to reign in the free, painterly spirit, suppressed so long doing fused glass pieces.


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