The face of Venice, Italy, possibly the most romantic city in the world, is irresistible to me. For thousands of years, artists have captured every facet of this mystical city. All of my senses received constant stimulation as I walked among these beautiful streets. My time here inspired me to explore the art and jewelry scene that is so esteemed in other parts of the world, and I was in awe at the delicate beauty I came across. In particular, I wanted to know what is so special about Murano glass jewelry?
Venetian glass has been carefully crafted as long ago as the Roman Empire, where it was used for illumination in bathhouses and other fantastic architectural stylings. The early Murano glass artisans combined Roman techniques and skills learned during the Byzantine Empire’s trade with the Orient to become an important player in glass manufacturing. In fact, one of the first ever glass furnaces was on a Murano island and estimated to have been created in the 8th century!
As these technological innovations were happening, the culture was also thriving and growing. During carnival time, locals and tourists dress up and roam the streets of Venice. The traditional mask maker still makes the paper mâché masks by hand and paints them with traditional designs. Alter egos are channeled profoundly when masks are adorned. The masquerade balls during the carnivals transport me back in time.
I was in awe as I tried to imagine the lives of those in that distant past. The slower pace of pedestrian life and water traffic in Venice was especially perfect for allowing me to observe and reflect. My attention was drawn to the traditional red and white hues of the brickwork, offset by the crisp white detailing of the Istrian stone detailing the window arches. Light and color were freely exchanged between water and buildings, just like Monet brilliantly captured in his Venetian pictures. On the water, the horizon shifted constantly. In my minds’ eye, past and present shifted into one. Among the pedestrians currently walking about the street, I could see those who had walked before them. Thousands of years of thinkers, artists, and logicians have looked out across this beautiful city and taken in these same magical views.
While the world has shifted and changed, Murano glass jewelry has remained a constant in the lives of the Venetians. From the beautiful glass pendants, decanters, and pitchers that adorn museum halls to the authentic Murano glass bead necklaces and pendants, it became clear to me that this is a cultural tradition that will never falter in its magnificence.
My eyes are then drawn to the buildings floating on rafts over foundations pegged into loose mud. They give the Venetian buildings the important characteristics of breathability and flexibility, traits I admire and strive for within myself. There is so much that changes so quickly in our lives, and new sights and experiences are out there waiting, as long as we are not so rigid that we don’t take the leaps we need.
These thoughts linger in my head from the high terrace of my room, with the varied topography of the skyline dawning pointed dormer windows, chimneys, crinkly clay tiles, and wooden terraces. The meandering roads remind me of these meandering paths in life. Always changing, always pushing us to be new and better versions of ourselves.
In this city of canals, pedestrian streets, and bridges, I found the bridges so enticing with the varied designs and materials. They remind me that through the canal of life, it is critical to build bridges with like-minded people. That is why I travel, that is why I craft. I wish to see the world from new perspectives, to learn and live and love. I have so much to learn about the human experience. Under the next bridge lies my next inspiration.
Watching the Opera at the Teatro la Fenice makes me swoon both at the romantic love story and the rich architecture. As in any of my travels, the people make the place, and I was so blessed to meet amazing people such as Mr. Adriono Beregno at the Berengo Studios in Murano, mask makers, sculptures, and artists. I have made friendships for life.
With so much inspiration and a plethora of sketches, I returned with a renewed passion to create more jewelry inspired by this amazing city. In the fall, I plan to begin crafting my own Murano glass jewelry collection at the Berengo Studios after realizing what was so special about Murano glass. I can’t wait for you to see it. Take a look at the jewelry I currently have for sale in my collection and don’t forget to check my blogs as I journal about my adventures and inspirations.