Working in Murano

While it sounds really exotic and like a story in a book, the truth about working in Murano is that you sometimes get what you get.

 Here's where we begin our bead designs

We’ve talked about the disasters with reds – though they have had about 700 centuries to get the recipes worked out – we are again struggling with reds that look muddy, black and simply NOT red.  We try different lots to try and find one which we can use for the holiday season, and of course there’s Valentine’s Day looming in the future.  Part of the issue is that Murano has been selling their glass to tourist for the same 700 centuries. Tourist go wide-eyed with the glare from all the glass around and buy everything that glitters. Muranese (as they are called) are used to this

Cane selections before beads begin

Along comes VenetianBeadShop and we say, yes we love that bead, but could you make 500 of it? And could you make it in 5 colors and with silver or gold foil and could we do in inverse to make a collection of interesting beads? The next word I assure you will be “Allora” which roughly means “Yes, But…” At this point you get a long an quite excited discourse, most often in dialect, on why it couldn’t possibly be made. Case in point: One of our bead makers is ever so talented, needs money badly, has small children, sick wife, house payments. This sounds like a perfect match, we love his work, our customers love the beads and this should be a business venture making everyone happy?  We say, “Please make us 300 of each of these beautiful beads. The delivery must be in 3 weeks. He says “Allora”, we say “Allora – what?” This time the allora means he needs money to buy the glass. OK, we work this way with many of our bead makers, so we hand him the Euro for buying the glass. We say, “We will be back in one week and we’ll pick up the beads you have made in one week.” The balance will be shipped by our freight forwarder. One week goes by, contently we work with other bead makers, line up shipments and finally return for the goods made in a week of production? “Allora” there are no beads and now months later, there are still no beads. Though he still badly needs money, working apparently is out of the question. But it gets better.  He managed to get a part time position demonstrating how to make beads in the tourist industry.  They set up his lampworking table, said “Make the beads you like” and of course the tourist love watching the beads being made as he truly makes it look simple.  The company would like to sell the beads he produces, should be a win-win? However in a month and a half, he made 150 beads???  So when you get the urge to go into the Venetian Bead business, just remember this Italian proverb:Più facile a dirsi che a farsi. (Translated:  Easier said than done!)

Canal in Murano Italy


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