Sculpted – Chevron Murano Blown Glass Beads

Venetian Bead Shop working on New Designs in MuranoWhen it comes to our sculpted Blown Beads, you have to think in 3d. The outside color is only part of the story. Selecting canes, you need to be able to visualize the effect when the outside layer is ground away.

We work with our Master Glass Blower to come up with the designs. Sometimes this involves not only sketches, but trips to the Effetre factory to search for just the canes we need.  We are fortunate to have a blower who is willing to collaborate with us through out the design and production phases.

When he was unhappy with the results of the grinding, (molare, in Italian), he bought his own grinder and taught his wife how to help. He is precise in all he does, a really important assets for our jewelry making.

Sometimes when we are in Murano and without good internet access, we visit his backyard and use his wifi, This is truly collaboration at all levels! And did I mention that the backyard comes with refreshments???

Inside Colors Murano Glass BeadsThe Inside is as Important as the Outside – Think 3D
When it comes to these beads, we have to consider what is inside the canes. What colors do we want exposed.  when the beads cool and are ground. When it comes to our sculpted Blown Beads, you have to think in 3d. The outside color is only part of the story. Selecting canes, you need to be able to visualize the effect when the outside layer is ground away.

We work with our Master Glass Blower to come up with the designs. Sometimes this involves not only sketches, but trips to the Effetre factory to search for just the canes we need.  We are fortunate to have a blower who is willing to collaborate with us through out the design and production phases.

When it comes to our sculpted Blown Beads, you have to think in 3d. The outside color is only part of the story. Selecting canes, you need to be able to visualize the effect when the outside layer is ground away.

Murano Glass Blown Beads

Choose the Colors.

We work with our Master Glass Blower to come up with the designs. Sometimes this involves not only sketches, but trips to the Effetre factory to search for just the canes we need.  We are fortunate to have a blower who is willing to collaborate with us through out the design and production phases. When he was unhappy with the results of the grinding, (molare, in Italian), he bought his own grinder and taught his wife how to help. He is precise in all he does, a really important assets for our jewelry making.

Sometimes when we are in Murano and without good internet access, we visit his backyard and use his wifi, This is truly collaboration at all levels! And did I mention that the backyard comes with refreshments???

Murano Glass Blown Beads,Mouth blown,Murano BeadsWhen it comes to these beads, we have to consider what is inside the canes. What colors do we want exposed.  When the beads have been annealed and are cool then comes the grinding. all by hand, so no two are ever exactly alike. To see our selection of beads visit: http://www.venetianbeadshop.com/Sculptured-Blown-Murano-Beads_c_194.html (or click on the picture here).

I Love Montana Bracelet Design

Make this Swarovski Design Bracelet

Design by Swarovski – Montana Blends

Make this Swarovski designed bracelet in just a few minutes. The abundance of Swarovski Crystals makes a statement. For the free design instructions which you can download and print as well as a list of supplies, click on the picture or Click Here

It features the new Swarovski Blends of Crystal/Montana strung on memory wire.
The only tools you’ll need are cutters and a round nose plier to curl the end of the memory wire. We recommend using the stronger memory wire cutters when you work with memory wire and save your side cutters for the more delicate cuts.
Make it you own by working with a different set of colors. Add some charms from our fabulous TierraCast collection.

Dichroic – Where Old Meets New

We took dichroic glass back to Venice after we encountered Jerry Sandberg and saw the beauty in this new decoration. Fortunately, Jerry Sandberg had begun working on dichroic for artist in the early 1970s.
He was working at a vacuum-coating laboratory in southern California in the solar cell industry when he saw an artist digging through the trash for broken pieces of dichroic. He was a jeweler as well as engineer and became interested in the creativity. He worked these three scavenger artists to create the first dichroic glass designed for the art industry, Cyan/Red; Magenta/Green and Yellow/Blue.
Today, some forty years later, the equipment CBS (Coatings by Sandberg) uses is as high tech as its companion industry, solar cells for satellites and the photography industry. These machine cost around $2M and apply the metallic films under vacuum. The more colors, the more layers and longer it takes to produce. By the time we arrived on the scene, Sandberg was already familiar with Murano Glass and had begun coating it. Because glass melts and cools as different temperatures, we can only use Murano Glass to make our beads. This is a very strange marriage of high tech equipment and low tech. We just melt glass around mandrels.

Using Class Technique Adding Dichroic

It took us several years, lots of batches of dichroic which we entrusted to only one of our families who produce beads for us. The cost is high for the dichroic and add to that the shipping round trip from Murano to Los Angeles and then back to Murano. Well you can see how these little bits of glitter are expensive. (And of course the Italian Government likes to make their share on the returning glass.)
When we first took the dichroic to Venice, we had no idea how to teach them to work with it. We solicited the help of a well-known insect artist in Venice, only to be told by him that he had no intention of sharing his knowledge with any “Muranese”. He is Venetian so a little of the feud between Venice and Murano. (So much for that, we were on our own.)
So we went to work with one of our beadmakers, an ex-maestro in a major furnace. His knowledge of the glass guided us through the early days, but we had no idea the colors that would work. It was an expensive trial and error period taking us about two years before we got a bead we could sell. But we knew inside these magic color wands we had some beautiful beads, if only we could learn how NOT to burn out the color.
It is one thing to make a few beads each day as many lampwork artist do. It is an entirely different thing to produce in quantities that we require. So some compromise has to be reached which requires us working with the bead makers.
On a recent trip, we once again explored how we could make the best use of the dichroic. When our newest line, Carnevale Glitz were still in the fire, we knew they would be a hit. Adding dichroic to our Gold Foil really made the dichroic pop. We could hardly wait for them to cool and taken off the mandrels. The colors really jump our against the exterior gold. So enjoy a bit of old Venetian Bead Making and thanks to Jerry Sandberg, some added amazing colors.
More Information in case you want to learn more:
– The Flow Magazine 2010 – History of Dichroic by Howard Sandberg
– Coating by Sandberg website: http://cbs-dichroic.com/faq.asp#whatisdichroic

What Really Goes on at VenetianBeadShop.com

What really goes on at VenetianBeadShop.com
Picking Beads at Venetian Bead ShopI thought I’d give you a little insight of what we’re working on here at VenetianBeadShop.com and the daily “struggles” to keep our website fresh, our products the best and our selection unsurpassed. And of course getting your beads shipped out to you ASAP.
Some days when our new boxes of beads come in we feel like Christmas. Other days when only a portion of it arrives or the colors are off (here’s where you get lots of specials) we feel like really disappointed children on Christmas morning.
It all begins with us working with the bead maker, we have to specify colors ever sooo precisely and even then Moretti will produce a batch of canes which are simply off. Then of course there is the “lost in translations” between the day we decide and the day they sit down to make the beads. And the difference in what beads they think are urgent versus what I think are urgent.
Or simply we are waiting on Moretti to produce the right canes. This happens especially often in the millefiori which require a specific millimeter bead to produce.
Website Woes:
Then there’s the website…..computers often have a way of disrupting everything. Microsoft or Foxfire or Safari launch a software update which throws all our website to the far right of the screen or worse yet, you (our customers) can’t get past step 1. (By the way we urge you to update your Foxfire and that is not easy.)
misssylviaWe are a small company, and Jeff is IT manager, Web Designer, Jewelry Artist, Findings Guru and sometimes he even gets some work done. I am chief translator in Italian, bead expeditor, bead designer, specials star and newsletter editor and most days chief cook! And of course, barista extraordinaire, Miss Sylvia, our espresso machine is always on ready for a cappuccino.
And did I forget to mention that we have four grandchildren who demand their equal attention.

Tips for Visiting Venice and Murano

gondolaVenice Tips & Places
This week one of our customers asked us for recommendations in Venice and Murano. Since many of you may be planning travels. We’ll share a few of our tips with you

Visiting a Furnace: There are 2 ways,
1) DELUXE: Ask at your hotel who always has an arrangement with a furnace in Murano. They will pick you up and take you in a taxi. You’ll get a grand tour, history & info on making the glass.
At the end you will be escorted to the “showroom” where you will get an aggressive sales pitch. Some people enjoy the personalized visit, want to spend a chunk of Euro on glass and they are happy. Others enjoy the tour, but have no intentions of buying.
This makes the furnace owner unhappy as he has paid the hotel a “ransom” to deliver you there, so probably there will not be a taxi to take you back to your hotel and you’ll have to find the public vaporetto. (So read carefully #2 below)
2) DO IT YOURSELF (My Pick):
Take the public vaporetto to Murano. Take the 41, 42 or the DM (departs Venices from Piazzale Roma or the train Station only). The 41, 42 take about 40 minutes, the DM about 20. Get off at Colonna (its the first stop on Murano).
When you arrive, there will likely be several men (with badges) who will offer you a tour. It’s a short walk with them and you’ll get part of the DELUXE and less of the sales pitch. There will be someone making little horses or animals and it is still interesting.
Afterwards you can wander around the islands (yes there are more than one) and maybe catch another tour.
Shopping in Venice and Murano: 3 Pieces of Advise.
1) If you see something you love, must have, buy it. Don’t think that you will find it somewhere else cheaper because chances are you won’t and secondly chances are you won’t be able to find the first store again or run out of time and then dream about it forever!
2) If it’s cheap it is not Murano Glass. This goes for jewelry, vases, anything glass. The “Merchants” of Venice will let you think it is. Sometimes they will downright lie to you.
3) Do Not Buy from the street vendors – this means anyone with goods on a bedsheet, selling out of a canvas bag, or lined on the steps of bridges selling purses, toys, watches or whatever the current racket is. You can be fined. It is all fake, meaning illegal.
Eating in Venice:
First about the food in Venice. It’s a lagoon and their local cuisine is derived from fish and shellfish. Just visit the Fish Market any morning (before noon) and you’ll see the locals buying their daily supplies. The local traditional foods are seppie neri pasta (it’s squid with the ink in the pasta), baccala (dried cod in paste), sarde & soar (onions, sardines & vinegar) and Fegato alla veneziana (liver). The grilled fish is always a good choice and besides it’s healthy.
The good news is that the wine, even good wine, is inexpensive.
My favorite Prosecco, Carpene Malvoti, is about 6 Euro in the local grocery. In the US, it’s $24.00 plus tax!
A cappuccino cost about 1.5 Euro, yes it’s a bit smaller but vastly superior!
The other great thing is that there’s no additional tax. What you see on an item is the price, the VAT (equivalent of tax) is already included. Makes figuring out prices a whole lot easier.
Morning Pastry:
In Venice, one of the oldest pastry shops is Pasticceria Rosa Salva. It’s a century old and there are 5 in Venice and one in Mestre (mainland). Ask any local and they can point you in the direction.
Indulging in Venice:
Many tourist, especially Americans make the pilgrimage to Harry’s Bar made famous by Ernest Hemmingway. But for my 50 Euro, nothing beats sitting in the Piazza San Marco (pick any of the cafes with outdoor seating) and listening to the bands, drinking prosecco and just enjoying being in this historical setting with a backdrop of the Chiesa San Marco and the lagoon.

PerlaVita Bed of Roses Large Hole Beads

Exclusive PerlaVita Handmade Venetian Beads with large holes for Pandora, Chamilia, and many other bracelet systems

PerlaVita by VenetianBeadShop

Available exclusively at VenetianBeadShop.com, our new Bed of Roses, lampwork Venetian Beads from our line now in our PERLAVITA. PerlaVita is trademarked by VenetianBeadShop.
They are little roses in each bead, painstakenly created by our beadmakers in molten glass.
It takes the large hole beads to another level! They will fit popular bracelet systems like PerlaVita, Pandora, Chamilia and any other as the hole size is 4.5mm. Available in Rhodium plated Sterling Silver or in Vermeil (Gold plate over Sterling Silver).

Lino Tagliapietra Exhibit

Lino Tagliapietra, Murano Maestro,Murano Glass Artist

Glass by the Murano Maestro

Today we went to the Tagliapietra exhibit in the Palazzo Franchetti (by the Accademia bridge).

You begin with a engaging video which has not only the Venetians but nearly every important American Glass Blower.  Lino began work in the Seguso furnace at 11 years old as an apprentice.
He went on to teach extensively in the US at Philchuck with Dale Chihuly. He is valued by the glass artist around the world for his role as mentor and teacher, in the society of Murano who holds their secrets close.
The depth and breath of his work and technique is amazing, and covers from 1954 to 2011.  Of course the Palazzo Franchetti (constructed in 1565) is also magnificent.
 To bad they wouldn’t let me make pictures.  I did buy the book and will put some up on the web that I can find.
His website is Lino Tagliapietra

Working in Venice – Technology

Every time we come to Venice, I think the internet access will be better and in general, it is better than it used to be however, for an Internet Company, we never have the bandwith we need. I am holed up on the landing between stairs which is the only place in the house we get reception. Touted as the only city with free WiFi, we can get it only on the Grand Canal, so riding the boats I can work as well as sitting at the boat stops.

Where is the Sun?

Where is the Sun?

It has been raining for what seems like an eternity with 2 small children with us. One day when we were headed out of Venice to work with a supplier, a tree fell on the train track and we were trapped on the train with our hungry 6 year old. No trains moving, we had to take a bus back to Venice which took about 2 hours. The traffic was snarled with the lack of the trains to move people around.

Kids and Umbrellas and Canals?

Kids and Umbrellas and Canals?

It seems there are more tourist here than in the previous couple of years. We spend most rides on the vaporetto giving directions. Jeff has been complimented on his English! One tourist thought the platform where we wait for the vaporetta was a boat and wondered when we would be moving.

Our Ipads have been a huge hit here and even better than a dog or baby to break the ice. Italians love new electronics. One day on the train we met an Italian journalist who was intrigued by the Ipad. He already had an iphone, but was having problems with it. Jeff rebooted his iphone and now he is writing a story about the Apple support on the train.

Marcella plays while we work. No technology needed.

Marcella plays while we work. No technology needed.

I shall give you the rules for Tourist as rain magnifies every movement in terms of time and effort. So if you come to Venice here are some rules. Too bad the Italians don’t read this as I have a few suggestions as well.

1. When you get on, don’t block the entrance,especially if you have luggage. Move inside. Move back. The locals have no way of getting their carts of groceries home other than the boat and dodging giant luggage makes it difficult.

2. Before you come, go to www.actv.it and look at the boat schedules. Get a bit of the lay of the land so you are not standing on the wrong platform. The Grand Canal is rather a two lane highway and if you figure out which way the boat is pointing, you will be fine. Now the Gira Citta is yet another story. One goes around clockwise and the other counter-clockwise but both eventually work their way around the island.

This Week’s Work

The beginning of the week we went to Effetre to select the canes for a project where we are matching fused pendants, beads for a total look.We bought our sample beadsto begin producing the matching pieces and to take to our fusion supplier to begin producing.

We worked with one of our furnaces to produce some new mosaic canes which will be exclusive to us. Everyone can buy the standard canes from Effetre,even in the US they are sold. But these canes and the colors are being produced only for us.

Ordering Beads on Murano

Ordering Beads on Murano

Additionally there currently is not available aventurina from the factory, but our furnace is now producing for us the canes we will use in the beads. The aventurina is in block form and takes a little work to make the stringers, but the result in the beads is quite stunning.

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