While in Venice, I attended a glass blowing demonstration. The city and especially neighboring island Murano are known for intricate glass work. We watched as the craftsman first blew a vase out of clear hot melted glass and then melted it down to reshape into a horse figurine. Glassblowing involves inflating a molten blob of glass via pockets of air and then working the glass into desired shapes. The skill and ease with which he made the items was astonishing! Still, his skill level was only labeled that of a tier 2. A “master” craftsman is one that can make chandeliers, which are large intricate pieces that involve multiples days worth of shaping.
After the demonstration, we browsed a glass shop which was stocked full with glass pieces in every color. Glass is clear in its original form, but can be colored if certain metallic oxide powders are introduced in its molten state. Copper oxide produces green or bluish green, cobalt creates deep blue, and gold or copper produce red. Red glass objects were priced more expensive accordingly. I especially liked the animal figures, which which extremely lifelike!