Murrine, Murrini, Millefiori and Buttons

What exactly is cane work? Murrine? Murrini? Millefiori? This is the right page to answer all your questions.

An image in glass is created by sculpting and layering the glass horizontally to create a log, (ie cane,) so when you cut it on the cross section it has an image. Much like a picture is put in old candy or taffy. That image will go the whole length of the rod.

An image in glass can take a couple weeks, up to over a year to create.

I start with a a smaller portion of the picture and build on it over time. Take a face for example. One day I will make an eye, the next a nose, then a mouth. I will then add them all together in the flame and melt them into one final piece. The technical aspects are, getting the glass molten enough to pull evenly, while not getting it to liquid and distorting the image. If I get the glass too cool it will crack or explode. Its a crazy dance that I love.

Glass only comes in certain colors. In order to get the right shade, I will need to hand mix it myself, much like a painter. The only problem being, metals and oxides that color glass don't aways play nice together. Many times I will end up with mud. It has taken me years to build a library of color recipes.

I promised you definitions-

Cane- is the full rod of the glass image

Murrine- Italian, plural form of slices off of the rod

Murrina- Italian, singular slice off the rod

Murrini- Americanized word for a slice that covers both singular and plural

Millifiori- Italian for million flowers, a cane that is generally made at a furnace in the shape of a flower.

Once a cane is finished, I pull it to several different sizes. I then slice it with wet saw. Polish the slice on a flat lap. Remelt the slice with different layers of glass to create a glass cabochon. Finally I imbed a metal shank into the back creating a button. The piece is then held in the kiln at a certain temperature to anneal it for strength and quality. I encourage you to follow me on one of the many social media platforms. I regularly share what I'm workin on.