Thursday, June 12, 2014

Turtle Murrini

Murrini is ancient...a thousand flowers is what the translation boils down to.  I learned murrini making from Loren Stump.  The current king of murrini making.  No one does it as complicated or as well as Loren. You will certainly enjoy this demo from Corning and will give you an idea of how complicated this can be.  Yes, thank goodness there are easy murrini we can all make but there's nothing like that feeling of holding up a glob of glass and knowing that you are going to having this incredible miniature to work with when it's all pulled out. 


Look at the size of piece of glass he is holding and working on.  Trust me - this is not easy.  And all of this to make a murrini that might be pulled as small as 1/4" or smaller.  Of course, these large and complicated murrini's of Loren's are not pulled to this extreme - they are meant to seen.  But, it is glass and the blending that goes on to create the depth (WOW) - and think about the amount of minute details in a piece that is 28mm X 58mm.  This is considered a large and extremely complex murrini.  It has a price tag to match - it's a collectors piece.

The detail in this is incredible - it was made in sections, heated, and assembled.  I believe you can see the process on Loren's site.  It's highlighted above so you can easily go and look at his amazing work.

Can I do this?  Oh hell no.  I've made the faces and learned to do simpler murrini.  There are very few brave souls who would even attempt what Loren is capable of making.  He is the maestro of this form - a master.  I bow to the temple of Stump on this one.
But, if you're going to learn to do something you might as well sit at the feet of the master - and so I did.  I took my first class with Loren when I was a red and raw rookie.  I dropped hot glass on the floor - burned a hole in the plywood protecting the floor - was totally embarrassed and learned more than anyone should have the privilege of learning.  It has held me steadfast through all of these years.  I took the second class with Loren some 15 years later and was much better prepared.  I also got a nasty burn because I got distracted and moved my hand into the path of the flame.  What is it about his class that makes me reckless - it's beyond me and has never happened - before or after.  Just with him.  What a putz I can be...maybe there were stars in my eyes.  I do know I was trying to hard and needed to relax.
But what about this turtle murrini you're saying - since I titled this post that way.   Well, here you go.  I wanted a turtle in some of the tide pool beads that I'm making.  You can't exactly do an intricate turtle shell on them so I thought I might make one.  I saw one on Corinna's beads - (she wrote the first and definitely book on beadmaking - Passing the Flame) and decided I needed to make one.
Crap - what was I thinking - I got way carried away.  I looked like Loren holding up a glob of glass that was an inch thick and 2+ inches wide.  I know better - really I do.  You're supposed to start small - its a single smallish murrini not a piece of a complex one.  By the time I was done (an hour and a half later) I needed some extreme massage from the DH to recover.  I hope the murrini works out when I use it.  I pulled it way to small for some of what I want to do.  It's an issue for me for sure - and boy did those lessons come back - I could hear Loren yelling in the background - "Don't make it look like a bone when you are pulling it - that means not enough heat was applied to the ends."   Grrrrrrr, and a bone shape I had - as you can see.  Heaven's allowing, it will be cute on the beads.  And worth the hour plus I spent creating it.

You can see from the photos on the top I had quite the handle bars on this piece of murrini I was pulling and how it cracked as it cooled.  I never put the ends in the kiln just the cut sections you can see in my fist (complete with doggie hair).  The last photo are of some of them after I lapped them down.  I haven't much on the way of an index fingerprint after that but I have a nice selection of sizes. 
No, that's not all of the murrini I ended up with.  Those sticks in my fist were each about 4 or 5 inches long and since you use tile nippers to cut them into pieces less than a quarter inch thick you get quite a few.  What is on the paper towel is only what I might use when I'm ready to try them. 
As soon as the first tide pool or aquarium bead is done with them I will post it here.


1 comment:

Lela said...

Seriously amazing talent...