“MURANO GLASS”, MORETTI, EFFETRE – what is it?

A number of things have happened lately to make me realize that consumers are confused when we say that we use glass rods which are manufactured in Murano and Venice, Italy. Most people are aware that the island of Murano has had a reputation for many centuries of producing the finest glass and Murano glass products are sought after throughout the world.

In 1291, the mayor of Venice, Italy ordered that all glass factories move to the island of Murano to prevent harmful factory fires from affecting Venice. Since then, Murano glass has developed a reputation for beauty and color. Murano glass is first identified by its location, then its factories, and finally its designers. You can identify these sources with a certificate of authenticity, a master glass maker signature or a Murano glass catalog.

The following are master glass makers from Murano: Ercole Barovier, Archimede Seguso, Aureliano Toso, Galliano Ferro, Vincenzo Nason, Alfredo Barbini, and Carlo Moretti. There are many more master glass makers that worked at Murano glass factories over the years.

This is a short extract from designboom.com where there is a long article on the Moretti family:

“carlo moretti was born in murano in 1934, and he lived in venice, with his wife bruna matteotti in an apartment overlooking the rooftops and canals adjacent to the rialto bridge, till his sudden death, on may 30th, 2008. after having graduated in classical studies he enrolled in law school but, lured by the irresistible call of his own family’s patrimony – murano crystal glass – in 1958 he founded, together with his brother giovanni, the carlo moretti firm, where he was mainly responsible for the design and production of the firm’s artifacts. during the 80s he animated the creation of a number of consortiums on the island of murano and, in particular, the establishment of the island’s museum of contemporary glass. carlo moretti has been acknowledged with numerous prizes and international rewards, and has been invited to hold conferences on his work in cultural and art institutions worldwide.”

Lampworkers around the world are not allowed to label or stamp their products as “MURANO GLASS”. We advise clients that at STUDIO 44 MAURITIUS 95% of our beads are made from glass rods manufactured in the factory of Moretti-Effetre. However, the fact that clients see our beads being made by me here in our Mauritius studio, which forms part of our shop, also makes it clear that it is manufactured locally is not “MURANO GLASS” made in Murano, Italy, but is made from glass rods produced the factories in Murano and Venice.

I suppose its a bit like the fact that one may not use the terms “Pandora”, “Roquefort” or “champagne” for marketing purposes either as these are also Trademarks for particular products.

Unfortunately many fake products are being sold on the island of Murano itself, none of which have ever seen the inside of a Murano glass factory! These are being illegally stamped as “MURANO GLASS” and are destroying the livelihood of genuine Italian born lampworkers and glass blowers. It is sad that the Italian Government does not do more to stamp out this practice.

When I first started lamp working, I was using Moretti glass rods. You will notice the name of Carlo Moretti amongst the master glass makers mentioned above. However, Moretti is now marketing under the name Effetre.  I use Effetre for around 95% of my beads. However, due to a lack of certain colors – especially the colors of the lagoon here in Mauritius where I live, I am forced to look to other manufacturers to fill this gap. Effetre also do not specialize in the SILVER COLOURS and frits which give such a beautiful metallic and range of oil slick type of color to my beads.

The glass industry has grown and we lampworkers around the world are continually looking for new colors, new effects and new ideas to use in the creation of their beads. The technology of glass is no longer limited to Venice and there are manufacturers around the world producing top quality glass, Murrini, etc.

The DOUBLE HELIX factory produces the most beautiful colors of glass giving the oil slick colors. CIM produces the most beautiful colors which are exactly the colors I see in the lagoon of Roches Noires here on the north east coast of Mauritius. These are used in around 5% of the beads I make as the glass is very expensive.

There is also Zephyr, Reichenbach, Divardi and many other makes which I have not yet had the pleasure of trying. I tend to stick to one supplier as is more economical to purchase everything under one roof.

The top lamp workers in the world use a range of glass from different manufacturers producing top quality glass in countries around the world. Perhaps in the future I shall have time to try out some of the many other makes of glass, but most of these are more expensive and with the freight, duty and VAT payable on glass imports to Mauritius, we are happy to stick with what we know and love for the moment. Perhaps one day the Mauritian Government will assist us by removing the VAT we pay on the freight and the raw materials which would help us a lot. Here in Mauritius too, cheap glass beads are being imported from China and sold as “Murano” glass and there is nothing we can do about it!!!

I hope that this will help you to understand what is meant by “MURANO GLASS”.  We can  assure you that the glass we use is Effetre 90%, Vetrofond 2%, CIM 5% and DOUBLE HELIX 3%. All of this glass is top quality and our beads go through an ANNEALING cycle in a special kiln to ensure hardness and to give a quality that will last a lifetime. We have been honored to be awarded the trademark “made in moris” which in itself is a guarantee of quality, after sales service and approval of our production methods and ethics of STUDIO 44 MAURITIUS.

Thank you for reading this article. Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to address them to me, Barbara on contact@studio44mauritius.com.

2017 is almost upon us ….

It seems like a couple of months ago that we moved our studio from Roches Noires on the North East Coast of Mauritius further up the coast to St Francois, Calodyne. Since opening the shop/studio at the end of May we have been busy with one thing after another with little time to spend on anything not on the URGENT list.

I now appreciate how time consuming it is to handle the planning, production, stock control, packaging, selling, accounting, tracking items on consignment, paying bills, collecting money, etc. Wow! It just keeps us going non-stop. As a husband and wife team its probably easier for us as we share some of the roles. And we now have a wonderful stock control and costing program which we have almost perfected this year.

A few months after we opened the shop, Jean Claude moved his side of production from Roches Noires also to Calodyne to a location 500 meters down the road from the shop/my studio. His large kilns needed a large airy space of their own. With large cutting tables and other equipment he now has lots of room to spread out and enjoy creating.

We are looking forward to 2017 which is going to be a challenge in its own right. Jean Claude will be starting the STUDIO 44 MAURITIUS CRAFT ACADEMY where he will run hot glass, pewter, mosaic and other classes where people can come and create and have fun doing so. The classes will start in February.

We have a couple of things in the pipeline which we hope will come to fruition in the first quarter of 2017. More on that next year if things go according to plan.

We have decided to take a break and will close on 31st December and reopen on Monday, 9th January, 2017. We will relax at home – swims in the lagoon, reading on the beach, snorkeling and enjoying some good home cooking. Meals these days often come out of a box, heated in the microwave!

Wishing you a wonderful, happy and safe Festive Season. My New Years’ Resolution will surely be to try and blog more regularly! And to get organized with photos of our creations.Image 1

Our shop is the first one on the right hand side of the picture. We now have our blue STUDIO 44 MAURITIUS board installed on the wall on the right.

Until then, Happy Holidays!!!

 

 

 

Renewal …..

As in nature, we have to continually renew, innovate and explore new possibilities. Change is the only thing we can be 100% sure of in this life and we must embrace changes as they occur with confidence and positivity, realising that it is a chance to grow our business and develop new skills on a personal level. This year has been such a year for Jean Claude and I. At times very stressful and frightening, but things are gradually falling into place and new opportunities are opening up for us.

Between May 2016 and May 2017 we will have split our studio into two locations. The beadmaking studio cum showroom where I work and the other location which is the hot glass studio cum craft academy where Jean Claude is based. We now occupy two different locations in St Francois, Calodyne.

In November we will start building a cosy little cottage for ourselves at Roches Noires – somewhere we can truly call our own and have a small vegetable patch and some pretty flower beds once again. Jean Claude is working on ideas for a water feature and I look forward to hanging some bird feeders for the cardinals and other local birds.  Living currently in an upstairs apartment, we both miss the feel of walking on soft green grass and enjoying a braai in the garden on a Sunday.

Now that the showroom is established we are focussing our attention on the Studio 44 Craft Academy  which is situated 5 minutes walk down the road from the showroom. Jean Claude has found the ideal place to house his glass kilns and have plenty of room for teaching some new crafts. He is back in full production of his beautiful glass bowls, plates, etcetera and will shortly be posting details of the craft courses he will be offering on our Studio 44 MAURITIUS Facebook page. The academy is on the street level at the rear of the same building as Linda’s Restaurant which is in the basement and at present you will see only their sign on top of the building if you look south at the intersection where Intermart Supermarket is situated. Our Craft Academy signs are not up yet -the contact number is Jean Claude’s mobile 59368660. You can also email him on contact@studio44mauritius.com.

Creativity exists in each one of us – we just need to give it a chance to express itself.  With his 20 years of experience in glass and other crafts and the idea to make the classes relaxed and enjoyable, we would like participants to come away with practical and useful items they have had fun creating and can proudly say “I made it myself!”

Well, I am writing this from my comfortable recliner on the balcony, having been housebound with flu for the last two days. Turning a negative into a positive, we have a long overdue blog to post! We must never cease to count our blessings every day. With the world in terrible turmoil, let’s say THANK YOU for the peaceful life we enjoy in MAURITIUS – our beautiful tropical island. Well, perhaps not so tropical at the moment but Spring is not far off!

 

At last ……. Whew!!!

Its been both exciting and exhausting fitting out and moving into our new shop …

At last, the last box is unpacked, the floor is swept and its time to get back to work again. Its been both exciting and exhausting fitting out and moving into our new shop at Calodyne in the north of Mauritius. Its a 25 minute drive from our old studio at Roches Noires, where we live, and I must say that its quite nice to separate home from work.

From just a shell when we first looked at the shop, its is now fitted out with lovely showcases, some of which were modified and moved from the old studio; lights and plugs have been installed; a new toilet; a kitchenette/bead washing and cleaning area and its very comfortable.

Unfortunately Jean Claude cannot fit his big fusing kilns or cutting table or all his glass painting equipment into our new shop, so he will be working from the old studio when necessary.

Its great to have our stock control and our costing in the same place as our stock at last which makes for much easier and quicker costing for new designs and easier stock control.

All in all, we are very happy and relaxed. The only item which needs to be completed is the connection for my oxygen to the two torches. We have now been waiting for one month for this to be done and today is supposed to be the magic day !!! Lets hope it comes true!!!

I will post two photographs of the new shop. The first will show where it is in relation to Intermart Supermarket and the second will show the front of the shop. Its very convenient for people living in this area as there is not much here in the way of a place to buy good quality gifts for occasions – birthday, wedding, anniversary. We are proud to have been awarded the much coveted trademark “made in moris” which guarantees both the quality of our products and the percentage of local content.

Hope to see you for a visit if you are in the area at any time. We would love to have your feedback on what we have done and perhaps even how we can improve the set-up.

Enjoy your week!

 

 

 

 

 

The disappearing blog ?

The Festive Season is over and its time to be creative in 2016!

Well, perhaps my laptop is a safer bet when it comes to writing blogs. I just completed a long blog this morning and tapped the incorrect icon on my iPad and whoosh it has disappeared into the ether!!! Infuriating to say the least. So, let me have another go ….

Thank goodness the Festive Season is over. I ate far too much of the nice fattening goodies and have gained 3 1/2 kilos. So, this morning it was down to serious business with brown toast and an egg for breakfast.

The weather here at Roches Noires on the north east coast of Mauritius is beautiful today. Jean Claude, my husband, enjoyed an hour long walk along the coastal road, bordered on one side by beach bungalows such as ours and on the other side by a forest. I did 40 minutes of cycling on my exercise bike – hope the message got through to the fat cells that their lives are going to be short-lived. This year I made a Christmas Pudding – my big sister’s recipe, crammed with whole cherries, fruits and nuts. Eaten with a brandy sauce – yes, lots of brandy please! – it is hard to resist. One piece of that each day is probably sufficient to put on weight. Well, sad to say it almost finished. Perhaps I will leave the rest to Jean Claude to enjoy.

The thing I enjoy most on the exercise bike – after all who likes to exercise!?! – is that I can read my digital lamp working magazines whilst I cycle. I am usually sad to hear the ring of the timer saying I have completed the course.

Its really hot in Mauritius at the moment. Luckily on our coast we get the breeze. On the west of the island they are just melting in the hot, humid, sticky conditions.

I started recently playing around with silver glass and silver itself. One of our new additions to the range is a 3 piece choker which sits beautifully on the neck. I do a focal bead with silver glass and silver and just the one bead with silver spacers on either side is very pretty. You can see some of them on our Facebook page and also our website. https://www.studio44mauritius.com. Facebook STUDIO44MAURITIUS.

With the start of a new year – its always exciting isn’t it? – I have been thinking of new designs and new products to design in our silver-plated upmarket range of jewelry. I love working with wire and this year I must really try out some new earing designs using silver plated wire. Or, perhaps even go the whole hog and buy some silver wire to try out the tourist market and see if they are willing to pay for silver.

We had so many shows in November and December that we were exhausted by 24th and have taken it a bit easy since then. Lots of reading, relaxing, swimming in our beautiful crystal clear lagoon and yes, unfortunately eating lots of good things too. Well, I think its good to have a break from routine. It kinda charges our batteries and get us in the mood for the new year.

I certainly am ready for some exciting projects this year. We need to find export markets for our products; find one or two more select stores in Mauritius in the south and the north of the island to stock our products; and I need to discipline myself to be serious about my blog and post something interesting every week. There is so much to learn with Pinterest, Instagram, twitter, etc and its not always possible to find the time to learn how to better connect with the world digitally.

I thank you for reading my blog and wish you and yours every success and happiness in 2016.