Renaissance Unit StudyWeek 15: We made Venetian Glass.
Secrets of glass making in Italy were closely guarded and still are today. During the middle ages sand was the main ingredient of glass making. The results were thick, cloudy, heavy but functional pieces. The Venetians replaced sand with quartz with great success. Venetian glass was delicate and light, and the first to be referred to as crystal.
Throughout the Renaissance Venetian glass making technology improved. It progressed from one color glass decorated with enamel paint during the 15th century, to multi-color glass mixes complete with textures and interesting shapes during the 16th century, and the 17th century saw the addition of heart shaped handles added to the stems of pots and bowls.
Today Italians on the island of Muran specialize in Murano Glass. Millefiori comes in extruded rods with floral shapes in the cross-section. When the rods are cut, much the same way a cookie log is sliced to make cookies, the result is a small coin shaped piece of glass which contains a flower decoration. When the pieces are laid side-by-side and melted, they become bowls, plates and lampshades.
The kids reviewed their Renaissance history by playing Pictionary.
Alum and Pepper
The Birth of Venus