The Glass Lexicon

The Glass Word:
Compiled by Emilio Santini

BORSEA (bohr-SAY-yah) 
In Italian: BORSELLA (bohr-SEHL-lah) Most of the time the plural is used, as in English, so pl. BORSEE (borh-SAY-eh). In English they are known as JACKS. 
BORSEE, jacks, are the most important tool of the trade. They are an extension of the Master glassblower’s hand, to shape and work glass in various forms. Their particular shape comes from having gone through centuries of the art of glass blowing, adapting and modifying their shapes to the needs of the Craft in glass, extruding their form through the experience and fire of centuries, to take the shape we now well know. The origin of the word, after research and inquiry with friends in the field from Italy, is unknown. We know that before being used in glass blowing, the word BORSELA was used by goldsmiths, centuries and centuries ago, and today, to indicate a kind of spring or spring clamp used to hold two pieces of gold or other precious metal together before soldering them, or a spring to keep a piece open from the inside. We think that the term was imported from such craft, since the BORSEE are basically a spring. Let me clarify something before I continue with this term. In Murano, there are many tools in the glass blowing world that come under the term BORSEE, but some of those tools are sometimes also called PINZE (PEEN-tseh). We’ll talk about those another day. For now let’s stick with BORSEE, jacks. The most commonly known and used form of jacks is the BORSEA DA SIEGAR (syeh-GAR), or BORSEE DA SIEGAR. SIEGAR in Italian is SEGARE (seh-GAH-reh), meaning to cut. This is the only one that has nothing at all to do with “pinze” and is commonly known simply as BORSEE. As many of you probably know, these jacks are made of metal and have such a particular shape that for this post I will publish a picture. They used to be made fully by hand in two different parts: The blades, in Muranese CORTEI (cor-TAY-ee), in Italian COLTELLI (cohl-TEHL-lee), and the spring MO(I)A (MOH- eeah), MOLLA (MOHL-lah) in Italian, that includes the handle part. Those two parts were and are soldered together. The blades, in the old times, used to be forged by hand from a piece of iron; between the hammering to get down to the right thickness, and in doing so modifying the crystalline structure of the iron, and the annealing, to harden the surface, they made blades that lasted a lifetime. (It was said that the steel of the blades should not be too hard, but soft and sweet). The large flat spring of the back side was bent by hammering it around the round part of the anvil or around a thick piece of round pipe. They did not bend it by force but by hammering it cold, and in doing so gave elasticity to the iron. The center part of the BORSEE is a smaller flat iron extension of the spring, which was bent into a half-circle to give comfort to the holding hand. Nowadays the blades are made of special steel that comes already in a pre-sized bar, so the metal worker has “only” to grind the inside of the blades, always straight, into a sharper angle and the outside to a curvature that varies with the use of the BORSEE. They also use special steel for the back side and the handle part, which is precut into the right shape by water jet. 

The BORSEE are the most important tool of the Muranese glassblowers. Mostly used for widening and shrinking the glass, they are also used to jack down the piece by squeezing the glass near the blow pipe, CANNA, with the inside of the blades (CORTEI), (that is why they are called BORSEE DA SIEGAR. Necking down the glass into a narrow valley, like sawing it). They are also used for opening hollow pieces with the outside of the blades; to model the glass into various shapes by pressing the hollow glass horizontally or at an angle; to flatten the bottom of an object with the blades or with the flat back side of the BORSEE; and many many other functions that the Master sees needed. 

BORSEE come with different lengths and different blade thicknesses depending on what the specific glass blower’s job is. There are BORSEE DA GAMBI (GAHM-bee) (jacks for stems) BORSEE DA BICERI or BEVANTI (bee-CHEH-ree, beh-VAHN-teh) (cup jacks) etc. etc. 

Of interest to some of the glass blowing newbies: If by any chance you find that your BORSEE (jacks) have too narrow an opening on the blade side and you want to widen it, never, ever, try to force them open holding them by the blades or handles and pulling them apart. They will likely crack or break in the middle of the large spring since it, the spring, is made of harmonic metal and will break. I personally saw it happen to a great American Glass Master. 

To widen them, hold them upside down and hit the concrete floor with the back part of the spring. The more and the harder you do it, the more they will open; still, use a gentle touch. If they are too wide, and the closest ironmonger is at “mailing” distance, put the wider end of the back side spring around a thick pipe and gently hammer it on the sides of the back with a motion as if you were to close them into a circle. Do it a little at the time. 

If the spring is too stiff, grind off a little of material from the end of it, but not only in one spot otherwise you weakened them in one spot with the risk of breaking them during use. Do it a little at the time until you reach the right strength. This is mostly for lamp workers: never get the blade red hot—you’ll ruin the temper and the blades. With the next post I will describe some of the other tools that use the same name, BORSEE, for them.





[23 March 2020]
TAGIANTE A BECO DE ANARA (tah-JAHN-the ah BEH-koh deh AH-nah-rah)
Today I want to introduce to you another kind of shears that, as far as I know, was not used in Murano until thirty years ago. It was imported from the USA, which imported it from the Swedish countries and the UK. I am talking about the TAGIANTE A BECO DE ANARA (tah-JAHN-the ah BEH-koh deh AH-nah-rah) “duckbill shears,” where BECO (BECCO in Italian (BEHK-koh)) means bill and ANARA (ANTARA in Italian (AH-nah-trah)) means duck. They are a useful tool not fully adopted in the Muranese glass blowing environment. They look like a normal pair of shears but have the tips rounded and slightly angled away from each other to prevent catching the glass on the tips while cutting. As with any innovation trying to enter a world that prides itself on a thousand years of traditions, it will probably take a few more decades before everybody will accept them in Murano. Some young masters have them in their armamentarium and a couple of older Masters that came to the USA, to generously bring their art, adopted them as well. The rest of glass blowers from Murano are waiting for the sky to fall on them. Then maybe they will use them. 

Addendum: Maestro Davide Fuin, kindly suggested, that those shears are also very good for cutting thick glass.






[20 March 2020]
TAIANTE TONDA (täēänte tondä) (tah-ee-YAHN-teh TOHN-dah) or TAGIANTE TONDA (tädjänte tondä) (tah-JAHN-teh TOHN-dah)
In English: diamond shears
In Italian it would translate into Forbice tonda (FOR-bee-cheh TOHN-dah), round shear.
It is, as far as I know, a tool that is used exclusively in glass blowing, unless you count the small round shears use to cut or trim off the end of a cigar and that some flame-workers use for small pieces. The blades are different from the TAGIANTE DRITA, larger and longer, and the inside blades, in the center, are shaped like a square with another small round carved indentation at the end of the blades. 

The TAGIANTE TONDA has quite a few uses at the bench while blowing glass. With them, but always while turning, you can imprint in the hot glass a round valley or round indentation; you can cut the glass off in a round shape at the end of an object; you can cut a gather of glass the helper is bringing to you in a perfectly round form; you can use them when a piece needs to be detached from the PONTEO (puntil) for sculpture, squeezing hard where you want the colder glass to break off from the PONTEO; and you can use them for many other functions that the master has the fantasy and need to come up with. 
Another important function is holding a pipe with the small indentation at the end. For instance, when the assistant brings a bubble or a solid amount of glass to be attached, from the top, onto another object, the master holds the CANNA or PONTEO with the TAGINATE TONDA by the small indentation at the end of it, to guide and control the descent onto the glass object. That small indentation is usually used for these purposes but, as I said before, ingenuity and creativity sometimes take over the mind of the Maestro; I can tell you I saw Pino Signoretto at the Corning Studio using that small end indentation as you would use the center part of the TAGIANTE TONDA, and I am sure many of you have done the same. 

I also want to add that, although I did not see them before in Murano (and I am the first to admit not having toured every single glass factory on the island), in this country some TAGIANTE TONDE (this is the plural form) (tah-JAHN-tee TOHN-deh) are really TONDE, round, and some are lacking the round indentation on the end. So now, the conundrum comes: should we still call them diamond shears (so called because, when open, the hole in the center reminds a cut diamond) although they are totally round, or change their name?  

As a curiosity some flame workers prefer the round hole versus the square/diamond hole.


[18 March 2020]
TAIANTE or TAGIANTE/I (täēänte) (ta-ee-YAHN-teh) or ( tädjänte/ē  ) (tah-JAHN-teh)
In English: shears
In Italian: Forbici (forbēt∫ē) (FOR-bee-chee)
I do not think much explanation is needed about the standard TAIANTE (shears). You all likely know that they are handmade shears, for cutting glass. 
In Muranese they are called TAIANTE [sometimes called TAIANTI (täēäntē) (ta-ee-YAHN-tee) using the plural form like we do in English (shears)]. The word comes from the Muranese TAIAR [tädjär (I had to put a j for the phonetic symbol I do not have on my keyboard, sorry) (ta-ee-YAR) or TAGIAR (tädjär) (tah-JAR)] that means to cut; in Italian TAGLIARE (tälēäre  ) (tahl-YAR-eh) For the newbies in Italian language: the diphthong “GL” is rather difficult to pronounce so, instead of trying to say it and end up with a knot in your tongue, just pronounce only the letter “L”.
There are a number of TAGIANTI of different kinds and shapes used in the art of glass blowing. The one I just described here are the simple straight shears that in Muranese are called TAIANTI DRITE (täēäntē drēte) (ta-ee-THAN-tee DREE-teh) that translate exactly in to straight shears where straight means DRITE in Muranese (in Italian DRITTE (DREET-teh)), and shears means TAIANTI in Muranese (forbici in Italian)

From tomorrow, I will tell you about and describe the other kind of shears used in this art.


[17 March 2020]
BRONZIN – Marver or marvering table. Comes from the word bronzo (bronze). It consists of a thick metal table where the glass blower rolls his hot glass into a cylindrical, conical, or other shape. Originally, it was made of stone or marble, from which comes the word marmorizzare, in English “to marver.” Later, probably during the bronze age, it was cast out of bronze. Interestingly, from those two words – bronzo and marmo – you have, in Venetian glass jargon, people who marmorizzano on the bronzin. The last person I know that was still using stone as a marvering table in Murano, though probably his son still uses it, is Dino Rosin, who used a slab of granite.
Lamp-workers usually use graphite as a marvering surface.



[16 March 2020]
SPEADA (speädä) (speh-YAH-dah)
This is the action of the person in charge of the melting during the night, gathering a small amount of glass from the pot using a 
SPEO. It is still done with coloured glass during the night, particularly with coral red and other reds, to check how the colour is forming and if there is the need to stir it or add more minerals or oxides. 


[14-15 March 2020]
SPEO (speo) (SPEH-yoh) Thin and shorter punty rod.

It comes from Spiedo (spēedo) (SPYEH-doh). It literally means skewer (spit).
It is usually used to gather small amount of glass for small applications on the glass object like a MORISE or a FILETTO SUL BORDO. 


13 March 2020
PONTEO DA BEVANTE (ponteo dä bevänte) (pohn-TEH-yoh dah beh-VAHN-teh) 
A normal punty, but gathered on a SPEO rod (see above), that while still hot is rolled on a soft fabric to pick up impurities (in the form of clay powder), to make it easier to detach the cup from the punty during the assembly of the goblet.


12 March 2020
PONTEO A DISCO (ponteo ä dēsko) (pohn-TEH-yoh ah DEES-koh) 
A punty that is actually shaped like a flat disk and is normally used only with special pieces, usually goblets, where the disk punty is attached to the top of the goblet, the cup, until the rest of the piece is finished and detached at the end. It is the most difficult PONTEO to make and to use, and if not made properly, it usually leaves a sharp edge on the top of the cup that then has to be cold-worked. 

11 March 2020
PUNTEO A TRE PUNTE (pōōnteo ä tre pōōnte) (poon-TEH-yoh ah treh POON-teh): 
The glass end on the punty is shaped like a tripod by stretching three rods of glass with the tweezers from the extra glass at the end of the rod, or by dividing the glass into three pieces with two cuts and then stretching each piece. Sometimes, when needed, it can have more points. It is used with pieces when the normal punty cannot be applied because there is no flat surface on the bottom of the piece, like when the flat bottom of an object is pushed inward, when hot, by the action of tweezers or jacks, to obtain a inner cone; the result is similar to the bottom of a champagne bottle, but narrower and sharper.



10 March 2020
PONTEO A CORONA (ponteo ä coronä) (pohn-TEH-yoh ah coh-ROH-nah) 
A punty where the gather of glass is shaped into a hollow crown at the end by using tweezers on hot glass with a double action of pulling and squeezing at the same time. It seems that those kinds of PONTEI started to be used in the 19th century.


9 March 2020
PONTEO DA SCULTURA (ponteo da skōōltōōrä) (pohn-TEH-yoh dah skool-TOO-rah): Usually formed on a larger punty rod with one or two gathers of glass, sometimes with extra glass on the very end. Normally used for large heavy pieces.


8 March 2020
PONTEO: is the normal version of a glassworker's iron rod, the regular one, obtained with a gather of glass on a PONTEO (rod), rolled on the marver, (see below).


7 March 2020
PONTELLO o PUNTELLO (pontello or pōōntello) (pohn-TEHL-lo or poon-TEHL-lo)

In English: Punty rod or Pontil (from the French pontil)
In Muranese: PONTEO (ponteo) (pohn-TEH-yo) or PUNTEO (Pōōnteo) (poon-TEH-yo)

An iron rod on which a small amount of glass is gathered at the end and then rolled on the marver  (BRONZIN) and used to hold the glass object detached from the blow pipe (CANA) for further shaping. 

There are a few kinds of PONTEI (ponteē) (pohn-TEH-ee) (plural of PONTEO). Besides the standard one of about 130 cm in length and 1 cm in diameter, there are longer ones and thicker ones, sometimes solid, sometimes hollow (naturally with closed ends), for bigger glass pieces. Usually those have one enlarged end that acts as a counterweight for heavier pieces. 

The PONTEO or PUNTEO is also used to gather small amount of glass for other applications like MORISE or FILETTO. 

PUNTEO or PONTEO in Muranese also has the meaning of the "punty mark" on the bottom of the finished object. After the object is detached from the PONTEO, an inscribed small circle remains on the bottom of the object. It also has the meaning of the finished punty with the shaped glass at the end of it. 

Preparing a good  PUNTEO is almost an art, like almost everything in glass blowing. I thought I would explain a few details about it. Let's use the making of a tumbler (GOTO) to explain further: After blowing and shaping the tumbler into a cylindrical form, the moment comes when it must be transferred to a PONTEO (punty rod), detaching it from the blow pipe, so as to finish the front of it by opening it all the way to the diameter of the cylinder. The PONTEO creates a cold connection with the bottom of the tumbler, meaning that the PUNTEO and the bottom are at different temperature; one is colder (and not glowing) than the other. 

Between the bottom of the tumbler and the PONTEO, the PONTEO is always the hotter of the two for a couple or reasons: 

1) if the bottom were hotter, when the PUNTEO is pressed onto it it would deform the bottom, making the tumbler unstable. 

2) when the time comes to put the tumbler into the annealer or kiln, the master gently taps the punty rod and the cold connection makes the tumbler detach from the punty rod. If the PONTEO was too hot, part of it or a section of it remains attached to the bottom of the tumbler. If the bottom of the tumbler were the hotter of the two, a small part of the bottom would come off leaving a sharp indentation on the bottom, or in some cases a hole. We can infer from this that if a piece of glass breaks off when the PUNTEO is detached, it is always from the hotter of the two. 

Needless to say, if both are too hot they will never separate, and if both are too cold they will never join properly. 

Although it is the job of the Master's assistant to bring the perfectly shaped PONTEO at the perfect temperature it is, in the end, the dexterity, practice, and art of the Master to decide if the PONTEO is good or not. Beginners usually have the tendency to blame the assistant for a cold PONTEO.


Phrases related to PONTEO

EVA UN PONTEO (in Muranese) (evä ōōn ponteo) (EH-vah oon pohn-TEH-oh)  Meaning: gather a punty.

PORTIME UN PONTEO (in Muranese) (portēme ōōn ponteo) (POR-teh-mee oon pohn-TEH-oh) Meaning: bring me a punty.

MASA CALDO (in Muranese) (masa caldo) (MAH-sah CAHL-doh) Meaning: too hot.

MASA FREDO  (in Muranese) (masa frädo) (MAH-sah FREH-doh) Meaning: too cold.

As probably many of you already know, there are many shapes of PONTEI depending on the object the Master is creating, but we will describe them another day. 



5, 6 March 2020
SBUSO (sbōōso) (ZBOO-zoh)

In English: Perforated or holed.

In Muranese, sometimes, instead of SBUSO for holed, they use BUSO (bōōso) (BOO-zoh) (hole). It is another characteristic of the Muranese language that, sometimes, adding an "S" at the beginning of a noun (substantive) turns it into a verb or an adjective. 

Interesting to know is that nowadays, if you go to Murano and visit a glass factory, you can hear both terms, FERR and CANA, used. You could hear the phrase "meti i FERI a scaldar(se)" (metē ē ferē ä skäldär(se)) (MEH-tee ee FEh-ree ah skahl-DAR(seh)), that literally means "put the irons to get hot" or you could hear "tote na cana" (tote nä cänä) (TOH-teh nah KAH-nah), in English "grab a blow pipe, or "tol su na cana" (tol sōō nä cänä) (tohl SOO nah KAH-nah), in English "pick up a pipe"..

So, FERRI (or singular FERRO) and CANNA, could be used interchangeably with the distinction that FERRI/O can be used for all the variety of pipes and punty rods and CANNA or CANNA DA SOFFIO is only used for the blow pipe. 





4 March 2020
FERRO (ferro) [FEHR-roh (these "r"s should be rolled)] 
In English: Iron.
In Muranese: FERO (fero) (FEh-roh)



3 March 2020
CANNA in English translates as “ Cane”, as in reed or hollow cane. In Italian it has the same meaning as in English.

In Muranese CANA (cänä) (KAH-nah) SOFFIO means “blow”
In Muranese SOFIO (sofēo) (SOH-fyoh) EVAR (in Muranese) come from the Italian LEVARE meaning “To take away or to raise”. 

The term CANNA becomes part of the glass blowing lingo in Murano only after the XIX century, at least at a document level; this does not mean it was not used before. From the XIV century (again, as recorded in documents), the terms they used were FERRO or FERRO SBUSO.



2 March 2020
CANNA DA SOFFIO (cännä dä soffēo) (KAHN-nah dah SOHF-fyoh )

In English: blow pipe

In Muranese: cana da supiar (cänä dä sōōpēär) (KAH-nah dah soop-YAR) (not used very often)

Also called CANA DA EVAR (cänä dä evär) (KAH-nah dah eh-VAR)

This is the blow pipe that is used to gather glass and then blow hollow glass objects. It used to be made of iron, including the head, with the consequence of having to bang the head of the pipe to knock the cold glass off at the end of the blowing process. Today, the head is made out of steel or stainless steel and the glass, during the cooling process, pops off by itself. 

In the past a blow pipe was obtained by drilling a hole by hand into an iron rod. (If you do not believe me, check how they drilled barrels for guns in the late 1500s) Later on, with the advent of new technologies, the pipe is made in two or three pieces: 

1) The pipe itself measuring about 120 cm usually made of iron and not with a very thick wall to give it lightness.  

2) The mouthpiece tapers into a point with a hole through it, and measures about 2.5 cm. It is welded or sometimes, for "fancy and pretty" glassblowers, screwed in and made of brass or plastic. 

3) The head, that can be conical and measures about 17cm with the wider part at the end, has a small hole all the way through it. That brings the total length of a blow pipe to about 140 cm. 

Naturally, there are various size pipes, depending on the size of the work you want to blow: the bigger the work, the bigger and a bit longer the pipe, and the bigger the Ego, with bigger pleasure from the collectors and for the pockets of the gallery owner that cashes in 50% of the retail price. 



I am not going to go into further details about blow pipes but I want to add one thing that could be an interesting curiosity: the main part of the pipe usually has a larger diameter hole through it, not only for lightness of the pipe itself but also to make space for a larger amount of air in the pipe. That is because this makes it easier to create enough pressure, particularly with the first blow for the first bubble, than it is with a very small hole all the way through it. It is a physics principle that was applied to the pipes unwittingly. Naturally, there is an ideal hole size given the length and thickness of the pipe; needless to say, an almost capillary hole would be of no use at all. 

The other detail/curiosity is that the head is made of thick iron to withstand the heat of the fire and to retain more heat while at the bench shaping the glass. 


Let us now see the origin of those terms above and, in doing so, give you a few more words in the coming days. 


1 March 2020
GOTO (goto) (GOH-toh)

In English: tumbler. It is, as in English, the most common shape of drinking vessel. It is usually a cylindrical or upside down truncated V-shaped cone. It can be any color and with or without FILETTO SUL BORDO (coloured lipwrap)

By now, all of you reading my (our) glossary, have figured out that, normally, an Italian word used in Muranese or Venetian, drops or loses the double consonants and the “L”. Examples: Tipetto becomes Tipeto; Filetto becomes Fieto. It is not a fixed rule but it is applied quite often.


29 Feb 2020 TIPETTO (tēpetto) (tee-PEHT-toh)

In English: It roughly translates as a “little chap” but it is
normally used for an adult in a negative or mocking way. (what a type of a person; what an odd character)(in some cases it also indicates a nice looking young man).

In Muranese: TIPETO (tēpeto) (tee-PEH-toh)
This is another typical and only MURANESE (moo-rah-NEH-zeh) (from Murano) word created on the island. Why it came to be used to identify a certain glass object, nobody knows, even today.

In glass blowing, it started to be used in the 19 th century and it defines a goblet that usually has a stylized swan or dolphin as a stem. Nowadays, it is also used for another kind of stemware but, if you ask a “real” MURANESE, he/she will tell you that is the swan stem, or dolphin stem, goblet.



28 Feb 2020
CALICE (cälēt∫e) (CAH-lee-cheh)

In English: Chalice
In Muranese: CAICE (cäēt∫e) (CAH-ee-cheh)

There is not clear distinction or differentiation in Murano between the words CALICE and BICCHIERE . In Italian CALICE is normally used for goblets that are larger then the ones used at the dinner table and relates more to the large one used during church services. So, in Murano, the word is frequently used for an elaborate or larger goblet, but it also depends on who you are talking too. Murano is a small island full of people that know all, or at least know the truth about life, since they just heard it from Nane (NAH-neh) at the fishmonger, who heard it from Bepi (BEH-pee) that worked with Rino (REE-noh). The conversation about glass blowing terms and their spelling can sometimes drag on for hours if started in the OSTERIA (osterēä) (oh-steh-REE- ah, Italian rustic bar where they serve mostly wine). So there is no well-defined boundary between Goblet and Chalice in Murano – it all depends on the amount of wine drunk from them.


27 Feb 2020
GAMBO SOFFIATO (gämbo soffēato) (GAHM-boh sohf-FIAH-toh)
In English: blown stem.
In Muranese: GAMBO SUPIÀ (gämbo sōōpēà) (GAHM-boh soo-PYAH)
Not much to explain with this expression, but here we introduce another important word in the glass blowing lingo: SOFFIATO (blown); from which the important expression of :

VETRO SOFFIATO (vetro soffēato) (VEH-troh sohf-FIAH-toh)
In English: blown glass
In Muranese: VERO SUPIÀ (vero sōōpēà) (VEH-roh soo-PYAH)

The “vetro soffiato di Murano” (blown glass from Murano) still has an important meaning around the world, and in Murano it has an extra meaning, because “pride” starts playing a crucial part when this phrase is used. Unfortunately, pride is still playing a role even with the decline of the glass industry in Murano, but it is still a pride of the past and will soon be the only thing left. What it does to the present ongoing disappearance of the glass blowing industry, love for the material and love of its history, nobody really knows, but that is Murano for you; a mirror of the world, a miniaturized universe where the world could see its future if it were not blinded by the hedonistic, narcissistic, short-term-gain view we have, and Murano has of life.

Sometimes only the word “SOFFIATO or SOFFIATI (sohf-FYAH-tee, plural)” is used to indicate the multitude of blown objects made at the furnace. For example: you could say “I soffiati di Murano (or i soffiati muranesi)” or just “i soffiati” of such-and-such factory. It is better to use the full expression “i vetri soffiati” but in Murano sometimes they used only “soffiati/o”.


“Bei sti sofiati” (BEH-ee stee soh-FYAH-tee: “These are beautiful blown glass pieces.”)



26 Feb 2020
ALETTE (älette) (ah-LET-teh)
In English: wings.
In Muranese: AETE (äete) (ah-YEH-teh)

Those are, usually, the two semicircular thick glass threads, one above the other, usually with the large one above, applied on the side of the goblet stem, one per side on the same axis that usually are then embellished with a MORISE. They sort of look like butterfly wings.

Salviati glassmakers, Murano, 19th cent.(detail).
Courtesy of "kipictoca" in Palau

25 Feb 2020
FIETO (fēeto) (fee-YEH-toh) [in Italian: FILETTO (fēletto) (fee-LEHT-toh)
In English: Thread. Glass thread. The direct translation would be: thin or fine thread. It comes from FILO (fēlo) (FEE-loh): Thread. It is a thin thread of glass applied to various parts of any glass object. When applied on the edge of an object (what we call “on the mouth” of the object) that later will be open into a large aperture, it is called FILETTO SUL BORDO (…sōōl bordo) (sool BOR-doh) or sometimes FILETTO SULLA BOCCA (…sōōlla bokka) (sool-lah BOHK-kah)

Guide to pronounce double consonant in Italian: Pronounce the written consonant and then hold it for a pause of half a second before the following vowel.


24 Feb 2020
MORISE or MORISA (morēdze/ä) 
(moh-REE-zeh or moh-REE-zah)

In English: I do not know the direct translation. 
It is a decorative thread of glass that, having been applied to part
of a glass object, is tweezed or pinched with tweezers. It can have many shapes, depending on the tweezers used and on the motion of the hand of the master.

It is usually applied on the edge or side of the cups of chandeliers,
on the side wings of a goblet stem, on the foot, and on many other
parts of glass objects.


23 Feb 2020
AVOGLIO or AVOLIO (ävolēo) (ah-VOHL-yo)
In English: as far as I know, there is no English equivalent, but feel
free to suggest.
The Avolio is that small piece of glass shaped like a bobbin sometime used, in the Venetian glass-making tradition, as a transition piece between the cup (bevante) and the stem (gambo) or the stem (gambo) and the foot (piede).

There is no absolute certainty as to the origin of this term. The most recognized genesis of the word is that it comes from AVORIO (ävorēo) (ah-VOR-yo), in English Ivory.

The Italian “avorio” used to be translated in Venetian as Avolio. In the old times, the cup of a goblet (mostly of metal but sometimes of glass) used to be joined to the stem by a piece of metal: pewter, silver, gold. Sometimes they used ivory. Even today, in Catholic churches, many of the chalices used for the mass have the cup united to the stem by a piece of ivory. You can still find them sold today in catalogs for church objects.

The bobbin shape is due to the fact that it is one of the only shapes that can be accomplished at the furnace, particularly during the assembling stage, without the aid of a torch, if you want to have something close to a narrow cylinder as the transitional part.

Having the Avolio as a transition piece between the cup and the foot also allows you to align everything after the cup has been attached to the stem by means of it. Usually it is almost impossible to have everything straight after assembling; so, having to reheat the finished cup, the first thing that softens up in the glory hole is the Avolio, while the rest of the goblet, unless it spends too much time in the heat, stays firm.

When I was young I remember that you could recognize the various hands of the great masters by the shape or size of their Avolio. One made it longer, one shorter, one skinnier and so on. The top or the bottom of the Avolio, also hides the “glue bit” joining the parts together.




22 Feb 2020
SIEE (see-EH-eh) (SIEE is the plural of SIEA).
Almost for sure the name derives from the “çilele degli spezieri” (thelozenges of the apothecaries) The lozenges (disks) that the apothecary prepared in ancient times, were pressed into a disk form and sold as remedies for various ailments, depending on their content.


21 Feb 2020
SIEA (written siela) (sēeä) (see-EH-yah)
In English: glass disk (sometime called Maria in the scientific
glassblowing world) It is a small disk that sometimes is placed between the cup and the stem or the foot and the stem of a goblet. Sometimes it is also placed in the middle of the stem by itself or in the company of many other



20 Feb 2020
PIEDE: (pēede) (PYEH-deh)
In English: Foot.
Muranese: PIE. (pēe) (PEE-eh)
The foot (almost always round) that supports everything above it and give stability to the "bicchiere".


19 Feb 2020
GAMBO: (gämbo) (GAHM-bo)
In English: Stem.
Muranese: GAMBO. (gämbo) (GAHM-bo)
From "gamba" (gämbä) (GAHM-bah).
In English: Leg.
The stem of the goblet.




18 Feb 2020

BEVANTE. (bevänte) (beh-VAHN-te)
In English: Cup.
It is the top part of a goblet that you are supposed to drink from, unless you are from the USA, in that case you use a straw.
The word comes from Bere (bere) (BEH-reh) or Bevere (bevere) (BEH-veh-reh).
In English: To drink.


17 Feb 2020
BICCHIERE. (bēkkēere) (beek-KYEH-reh)
In English: Goblet.
Muranese: BICER. (bēcher) (bee-CHAIR)
Uncertain origin, probably from the old French "Bichier" or from the
latin "Bicariu(m)".


Compiled by Emilio Santini

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