Murano forced to shut down furnaces: crisis for the artisan excellence

We do not have time to say “glass” that one immediately thinks of Murano. The craftsmanship excellence has worldwide fame, and its quality has maintained its prestige throughout history up to the present day going through economic crises, wars, and plagues, as well as more or less worthy competitors, and ultimately globalization.

Courtesy Ghilli Antichità

However, in these months, master glassmakers are facing another big challenge. If Covid-19 had already put a strain on production due to the lack of raw materials, today’s increasing price of gas and electricity (up to 500 percent) has forced many companies, especially smaller ones, to stand by.

To cope with this critical moment, the Veneto Region has stipulated non-repayable funding, but as reported by the secretary of the Venice Confartigianato, Gianni De Checchi: “the money is already almost exhausted” (from the Repubblica, article of February 3, 2022, written by Eugenio Pendolini). Therefore, many furnaces in Murano have opted to turn off their furnaces and hopefully return to work soon.

The furnaces used by glass workshops need days to reach the right temperature. Thus they usually never stop working, but the current conditions make this process unsustainable.

Courtesy Vetropack

The renowned Murano glass is in serious trouble, and solutions are urgently needed. The risk is to see many of the historic glassworks close forever and lose along with them a priceless heritage.

Courtesy Venini | Salvioni Design

To better understand the critical situation, it can be helpful to pause and reflect on craftsmanship, and its role in the society and development of a city or country. Among the various positive aspects, in addition to the exceptional beauty of the handmade object with its imperfections and extraordinary nature, knowing and passing on through the generations unique know-how means keeping the memory alive and, through history, remembering our strengths.