Photographer's Note

World's biggest glass tree for Xmas
Celebration of centuries- old Venetian craftsmanship

Venetian artisans are preparing a special Christmas treat for the lagoon city this year - the world's biggest glass tree.

The monumental Christmas tree is being made by a group of the world famous glassblowers who work on the Venetian island of Murano.

The details of the tree's design are being kept secret until it is unveiled on the island on December 8.

But the man who designed it, master glassblower Simone Cenedese, said it will be a modern interpretation of the traditional colours and symbols of the festive season.

Cenedese said he called in a firm of architects to help with the structural details of the project.

The tree will be 7.5 metres tall, have a diameter of three metres and weigh three tonnes. Cenedese's team are currently blowing the branches and sections of the tree's trunk, which will then be bolted together.

He says the end result will be a veritable work of art, entitled "Riflessi di vetri in un albero di Natale" (Glass reflections in a Christmas tree). Venice has been famous for centuries for its glassblowers, who were forced to move to Murano in the 13th century so their foundries were not a fire hazard to the rest of the city.

The move turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the local craftsmen, as it made it harder for artisans from elsewhere to steal their secrets and techniques. During the 15th century Venetian craftsman invented the first clear glass, called 'cristallo'.

Today many of Murano's glass workshops remain family-run businesses.

They stay true to the glassblowers time-honoured techniques, but have moved with the times in terms of design, taking aboard influences from modern and contemporary art.

The island's workshops export an enormous variety of beautiful objects - including sculptures, ornaments, mirrors, vases, clocks, jewellery, lamps and lights - all over the world.


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Additional Photos by Vinicio Tullio (vinicio) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2554 W: 236 N: 3986] (23423)
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