Friday, February 03, 2012


Incalmo, a technique invented by Venetian glass blowers nearly 500 years ago and still being mastered today. Mastered is definitely the word for this glass work as it's technically complex and physically demanding. 

The glass artist has to make two separately blown cups of glass which must be the same width at the base or top where it is to be fused to another piece of glass. The second piece must be placed directly at the edge of the first piece with no overlap of the edges. Compare this to our Burmese glass where the pink top is made of pink glass over the cream glass, put back to the flame and fused.
The finished piece can have two or three coloured sections of glass and it must appear as though it is one piece of glass.  From Venice, the method of making incalmo spread across Europe to America where this glass ware is still made by skilled artists.

So just to end on a uplifting note, when I was reading various sites about this glass I came across another innovation and, dare I say, it had to be America.  I was struck by the name "memory glass" and it comes in hearts, orbs or pendants and, wait for it, within the blown glass is suspended the ashes of one's beloved departed.  As the site put it, "...a beautiful keepsake memoir piece which can be displayed in one way or another."  I think I'll give this one a miss. I do enough talking to the departed without having them swirling around in a paperweight which I'd have to dust.


The Elephant's Child said...

I will join you in boycotting 'memory glass'. Not only would it add to my dusting requirements I would be be paranoid about breaking it and having the ashes of my dear departed adding to the patina of dust in the rest of the room.

Andrew said...

Perhaps you should get a blow torch and make some fancy glass. I know a shop that might sell it on commission.

JahTeh said...

EC, it's creepy, like keeping their soul imprisoned even though they'd already moved on. Possibly a cat shape or the dog for pets but it would have to be coloured glass so I couldn't see the swirly bits. Jazz and Jewell would make lovely bookends.

Andrew, I've read enough about glass blowing and torch working to know I haven't the patience for it. Then there's burning the house down or the various burns I'd collect. No, you and I will just have to make the journey to the glass shop for R's birthday.
I did get a lovely glass paperweight in the op shop yesterday, $5 but made in China, they're into everything.

The Elephant's Child said...

The (again American) practice of compressing the ashes of the departed into a small diamond for you to wear grosses me out too. I am with you - let them go.

River said...

That's beautiful glasswork.
I've heard of the "memory glass" and I wouldn't want any ashy glass in my home either. I'd much rather scatter the ashes in a place I know the person would love or want. In the case of my parents, they both were scattered in the ocean to work their way home to Germany. It's what they wanted. I'd like to be scattered in a mountain forest overlooking the ocean.

Jayne said...

I heartily approve of that 3rd one, I shant stop you from sending it to me.
Pfft to memory glass, I prefer the real memories up in my noggin.

R.H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R.H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R.H. said...

hey mummy.


R.H. said...

I thought I should do this, briefly, hoping to take the heat off my previous comments; one can only endure so much of ones own diatribe.
In Copenhagen I did a silly thing, I bought a motorbike. The idea was to ride it home to my own little country: Australia.
In Bulgaria I found myself on the hippie trail, all the way to Kabul. Going through Turkey was okay but Iran was a tough desert, and Afghanistan was worse. The hippies went by train and by bus, a whole trainload of them passed me beside the road through Iran.
This was the 1970s. Marijuana was illegal in Afghanistan but no westerner ever got arrested. And it was cheap. Smoking the stuff in Kabul was a popular achievement too. Later on it was something you could say you'd done, like having joined in those Strauss waltzes they put on in Vienna parks.
Westerners, mainly Americans, had taken over a section of Kabul. Standing at the end of those long narrow streets full of ramshackle buildings you could see the haze of marijuana smoke above and know also that the floorboards were being rooted out of each place.
I stayed just a few days. Very early one morning I left for Pakistan. Nearing the border I started getting stomach cramps. I was very weak. At the border I was shitting water, hot water. Each time I crept off for a remote place to do it I was followed by a small crowd, mainly kids, enormously entertained by my predicament. They knew the problem: dysentry.
I made it to Peshawar and ended up at the Lady Reading Hospital, on the drip. It was no frills, bare concrete floors, and people who slept on the floor beside the beds of patients they were visiting. They lived too far away to go home and come back again.
It saved me, the Lady Reading, and it was a FREE HOSPITAL, even for a foreign bastard like me. I felt ashamed, I'm writing this with shame, that I didn't even offer a donation.
Before I ever left this country I had a limited view of foreign types. I've found out there's no real differences.
Travel cures racism, prejudice.
Should do.

Gerry said...

Ah, I see you're in fine form again, RH. So tell us, oh wise one, if peace is not the answer, what is?

JahTeh, love the glassware. Just dropped by to say "Hi". :-)

R.H. said...

My writing is enjoyed by company directors and nuns in convents you dimwit.

There's a wise Latin saying:

"If you wish for peace prepare for war."

Okay? Get some education. It's a basic for being interesting.

Gerry said...

RH, your fave Roman saying bespeaks a paranoid mindset. Could it be that empire leads ultimately to such a paranoid mindset?

JahTeh, I'm sorry for the digression, but think of it this way: It increases your comment-count AND it's a bit of break from all that girly stuff... ;-)

R.H. said...

Dear Gerry I don't have an empire you silly cunt. I know people diagnosed paranoid and recognise it in you immediately.
Your own comment-count would be less than your sperm count: around two and a half tadpoles. When did you last get a root?

R.H. said...

Hello darlings, I have to be up at 6:30 (see the time now). I might mention my mother, getting a bit of credit at the local milk bar, then loitering near the door (would she ever leave?) repeating over and over "Thank you very-very much," and how the customers and shopkeeper stared. Well they were afraid, only the Grace of God lay beween them and the same thing.

Gerry said...

@RH: You think "getting a root" is important?

ketz said...

I think you should get a blow torch and make some fancy glass or other kind of glasses. I know a shop that might sell it.

glass coaster