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Murrini Glass Blown Platter

Ben Coombs makes a murrini-patterned glass platter.

With his elegant sculptures, vases, and platters, like this one with a murrini-patterned center, Ben Coombs' passion for blown glass is one flame that will never burn out.

Materials and Tools:

clear blowing glass
colored glass bars (for the murrini and "flange" color)
glassblowing pipes and punty rods
glass blocks (cherry wood carved into half a sphere, soaked in water and used to shape glass freshly gathered out of the furnace)
basic glassblowing hand tools (jacks, tweezers, diamond shears, straight shears)
gas fired glass furnace and glory hole
electric kiln (annealer)
marver table (thick steel table--glass is rolled on to cool and shape)
glassblowing bench
glass mosaic nippers
hot plate
safety glasses

Figure A


1. Clear glass is "gathered" out of the furnace onto a punty rod, rolled on the marver table into a cylinder and then coated with colored glass bar (figure A).

Figure B

2. More clear glass is gathered over the color, rolled on the marver, pressed into a long solid square, like a small brick of cheese. This square is reheated and pulled using diamond shears. It is stretched until its diameter is about one half inch (figure B).

3. The stretched piece is put into the annealer to cool slowly overnight.

Figure C

4. The next day the glass "cane" is cut with the glass nippers into murrini — small tiles with a cross section of the color visible. Each square has a clear border, a colored ring and a clear center (figure C).

5. Arrange the tiles into a circle on a hot plate about three inches across and heat up.

6. A bubble is started on a blowpipe, covered with colored bar, then gathered over, blown up slightly and opened on the end.

Figure D

7. The cylinder is set aside while a hot fresh gather of glass is cut off onto the circle of murrini, covering them in clear glass (figure D).

Figure E

8. The cylinder is pressed into the clear glass that’s over the murrini. The excess is trimmed off, gathered over and blocked (figure E).

Figure F

9. The bubble is inflated and shaped into a ball. This ball is flattened on its end up to where the murrini starts and transferred to a punty rod (figure F).

Figure G

10. The form is opened up slowly using wooden tongs, called jacks (figure G).

Figure H

11. Finally, the form is left in the heat and spun quickly until centrifugal force opens the piece into a platter (figure H). Place in the annealer for the night.

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