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Marco Toso Borella master glass engraver

Marco Toso Borella



The ancient Toso family has been present in Murano since the mid-fourteenth century and was even included in the island’s Libro d’Oro (Golden Book) in the early seventeenth century. Being included in this register of noble families was a highly coveted privilege, as it allowed those listed to be official citizens of Murano and thereby exercise the art of glassmaking, as well as participating in the running of the Magnifica Comunità di Murano.

The age-old “graffito” technique – the engraving of 24K gold leaf applied to glass – has been the “genetic” legacy of the Toso Borella family for centuries.

The process is unique and follows precise rules that have always been the same. On an artistic Murano glass support (plate, vase, glass), the gold leaf is applied one sheet at a time. Delicate, subtle and alive. It is placed gently on the glass, after having covered the surface of the object with an ancient, pine-scented compound, a mixture steeped in glass and knowledge. A needle is then used to carefully incise this gold skin, with no room for error. Once the engraving is complete, the piece is fired in the kiln: the mixture vitrifies and the gold and glass are united. Sometimes the piece is further enhanced with the application of vitreous enamels, as in the case of the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross).

The transparency of glass and its thickness allow Marco Toso Borella to create multiple dimensions, a sort of pictorial sculpture.

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