Cheshire based interior designer and antiques dealer, Holly Johnson, has introduced her own, unique range of Murano vases, designed and produced in collaboration with some of Italy’s most prominent, contemporary glass artists such as Alessandro Barbaro, Andrea Zabnelli and brothers Pino and Silvano Signoretto.
Holly commented, “We have very good contacts in Murano who we work with, all of whom have their own signature look. Many of them are Master Glassmakers and their families have a long tradition of glass making. We suggest designs and try different things, looking back to earlier pieces from the Roman and Art Deco period for our inspiration. We style the glass and make slightly larger designs which look like works of art.”
The island of Murano is renowned for its long Venetian tradition of glass-making and is the most famous place for glass across the word where all the masters and glass factories are based.
All of Holly’s designs are handmade and totally individual. They can be used as vases but they’re more like beautiful objects; a colourful mixture of blown glass which is stretched, shaped, set in the big kilns then reheated over and over again until they become unique ornaments.
“The glass makers are so skilled they’re considered artists, it’s such a special technique and takes years to master. People come from all over the world to visit Murano and watch them making the glass. It’s the most complicated and technical process to observe,” Holly said.
Holly and her husband Ben decided to create their own range because they love the colours, organic qualities and luminosity of glass.
“Glass has been used in decoration throughout the ages, it’s almost like semi-precious stones. Some items are opalescent which means they have a slight metal content. They’re great for decoration and they change in the light. In the morning they will appear differently than at night.
“All of the leading international interior designers love them, we sell many of them, they go very quick. People buy them in pairs or as single ones. Sometimes they can become the main feature in hallway, or on a kitchen island. They’re not delicate, they’re almost like picking up a piece of marble. We’ve sent them all over the world to the top designers for their clients’ houses.
“We’ve always sold antique pieces from the art deco period and the 1950s, but this is a modern range to run alongside. We also take private commissions, so our customers could request their style preferences, something like this would take around 3 months to order.
“My advice to buyers who are in the market for glass is to research which designers most appeal to you. You will pay for what you get and there are no real fakes. If you visit Murano and wander into the shops, you’ll see items for £50 but next to that chandeliers for £100,000.
The very famous well-known designers will have pieces in major collections around world, and all of their items will be signed so you’ll know what to look out for.”
In terms of what you can expect to pay, Holly’s vases sell for roughly £1800 for a single vase, although this can vary, and they currently have a wonderful black and gold leaf variation for £2,000.
They also stock lots of older items from the 1950’s, such as some iconic aquarium pieces by Gino Cenedese.