Home Glass Stories Development of my new design in marbles

My New Design Marbles

Making marbles is a way to express oneself using glass. It’s a way to forget about the everyday stress and escape into the world of creativity.

It is believed that glassmaking in Murano originated in 9th century Rome, with significant Asian and Muslim influences, as Venice were a major trading port.

By the 14th century, glassmakers were allowed to wear swords, enjoyed immunity from prosecution by the Venetian state, and found their daughters married into Venice’s most affluent families.

By the end of the 16th century, three thousand of Murano Island’s seven thousand inhabitants were involved in some way in the glassmaking industry.

Murano’s glassmakers held a monopoly on quality glassmaking for centuries, developing or refining many technologies including crystalline glass, enameled glass (smalto), glass with threads of gold (aventurine), multicolored glass (millefori), milk glass (lattimo), and imitation gemstones made of glass. Today, the artisans of Murano are still employing these century-old techniques, crafting everything from contemporary art glass and glass figurines to Murano glass chandeliers and wine stoppers.

I have researched the contemporary marble makers and their different designs using lampworking techniques for 9 years and haven’t found anyone making handmade marbles like the ones I have been making lately – my own original design.

My design is based on the vintage machine made marbles, old hand-gathered marbles made in Germany as well as modern astronomy designs.

Approximately 150 years ago, Germany’s glass gatherers used a glory hole to gather a big blob of clear glass and roll it out on a metal table and add color making a core that swirled during the rolling process. Back into the glory hole for more clear glass, roll it out into a long cylinder to add more color stripes and make an outer swirl. Back into the glory hole for a final clear encasing. Cutting the glass into chunks and rounding these chunks with a marble mold made the swirl marbles.

Here is a sample picture of a finished German swirl marble:

In the mid 1920’s, the machine marble making companies came out with a pattern called seams, cut lines, fold lines, etc. where the glass appears to have been cut by a pair of scissors.

Here is a sample picture of a cut line in a marble:

The next design that inspired my new marble is the Wire Pull. It's a sort of transitional marble of the early German machine made marbles era, with the maker swirling a colored glass blob (in this case yellow) on the end of a wire thin punty, then whirling it through a blob of clear glass before letting the whole molten marble drop onto the forming rollers.

Here is an example of a wire pull marble:

Now to science – the double helix. In modern Biology, double helix refers to the structure formed by double-stranded molecules.

Here is a picture of a double helix:

Now to physics – a wormhole.   A wormhole is a hypothetical topological figure of a spacetime that would be, fundamentally, a "shortcut" through spacetime.

Here is a picture of a wormhole:

So I am thinking of what can I do behind the torch that would combine all this glass history that no one else has done to my knowledge that would produce a new design. Taking all these ideas above into consideration, I have come up with my new design using soft glass from Italy (COE 104).

Here are some pictures of these marbles:

Here are a few close-up pictures:

I hope you have liked this presentation of the development of my new marble design.

Rich