Welcome to 1020 Glass Art’s Education Series.

With your benefit in mind, we hope to answer many FAQs about the world of art glass in its many forms.

New content is added regularly, so feel free to check back frequently for more helpful insights and resources.

Please browse our selection of categories and topics below to find out more.



Art Glass - Art glass comes in many different forms. It is used primarily for ornamental and artistic display purposes. Art glass is often made into such objects as paperweights, platters, wine stoppers, glass boxes, ornaments or other functional and decorative items. It is also found in sculptures, stemware, perfume vessels, vases and wall art. Glass artists such as Dale Chihuly create larger-scale and more imaginative work than has been seen in recent decades. Chihuly's work is an example of the decorative function of the medium. It has been almost exclusively intended to decorate the home and was historically bought by those who could afford to commission individual work. However, today, glass artists strive to produce works of ever increasing distinction whether commissioned or not.


AVVENTURINA GLASSGlass of a yellow - brownish colour, translucent, in which copper metal microcrystal are dispersed to reflect a gold colour.  One of the most popular murano glass often used for vases, paperweights and several other objects. It may be natural sparkly copper colour or may be colored; very nice the red or the dark blue avventurina. Blowing this glass is very difficult and the name "avventurina" means that working this material is considered like a "ventura" (an adventure).



Beveled Glass -  Beveled glass is usually made by taking thick glass and creating an angled surface cut (bevel) around the entire periphery. Bevels act as prisms in the sunlight creating an interesting color diffraction which both highlights the glass work and provides a spectrum of colors which would ordinarily be absent in clear float glass.



Cut-Glass- Is glass that has been decorated entirely by hand by use of rotating wheels. Cuts are made in an otherwise completely smooth surface of the glass by artisans holding and moving the piece against various sized metal or stone wheels, to produce a predetermined pleasing pattern. Wheel cutting glass decoration was developed in the 8th century BC, but the technique of faceting wasn't perfected until the 18th century in England. Although cutting glass is a costly and difficult process, the brilliant effects are extraordinary.

CRISTALLO/CRISTALLINO -  Is a glass which is totally clear (like rock crystal), without the slight yellow or greenish color originating from iron oxide impurities. This effect is achieved through small additions of manganese oxide.

FILIGRANA, RETICELLO, RETORTOLI GLASS - Filigrana, or filigree, is a term to describe transparent glass with opaque or colorful threads or ribbon-like decoration. Two styles of filigrana are reticello and retortoli. Reticello, or reticulated glass, is a decorative style that uses a web design to form a mesh effect. It is created using a “network of glass threads, etchings, cutting; or glass that is blown into a metal mesh frame. Ritortoli is filigree that is twisted into spiral-like forms as decorations. This is one of the most ancient workings, having been used already in the sixteenth century. Probably the most famous Murano glass technique, it may be considered the symbol of the venetian glass.



Dichroic glass - Contains multiple micro-layers of metals or oxides which give the glass dichroic optical properties. The main characteristic of dichroic glass is that it has a particular transmitted color and a completely different reflected color, as certain wavelengths of light either pass through or are reflected. This causes an array of color to be displayed. The colors shift depending on the angle of view. Dichroic glass is specifically designed to be hotworked but can also be used in its raw form. Sculpted glass elements that have been shaped by extreme heat and then fused together may also be coated with dichroic afterwards to make them reflect an array of colors.


Etched Glass - The use of hydrofluoric acid or sand blasting to create a matte finish or a specific design on glass.


FILO - Decoration made by applying a thread - which can be of various thicknesses and colors - usually on the upper rim or on the base of objects such as vases, cups or glasses.


Glass Art - Glass art is usually understood to refer to large modern works of art, typically one-off creations, which are substantially or wholly made in glass. It is distinguished from "art glass" and "studio glass" which are typically smaller and often made in editions of many identical pieces, but the boundaries are not clear-cut. Glass art is more likely to be exhibited in public spaces rather than in homes.


Glass Jewel - Piece of hot glass that is press-molded into a jewel like shape.


Glue Chip Glass Texture -   Created on the surface of glass by applying hot glue, which after drying contracts and chips the glass surface resulting in a natural pattern, like frost on a window pane.


Granite Glass - A texture with the appearance of granite that is applied to hot glass sheets with an embossed roller.


Goofus Glass - Goofus glass is pressedglass which was decorated with cold, unfired paint in the early 20th century in America by several prominent glass factories. Because it was mass-produced and relatively cheap, it was given as a premium for buying things, awarded as prizes at fairs. It was the first carnival glass preceding the iridized product we refer to as carnival glass today. The term "goofus" has come to refer more to the use of un-fired enamel decoration to a piece of pressed glass, rather than to the glass itself.


Hot Glass - Hot working is the manipulation of the glass, with tools such as pincers and shears, to shape it while the glass is in its plastic state. The glass may be pulled, pinched, cut or cropped, and swung. It is usually used in conjunction with glassblowing.


INCISO/BATTUTO/VELATO. "COLD WORK" Finishing techniques applied to the surface of the glass executed with a grinding wheel. The incision may be executed with various depths. When the incision is large and flat it's called beating, hammered, "battuto". Instead a very sft grinding to obtain a glazed surface is called "velato". This kind of surface finishing was used by some of the best contemporary artists and Murano masters as Carlo Scarpa, Alfredo Barbini, Lino Tagliapietra, Davide Salvadore.


Iridescent Glass - Glass with a colorful shimmering effect created when a layer of metallic oxide is bonded to hot glass.




INCALMO - This is an ancient glass technique requiring a particular dexterity from the master performing it. It allows to obtain objects formed by parts blown one at a time, usually of different colors, and then warm joint together, and shaped so to obtain the wished form. This expensive technique is applied on the classic venetian goblets as on contemporary art glass vessels and vases.




Lampworking - Type of glasswork that uses a gas fueled torch to melt rods and tubes of clear and colored glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements. It is also known as flameworking or torchworking, as the modern practice no longer uses oil-fueled lamps. Although the art form has been practiced since ancient Syrian (1 Century B.C., B. Dunham) times, it became widely practiced in Murano, Italy in the 14th century. In the mid-19th century lampwork technique was extended to the production of paperweights, primarily in France, where it became a popular art form, still collected today. Lampworking differs from glassblowing in that glassblowing uses a blowpipe to inflate a glass blob known as a gob or gather, whereas lampworking manipulates glass either by the use of tools, gravity, or by blowing directly into the end of a glass tube.




LATTIMO - Opaque white glass produced for the first time in Murano towards the half of the fifteenth century, imitating china-pieces. At that time it was used particularly for manufacturing objects decorated with multi-colored enamels.




MASSICCIO - The "massiccio" glass is shaping while still malleable with the help of tools and/or molds, but without blowing. Often this process is used for thick glass sculptures.




MORISE - The "morise" working consists in warm applying a thread or small cord worked with pliers, so to obtain a serpentine.




Moulded glass - Moulded glass, which is also known by collectors as pressed glass, is usually made by machine, but can be done by hand.




Murano Glass - Most Murano glass art is made using the lampworking technique. The glass is made from silica, which becomes liquid at high temperatures. As the glass passes from a liquid to a solid state, there is an interval wherein the glass is soft before it hardens completely, allowing the artisan to shape the material. A product of the Venetian island of Murano. Located off the shore of Venice, Italy, Murano has been a commercial port as far back as the 7th century. By the 10th century, the city had become well known for its glassmakers,[1] who created unique Murano glass.




MURRINE - Glass formed by sections of various multicolored glass rods, which are placed so to form a pre-arranged drawing, and then melted together. This technique was already known in Egypt between the third and the first century B.C. It's now one of the most known murano glass, used in several different object, from the entry level giftware up to artworks of the best masters. "Millefiori" is often used as common name (with a wrong definition).




OPALINE - Partly semitransparent milky-white glass changing colors depending on the impact of the light.




ORO - Decoration obtained by warm applying a small golden foil onto the glass being yet not-shaped. This foil can be put outside or sunk inside.




PEA- It is the small glass ball prepared by the master, from which every hollow glass object takes origin.




PASTA - Often called "pasta vitrea", it's an opaque colored glass whose consistency is made to appear similar to ceramic.




PIAZZ - It denotes a team forming one production unit being able to autonomously execute all working phases, which are necessary to manufacture an object. The "glass master" is the responsible for the entire team.




Pressed glass - (also referred to as pattern glass] is a form of glass made using a plunger to press molten glass into a mold. It was first patented by American inventor John P. Bakewell in 1825 to make knobs for furniture.




Pressed Glass - The technique was developed in the United States from the 1820s and in Europe, particularly France, Bohemia, and Sweden from the 1830s. By the mid-19th century most inexpensive mass-produced glassware was pressed (1850–1910).[1] One type of pressed glass is carnival glass.




PULEGOSO - Translucent glass that is identified by a countless number bubbles ("puleghe" in dialect of Murano) contained in the glass, obtained by chemical reaction during the heating process.


Reverse Painted Glass Paints are applied to the underside of glass, starting with the foreground and ending with the background.




Ripple Glass - Texture that has the appearance of ripples that is applied to hot glass sheets with an embossed roller.




RIGADIN RITORTO - Glass blown by using a mould, so to obtain thin ribs which - at warm condition - undergo a light torsion. Often used on blown glass as Venetian goblets and vases.




Seedy Glass - Glass which contains trapped air bubbles, created with air or gas injected into the molten glass, prior to forming the sheet.




SOMMERSO - Artistic glass covered by another layer of glass by superimposing two or more colors immersing the object in various pots of molten glass.. The first "Sunk Glasses" were produced in Murano during the second half of the Thirties to become very popular in the Fifties. Often this technique is used to produce murano glass vases and artistic sculptures.




STAMPO - Wooden or iron tool into which glass is blown, when wishing to mould the material in a particular way. Among the most used moulds, there are those to obtain blown glass with vertical lines and the balloton.*




Studio Glass – AKA glass sculpture is the modern use of glass as an artistic medium to produce sculptures or three-dimensional artworks.




Turtleback - Molded glass tiles that are usually irregular in shape and thickness.




Wispy Glass - Mixed opalescent glass with thin wisps of white or clear glass.


Chandelier and Lighting Glossary


Billiard or Oblong Pendant - Rectangular or oval shaped shade that is typically suited for suspension over a billiard table, kitchen island or counter.


Cage – A metal multi-ring or spiked circular or globe like fixture that holds stems of an art glass chandelier. Note the lighting fixture and bulbs are common placed inside the cage to create the accent “nova burst” effect of an art glass chandelier.


Canopy - The part of a fixture that mounts to the ceiling or wall and covers the junction box to which the fixture attaches.


Cathedral Glass - Transparent single color sheet glass, with smooth or textured surfaces.


Chandelier Surface - mounted ceiling fixture with lighted arms.


Copperfoil Narrow - strips of copper tape used to wrap the edges of glass pieces that have been cut to fit a pattern. When wrapped, solder is applied, bonding the glass pieces together.


Finial - Decorative detail on the top of a lamp or the very bottom of a chandelier.


Finish - The decorative color of hardware achieved by painting or plating base or fixture materials.


Flushmount - Surface mounted ceiling fixture with three inches or less between the shade and the ceiling.


Hand Rubbed - Process of hand rubbing to achieve a desired finish.


Inverted Pendant - Chain hung ceiling fixture with open end of shade facing toward the ceiling.


Island Pendant - Ceiling fixture usually multishaded, horizontally hung and generally best suited for a kitchen island or billiard table.


Jadestone - Durable, compact thinly cut stone with luminous color that can be shaped and constructed with the copperfoil technique.


Mica - A natural mineral bonded with shellac to create a light diffuser, usually available in Silver or Amber colors.


Mini Pendant - Surface mounted one light fixture consisting of a single pole or chain, extending from the ceiling canopy with shade no larger than 10" in diameter.


Patina - Coloration of metal finish due to aging or from a solution applied to metal to change its color.


Pendalog - Element that hangs from a shade, base or hardware, usually crystal but can be made of various materials.


Pendant - Ceiling fixture that usually features smaller size dimensions and stems or sometimes single shade.


Sconce - Typically, a one or two light fixture surface mounted to a wall.


Semi Flush - Surface mounted ceiling fixture with three inches or more between the shade and the ceiling.


Shower - Fixture with a ceiling pan that usually suspends 3 or more pendants.


Stem – Customarily part of an Art Glass Chandelier; stems are hand blown glass spiral or globe like extension, which is attached to a metal lighting fixture or cage fixture. Stems are commonly classified by Pod, Grape, Teardrop, or similar depending on the Note one end either consist of a loop (of the same glass) or  cut flat with open center to rest inside a spike of the lighting cage.


Swag - Pendant or chandelier with chain and wire that can drape across a ceiling to reach a hard mounted electrical box or plug into an electrical outlet


Tiffany - A style referring to Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Victorian or scenes of nature. B - The copperfoil technique of stained glass assembly. C – Opalescent glass invented by Louis Comfort Tiffany 1848-1933, son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, an American jeweler.


Torchiere - Portable floor lamp with a shade that directs light upward.


Washed - Process of lightly applying an accent finish by hand.



  1. Dahlbäck-Lutteman, Helena; Uggla, Marianne, eds (1986). The Lunning Prize. Stockholm: Nationalmuseum. ISBN 91-7100-297-9.
  2. "Suomalainen taide". SUOMI 9000. Lumikkotie, Finland: Kouvolan Tietopalvelut. 1997.
  3. "Timo Sarpaneva (1926)" (in Finnish). Julkiset veistokset ja monumentit. Tampereen nykytaiteen museo.
  4. "Design in an Age of Adversity" exhibition Object 1960 René Roubícek CMOG http://www.cmog.org/dynamic.aspx?id=3766
  5. "Design in an Age of Adversity" exhibition, CMOG 2005 http://www.cmog.org/dynamic.aspx?id=1290#1