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Archive for July 12th, 2014

Murrine Glass by Loren StumpI came across this photo of a piece of murrine glass, which is made in long rods that contain patterns that run trough the entire length of the rod.  When the rod is cut at any point it reveals the same pattern.  It is normally done on a small scale that results in small cut discs with colorful patterns that are used in jewelry and in glass paperweights, among other things.  This masterwork of the form, done  by Sacramento-based artist Loren Stump, takes the form to a grand scale with a Renaissance-inspired scene with several full figures and a wonderful dark background that sets off the deep colors.  You can see more of his work at his website, Stumpchuck, or you can take a week long class with him at the nearby Corning Museum of Glass at the end of July.

Seeing this work reminded me of when I worked at the old A&P factory many years ago.  It was a huge building that sprawled over 37 acres that made all sorts of foods.  They claimed it had the capacity to produce enough each day to feed everyone east of the Mississippi.  In my time there,  I worked a number of jobs throughout the plant from  cleaning out the antique looking machines that bagged and sewed the teabags that were filled with tea that came from wooden crates with exotic markings and locales like Ceylon and scouring the inside of huge semolina tanks in the pasta department to making all forms of candy– jelly beans, candy corn, chocolate covered cherries, etc.

One thing I never did was make the rock candy which so reminds me of the murrine glass.   But I really enjoyed seeing them make it.

Cut-Rock-CandyI would often stop while passing through the hard candy department and watch the workers work the masses of glass-like candy on tables with mechanical arms that came in from each side to knead the candy into a ball.  They would then place the mass on heated rollers that would turn the mass into a uniform roll.  They would take these rolls of various colors and arrange them into patterns within one large roll on those same rollers.  They would then hoist the larger roll onto a machine that had telescoping rollers that fed the candy into a machine that stretched it until it was small enough to cut into bite size chinks of candy, like those shown just above.  It was fascinating to watch as were many of the processes there.

It seems like there is little in common between this candy and the work of Mr. Stump, which is shown in more detail below, but it is the same basic principle.  I wonder if you can buy cut rock candy with such an elaborate design?Murrine Glass Detail Loren Stump

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