Murrini are thick cane cut to expose the end of the cane.
The color setup is usually a bit more complicated for murrini than regular cane, as you're interested in making the cross section interesting rather than making the length interesting. In the picture to the right the yellow murrini are made up of a dark blue center, white wrapped around the dark blue and then yellow cane wrapped around the white.
Often cane (pulled previously and cut into appropriate lengths) will become one of the items added to the murrini. Once cut on the cross section, the cane will give the murrini a ring of dots or tiny lines around a center color.
Thinking up new patters and mixing different murrinis together is all part of the fun.
Once the murrini have been designed and pulled they are then cut. There are a number of methods to do this but I use a wet diamond saw as this gives the cleanest and most uniform cut. You want consistency in the thickness you cut so that when the murrini are arranged together they are not too bumpy. These bumps will cause inconsistencies in the rollup and and may cause the piece to blow out oddly.
The cut murrini are arranged on a kiln shelf for heating and pickup. To the right you can see where I've arranged 4 different styles of murrini together on a plate. There are about 300 murrini all packed tightly together.
The murrini plate is heated first in the annealer/kiln to bring it up to about 500C and then picked up on a pastorale fork and then heated further in the glory hole.
When the murrini are glowing a dark orange color they are squished together so that all the edges fuse and as much as possible of the gaps between the discs is removed
This fused plate of hot murrini is then rolled up on a collar of glass, much the same way that cane is rolled up onto a blow pipe. To the right is a rollup on the blowpipe after the end has been closed up. It is ready to be dipped back into the furnace to accumulate another gather of glass.
The look of the final pieces depends both on the colour and complexity of the murrini used as well as the shape that these murrini are blown out into. The final product can be a bowl, vase, jug or sculptural piece.
Simple murrini, like these transparent circle murrini to the right, can be very effective when mixed together. The light passes nicely through the piece to create interesting, coloured shadows.
More complex murrini provide a lot for the eye to take in, as in this larger vase to the bottom right.
Working with murrini is a complex and time consuming process, but the end results make the work worthwhile.