The island of Murano, this precious perfume heritage will sink and these famous glassmakers will disappear if we don't act now.
Methane costs are going from a normal bill of around 11,000 euros to 13,000 euros a month to 60,000 euros in October.
Surging methane prices in Italy are putting glassblowing businesses in the line of fire for financial losses, the Associated Press reported.
The price for the methane that powers the glassblowing ovens has skyrocketed five-fold on the global market. The glass blowers of Murano, who have dozens of furnaces on the lagoon island, must use methane to burn around the clock or the costly crucible inside the ovens will break. Murano glass blowers decades ago transitioned from wood ovens, which created uneven results, to methane, which burns at temperatures high enough to create the delicate crystal clarity that makes their creations so highly prized. And it is the only gas that the glassblowers are permitted to use, by law. They are caught in a global commodities Catch-22.
"People are desperate" said Gianni De Checchi, president of Venice's association of artisans.
"If it continues like this, and we don't find solutions to the sudden and abnormal gas prices, the entire Murano glass sector will be in serious danger."
“No machine can do what we do,” said maestro Davide Cimarosti, 56, who has been working as a glassblower for 42 years.
We need to protect Murano's heritage as it is part of the World Perfume Heritage; this is the mission of our organisation.
For now, artisans are hoping the international market calms by the end of the year, although some analysts believe volatility could persist into the spring. If so, damage to the island’s economy and the individual companies could run deep.
The Rome government has offered relief to Italian families confronting high energy prices but so far nothing substantial to the Murano glassblowers, whose small scale and energy intensity make them particularly vulnerable.
Beyond economic losses, the islanders fear losing a tradition that has made their island synonymous with artistic excellence.
Already, the sector has scaled back from an industry with thousands of workers in the 1960s and 1970s to a network of mostly small and medium-sized artisanal enterprises employing some 300 glassblowers and struggling to attract young people to toil in workshops where summertime temperatures can reach 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).
“The value of this tradition, this history and this culture is priceless. It goes beyond the financial value of the glass industry in Murano,” said Muriel Balensi, a French glass maker in Murano. “Over 1,000 years of culture can’t stop with a gas issue.”
Muriel Balensi will be in Paris for Tous au Parfum, bringing along a magnificent exhibition of art glass creations in provenance of the best Murano Artists. These pieces will be sold in auction during the gala dinner to support Murano's glass makers.
It is not enough! The benefit of Tous au Parfum will be entirely given to the
Murano glass makers!
It is still not enough! We are counting on you to support Murano Glass Makers in joining our event, associating your name, your foundation to protect our precious World Perfume Heritage !