Saturday, October 22, 2005

Home From Murano & Back In Stock

It was a very successful trip to Murano and Venice and our new beads will begin arriving in late November. The bead making industry in Venice still thrives, though I estimate there are fewer than 300 people who make beads on a daily basis either as employees of small companies or as a cottage industry where they work at home. I prefer to work the the cottage industry side as much as possible, because we can work directly with the beadmaker, rather than through a company. This allows us to influence the design, the processes and also gives us flexibility in scheduling delivery.

We always take catalogs from the US which feature the beads from our Murano and Venetian beadmakers. They love seeing their beautiful beads in the jewelry and recognize the names of prestigious US stores, such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and the other stores where our designers sell. It is very gratifying for them to know that others appreciate their work.

My last days there are always very hectic running between beadmakers to look at the samples we have been making and finalizing the orders. I made a final trip to the furnace where we are making canes for our new beads. We will have our first Furnace Glass Beads by early November. It was easy to make the samples and we loved the colors, but getting production ready was the challenge. As my first love in the glass furnace, this is an exciting project which combines our beads and the furnace. Our furnace designed and built the machinery we are now using which will allow us to produce in large quantities high quality Venetian Glass Cane Beads. And on my last day I got to make beads at the furnace. We will make an announcement when they are available. will be the exclusive distributor for the beads in the US and the furnace will distribute in Europe.

New Arrivals:

SoftFlex 925 Sterling Silver .014 Wire 30 Ft

SoftFlex 925 Sterling Silver .019 Wire 30 Ft

Back in Stock:

8mm Millefiori Beads Topaz, Black/White, Amethyst, Crystal/Multi

Crystal/Gold 8mm Round Popular 8mm Crystal/Gold

Ciao, Brenda

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Tomorrow is Another Day!

It's 18 hours of flight time plus layover to get from San Francisco to Venice. However my trip was much improved as there were 20 construction workers from the Venice area surrounding me on the flight. Immediately recognizing the dialect, we began talking and they helped me put my baggage in the overhead and retrieve on both flights. I was sure the flight attendant would not neglect me even if I was asleep as they insisted that I get everything offered!

With 8 grandchildren of my friends here in Murano, I always get on board with overweight luggage. This trip the requests by the children ranged from Hulk backpacks and Power Ranger T-Shirts to costumes for Halloween and as always toys that are not yet in Italy. Some of the not-so-small chidren requested Cam Corders and cameras. Of course on the return trip I take children's videos for Marcella in Italian so she learns to speak properly. The girl at the check-in counter said I was lucky to be paying by the bag rather than weight!

The driver of the boat taxi to my apartment felt so sorry for me with all the suitcases that he moored the taxi and brought everything to the apartment including up 2 flights of stairs....Needless to say, he got a generous tip!

After stashing the luggage, I went immediately to a friend's house who had dinner warm for me in her oven. After a great dinner I was ready for a real bed. However, I decided to get my computer and various printers, cameras ready for the next day. Bob had given me a surge protection strip to use. So, I plugged in and immediately it blew the fuse in the strip, the fuse in the house and everything went dark! Less than 1 hour after arrival and I was in darkness. As the heater for water is also electric, I could't even take a bath. At midnight I didn't want to wake everyone in the building and hoped that their lights were ok. Fortunately the apartment is on a separate line, so only I was without power. I just went to bed clothes and all with only a small flashlight to fine my way, deciding that Scarlett O'Hara had said it all..."Tomorrow is another day!"

At 5 a.m. when I heard the downstairs neighbor awake, I begged a cup of coffee and arranged to call the electrician. I accompanied her to her job in a local bakery and got the bonus of the freshest bread in Murano!

By 8 a.m. the elecrician had not only fixed the lights, but had taught me how to remedy this should I blow the fuses again. A most welcome bath and I was off to my first meetings with beadmakers.

There are always issues, Moretti glass canes we cannot get, problems with the Murano glass colors and questions of Venetian Bead shapes. My first days here I spend more in a listening mode than talking as it is important to understand their problems and hope that we can work around them. We as always discuss the colors red and rubino. After trying more than 500 hearts, we finally choose a method to produce the color needed for production for a customer.

I went to the furnace here in Murano where we are working on a very exciting new bead, which I hope to have ready by the end of this trip. We have purchased machinery and have made trial runs. You must keep reading daily to know when we will have the first beads. The difficulty here in Murano is that there are only 3 people who make equipment for the glass furnaces and obviously there is a lot of work. Everything must be modified to work here and we needed to lengthen the equipment for our annealing process.

Tomorrow (Monday) we begin the real work with 3 appointments each day and ordering beads for delivery in December and January. Nothing is made before we order the beads and as we order in very large volume, it takes some time to produce.

We had about 1 inch (25 mm) high water on Saturday and I hope that this is the end of high water as it makes traveling difficult.

Be sure to check the posts as I will try to keep it updated on things here in Murano and Venice as I work here for 10 days. I will also post when the new Venetian beads arrive and are ready for you to purchase. So for now Ciao da Murano, Brenda

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