… are two very different beasts.

I will summarize how I feel about the difference between the two, and then explain a bit and list some pros and cons of each.

Flameworked murrine work best as detail elements on the surface of a piece.

and

Vitrigraph murrine work best used in large numbers to make up the bulk of a piece.

You might disagree, and that’s OK.  However, I’m writing this post because quite often customers are surprised at my prices compared to vitrigraph cane, and also that they can’t order one custom cane and have enough chips to cover a 20cm square plate.   I think that both vitrigraph cane and flameworked millefiori both have advantages and disadvantages.

Vitrigraph Cane Flameworked Cane
Advantages:
  • You get a lot of cane for a relatively small investment of time (30 FEET for 2hours pulling time, plus a couple of hours for setting up the stack)
  • The design changes along the length of the cane, which provides variation when a lot of cane is used in close proximity.
  • You can get a variation in thickness and twisted/untwisted-ness (that’s a word) in a single pull.
  • Usually cheaper than flameworked cane.
  • The design is always consistent and always the same.
  • The design can be far more precise and exact, and symmetrical.
  • The fused chips look ‘cleaner’, with a clear design and colour distribution.
  • Small-batches mean that only a small investment of glass (30-40g) is needed to see if a design works or not.
Disadvantages:
  • The design is not consistent and is often ‘blurred’ or smudged, and not symmetrical.
  • There is no control on the distribution of the glass once the kiln is on.
  • You have to invest a large amount of glass, without knowing whether the results will be good (I’ve talked about how hard it is to get pleasing results with bullseye before).  To charge a vitrigraph kiln and get enough cane before it becomes hollow uses anything upwards of 1kg of glass.  At 2p per gram (bullseye clear), that’s £20 just to charge it with clear.  You do the maths for cranberry pink at 10p per gram.
  • Very small batches.  A single cane is usually around 50-60cm, and takes 45 minutes to make.
  • Very difficult to produce enough cane to cover large areas
  • Can be more expensive per chip

It’s because of these advantages and disadvantages that I stick to what I said above. I personally feel that if you are using murrine to add detail and intricacy to a design, you are going to get a neater, more polished finish using flameworked murrine. If you are using murrine as the bulk of your design, in a manner like Nathan Sandberg, then you are better off using vitrigraph cane, because while it’s possible to use flameworked cane in this instance, it quickly becomes prohibitively expensive if you want to make large pieces.

Anyway, that’s my tuppence. I love the symmetry, precision and intricacy that is possible with flameworked cane. I know it’s not the cheapest but in my opinion, a few flameworked chips really go a long way in adding that extra detail to your fused pieces.