Intricate Glass Murinni: Releasing a butterfly

In the picture below you can see a flower petal and a butterfly wing. These are samples of murrini I have made. (If you don’t know, murrini is layers of glass made into a rod that can be sliced to create multiple images. Each slice is the same image. Like a Cinnamon roll.)

When I was researching the subject, I found that some of the first murrini were portraits of people (mostly political figures). The portraits were called mosaic glass and they were placed on glass beads. Since then it seams the art of murrini was lost and found over and over (like glass; the “lost art” because it has been lost and found so many times.) I am fascinated with the history of Art. This history lends some meaning to my art work today.


I started practicing murrini about a year ago. Ever since that first day, I imagined this beautiful Goddess releasing a butterfly into the air, with a graceful gesture. I decided to use the odalisque posture. The “odalisque” is a fancy Art jargon term for a women with her hands above her head. The posture has been created by MANY artists. The context it was used in was usually to emphasize women as barbaric sexual beasts. For my work the gesture represents liberation from that past and most importantly a new medium (glass) with the “odalisque” pose. (This figure here is made with Kronos 2 by Double Helix; a new medium.)

wmc070722a2.jpgReleasing a butterfly symbolizes a new beginning. So many lost but now re-found techniques with glass are among us. It fascinates me.
The concept of creating a traditional “odalisque” releasing a butterfly celebrates the beginning of many creations to follow for me, and many others. The landscape is a beautiful day, to further emphasize the dreamy celebration.

The function of the bead , to me, is not as important as the concept and visual beauty of the piece of art.

FULL CIRCLE~ Celebrating the passion to create.

For additional information please see Sheila Morley’s Art blog. Sheila’s art work is currently documented in an on line gallery, and can be purchased at her website.


6 Responses to “Intricate Glass Murinni: Releasing a butterfly”

  1. Ellen Says:

    Sheila – this bead took my breath away and then brought a tear to my eye. The beauty and concept; quite emotional.

  2. Sheila Morley Says:

    Thank you for letting me know that. I had a similar emotion when I was develpoing the concept last year, and again when I was putting it together. I am very excited to now have enough skill to pull some of these things off. Thank you!

  3. Portia Says:

    That bead I think I saw in the womb! Wow, have you developed it so beautifully! …and to think that I have a slice of your butterfly! I am so honored! What beautiful work! I am so proud!

  4. Sheila Morley Says:

    Thank you Portia! I can not wait to come out to Chicago, and take another class at the Gathering place;
    Some day.

  5. Marco Murinni Says:

    Dear Sheila,
    Do you know the etymology of the name “Murinni ” ?
    As you can see, I’m so called. This name was created around 1880 for a founded child in an italian orphanage (it was my grand father …..)

  6. Sheila Morley Says:

    Thank you, Marco Murinni. It is nice to know the history of the words we use. I wonder howw glass aquired it? Perhaps, from someone in your family?

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