Thursday, July 5, 2012

Millefiori - A Thousand Flowers

A direct quote from Wikipedia: "Millefiori is a glass work technique which produces distinctive decorative patterns on glassware. The term millefiori is a combination of the Italian words "mille" (thousand) and "fiori" (flowers)."

It first appeared in the decorating of glassware in the mid 1800's. Today, the millefiori technique is used in polymer clay creations as much or even more often. It has been said, "Because polymer clay is quite pliable and does not need to be heated and reheated to fuse it, it is a much easier medium in which to produce millefiori patterns than glass."

Now I grant you, a polymer clay artist does not have to work over an open flame, and there is little danger of the polymer bursting and crumbling as with glass rods, however, I would offer that the technique is no less easy in polymer clay than glass.

First intricate canes have to be produced, one detail at a time, combined, reduced and then carefully cut to form the designs. Then the base bead or object needs to be crafted so that the slices can be attached, and combined in a way that no edges or ridges show. Afterwards, it needs to be baked, sanded, buffed and possibly glazed to produce the finished creation (or put in the "let's try this again pile").

Witness these examples of that precision, from the Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild:

Flower Earrings by Christina Kosinski Designs
Purple Petunia Pendant by Tonya's Treasures
 But the techniques lends itself to far more than flowers:

Doodle Art Cabachon by Gem's PC Creations

Mosaic by Second Sister at MoArk Jewelry

Butterfly Bead by Blue Morning Expressions

None of the above creations could be considered "easy" to make, but they are so "easy" on the eye!


  1. Great post! I love millefiori but as you say it's quite difficult to master. My canes seem to get distorted but even mistakes can be beautiful!

  2. Beautiful millefiori cane!
    I love all of them...but my fav creation is Butterfly Bead by Blue Morning's really a beauty ^_^
    Beautiful I'm one of your followers ^_^

  3. thanks for your note! I do really like your blog soup reveal :) and this was a great post - I was just looking up millefiori the other day - ha! those canes are gorgeous. if you do want to email me, you can find me here:

  4. Love all the millefiori! Each so unique in it's own way!


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