Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Millefiori is a glasswork technique which has been used for centuries to produce distinctive decorative patterns on glassware. While the exact origins of millefiori are unclear, there is evidence that the technique was used in Egypt as early as the 16th century BCE.
The millefiore technique involves the production of glass canes, known as murrine canes, with multicolored patterns which are viewable only from the ends of the cane. These canes are then cut into thin slices which are laid onto and fused to another piece of glass. The end result is an intensely patterned design which often appears as if it has been painted on.
The term millefiore is a combination of the Italian words "mille" (thousand) and "fiore" (flower) and seems to have emerged in the 18th or 19th century. While the use of this technique long precedes the term millefiore, the technique is now frequently associated with Venetian glassware.
More recently, the millefiore technique has been applied to polymer clays and other materials. Because polymer clay is quite pliable does not need to be heated and reheated in order to fuse it is much easier to produce millefiori patterns than with glass.
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