Moving her Millefiori Murano jewellery business online has allowed Tania FitzGerald to move from Victoria to the Bundaberg Region.
Tania said she, and her partner, had always wanted to live by the sea, with a warm climate, and it didn’t take them long to fall in love with Moore Park Beach.
“We learned that the climate in this area is one of the best in the world, and discovered Moore Park Beach, which is gorgeous and unspoilt and was in our price range,” she said.
“COVID turned my business into online only, which meant that I can work from anywhere, so I could bring it with me and work from here as well as anywhere else. All I need is an internet connection and a post office.
“So, now I work within the sound of the sea and get to stretch my legs on the beautiful empty beach every day.”
Leaving King Valley in Victoria almost three months ago, Tania is excited to share her Millefiori Murano business with the local community, and she will hold a stall at this year’s Childers Festival.
“I originally started making mosaics as a hobby, discovered millefiori about eight years ago and became obsessed with using them to make jewellery,” she said.
“As I didn’t have any glass working skills or equipment, I came up with my way of using them which seems to be unique, so I create pieces that look very different than what is made in Venice.”
Tania said Millefiori (or murrini as the Italians call them) are slices of decorative glass cane; originally a Roman glass technique that was rediscovered in Murano nearly two centuries ago.
“The canes are made in a similar way to rock candy, moulds are used to create the pattern and then the liquid glass is stretched up to 10 metres to make the canes, which are then sliced into chunks once cooled,” she said.
“There is only one factory left in Italy making millefiori, Effetre on the island of Murano, which is where I buy my raw material.
“There are hundreds of patterns which come in many different sizes and colours. I wish I could have them all!”
The millefiori from Murano is then mixed with resin to make Tania’s mosaic jewellery.
“I cut the millefiori glass slices thinly, and use them, along with small pieces of coloured iridescent and mirror glass, to make a micro mosaic in a metal bezel, and then seal then with jewellery resin,” she said.
“It creates a lens over the glass and makes the colours luminous and 3D.
“I now also bring over other pieces made by artisans in Venice to have a broader range of items available for my customers.
“I now sell mainly online since COVID hit, though previously did pop up stores and many markets and festivals in Victoria.”
Setting up her Millefiori Murano pop-up stall at the Childers Festival Tania said it would be the first market since moving to the Bundaberg Region, and she encouraged locals to stop by and say hello.