The greatest crafts to have survived the centuries


Barovier & Toso: The Glassmakers


Image: Wikimedia /Caliece di angelo barovier, meta del XV sec./アンジェロ・バロヴィエール作聖杯、15世紀中頃

Murano, the series of islands linked by bridges in Italy’s Venetian Lagoon, is home to one of the world’s oldest, continuously running, family businesses – Barovier & Toso. It was here that in 1295, the Barovier family began the tradition and specific technique of decorative glass making that is still used by the company today.


One family member in particular, Angelo Barovier, was responsible for catapulting the company into international stardom. With a scientific education that led him to continuously experiment with the chemical makeup and physical properties of glass, Angelo discovered how to create a flawlessly clear transparent glass, known as crystalline. The creation fitted in perfectly with the beauty ideals of the Renaissance and the company didn’t look back.


By the end of the sixteenth century, three Barovier brothers had their own glassmaking factories on Murano, each of which had their own trademark: an angel, a bell and a star. Today, these three symbols appear together in the Barovier crest. It wasn’t until 1936, that the Barovier family merged with the Toso family’s Fratelli Toso Glassworks, to form Barovier & Toso. Today the company’s creations are used by many of the world’s biggest brands, from Louis Vuitton and Cartier, to the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton hotels.

16世紀末には、バロヴィエール家の3兄弟はムラーノ島でそれぞれ独立したガラス工房をもち、それぞれ独自のトレードマーク(天使、鐘、星)をもっていた。今日ではこの3つのマークはひとつのバロヴィエールクレストになっている。1936年、バロヴィエール家はトーゾ家のFratelli Toso Glassworks(フラテッリ・トーゾ・ガラス製作所)と合併しバロヴィエール&トーゾとなった。現在、同社の製品は世界有数の多くの高級ブランド、ルイヴィトンからカルティエ、フォーシーズンズホテルからリッツカールトンホテル等で使用されている。

Jacopo Barovier – Barovier&Toso: a Company between past and future
Published on 15 Mar 2012


Chiso: The Kimono Makers



Founded in Kyoto in 1555, Kimono making company Chiso is still operating to the same exacting standards. The kimonos are manufactured by a family business managed by the Nishimura family that have worked for Chiso for 15 generations.

きもの製作会社 千總は、京都で1555年に創業以来何一つ変わらぬ基準で運営している。15代続く西村家による家族経営のもとできものが製作されている。

Today, a Chiso kimono typically takes three to four months to create but in some cases 18 months. The company once spent a decade creating a dyeing technique for one very special indigo kimono.


The company, which has a manufacturing policy of “the creation of beautiful items”, often uses famous painters to design kimonos but also draws from its own library that’s crammed with books and filing cabinets filled with kimono designs dating back hundreds of years. These designs are then drawn on the silk fabric with a blue liquid made of a type of grass, purple spiderwort. The artist will then spend about a month painting the pattern onto the kimono using sometimes up to 50 dyes. Recently, Chiso has been using computers in the design process. It now sends digital versions to clients to show potential mixes of pattern, colour and material.


Uploaded on 14 Dec 2010


Klotz: The Violin Makers



Image: / Mozart’s Salzburg Konzertvioline, most likely built by a member of the Klotz family

Violin making runs deep in the small village of Mittenwald, about 100 kilometres from Munich. It was here that Matthias Klotz settled in around 1685, opened up a lute making workshop and later founded the Mittenwald school of violin making. Members of the Klotz family passed on their trade to the families in the village and it wasn’t long before the family name, along with the town, became synonymous with great violin making. So great were the violins, in fact, that Mozart himself composed and performed five violin concertos and wrote the string component of many other works with a Klotz.


Violin production from Mittenwald was so prolific that at one point: “nine-tenths of the violins which pass in the world as [reputable violin label] ‘Stainers’ were made by the Klotz family and their followers”, according to contributor Edward John Payne in “A Dictionary of Music and Musicians” in 1900.


WGBH Music: Mozart on Mozart’s Own Instruments
WGBH Music
Published on 13 Jun 2013
K.423 ヴァイオリンとヴィオラのための二重奏曲 ト長調、最終楽章