For lovers of bold jewellery, and indeed for anyone longing for a blast of luminous colour to banish the blues and celebrate summer, here’s an unmissable address in the heart of historic Modena. It’s where Susanna Martini designs, creates and sells dazzling, Murano-glass bijoux. In intense glossy colours and singular, dynamic forms that hint at symbolism, they’re displayed against total black in her diminutive workshop-cum-showroom on Via Cesare Battisti: the effect is mesmerising. Watch her plying her craft in the alcove that serves as atelier and you’ll be really spellbound.
The ancient technique she uses is known traditionally as lampworking, more correctly nowadays as flameworking or torchworking. It consists in softening a semi-finished glass rod or tube in the heat of a horizontal flame, then modelling the molten piece using a blowpipe and/or small tools. She learned it in Murano, of course. And went on to apply it with the dedication of a true artist. Susanna Martini has developed a series of collections inspired by the planets, by stone, by those spiral patterns found in so many ancient cultures, by the energy of pure colour. She fills them with larger-than-life necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings, and sandals – simple thong flats made stunning by the addition of vivid glass baubles. Each piece is a one-off, hand-made by the artist herself. If you’re passing through – and there are no end of reasons to do so – you’ll find all this brilliant bounty in a side-street almost exactly halfway between Modena’s most impressive squares: Piazza Roma of the stately Ducal Palace, and UNESCO-listed Piazza Grande. If not, you can always look, and buy, online.