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Author Topic: Mtarfa glass  (Read 11612 times)

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Offline Anne

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Mtarfa glass
« on: November 24, 2004, 03:21:49 AM »
I see a lot written in various places about Mdina glass but have seen no mentions of Mtarfa glass, also from Malta. Is Mtarfa considered to be of a lower quality than that of Mdina or is it just that Mdina are more successful at marketing and promotion?

The reason I ask is I found a delightful little vase last week with a Mtarfa signature and sticker on - it's mainly pink with some darker colouring - very reminiscent of flamingo feathers, but until then I had never heard of Mtarfa at all.
Cheers! Anne, da tekniqual wizzerd
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Offline David E

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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2004, 09:22:59 AM »
The two makes are quite similar and Paul Said, the owner of Mtarfa, is related to the Mdina owner. I think they are brothers.

Personally I don't think Mtarfa is inferior at all, but most of their items (as Le Casson eluded to elsewhere) are not very demanding or imaginative and tend to follow the same form. Early Mdina though, was originally started by Michael Harris (later of Isle of Wight glass - note the resemblance!) and his 'axe head' vases could be seen as contemporary of Whitefriars art glass - many, many excellent pieces that command high prices.

However, Mtarfa do make some very weird vases where a long neck is repeatedly folded over and I think they are fascinating! Then again, I'm a bit weird  :lol: But these might be termed 'end of day' vases - Friday afternoon jobs where the glass makers let their hair down and go a bit wild.

If you want some images of these weirdies I'll gladly post them.

At the end of the day, if you like them, collect them! Most can be picked up remarkably cheaply and they may become tomorrow's collectables.

Best regards,
David
David
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Offline Anne

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Mtarfa glass
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2004, 06:52:09 PM »
Thanks for your explanation David, I've had a google around and some of their work I'm not taken with, but this little vase just appealed to me. I'd be interested in seeing the folded neck vases too please, as I've not seen any of those whilst googling.

You're right about liking to collect... everything I've added to the collection is because I like the look of it. If I don't like it I don't buy - simple huh...? :)
Cheers! Anne, da tekniqual wizzerd
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Mtarfa glass
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2004, 07:10:19 PM »

http://www.glassyeye.com/glasspages/malta.html

The tallest one is 8" tall and you'll note the label on the red one. By far, the orange one is the most convoluted - like I said: dead weird!

Regards,
David

Offline Anne

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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2004, 07:12:57 PM »
Heh heh heh they are terrific David, thanks! Definitely a fun item methinks. The label is the same as on my vase also incidentally... and it has the scratchy-looking signature on the base.  I'll keep my eyes peeled for these sort of vases now I've seen them... they'd be a talking point for sure!  :D
Cheers! Anne, da tekniqual wizzerd
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Mtarfa glass
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2004, 05:05:06 PM »
I've seen many birds on eBay like this, Terry, but always assumed they were Chinese - but the one you show does exhibit a lot of class with what looks like silver inclusions in the base. Very nice.

As for them thriving, before replying to Anne's original message I did look for Paul Said's company address (his brother Joseph owns Mdina, BTW) and was unable to find it. The web site's not that spectacular but it does show a few nice pieces - let's hope he hasn't gone belly-up!  :(

[I need my regular fix of weird vases]

But much of Mtarfa's glass always seems to exhibit very narrow necks with an exaggerated lip and I've always considered the quality to be higher than later Mdina (some of which is rather dire IMHO and do look like poor attempts at freeform Murano or Flygsfors).

Regards,
David

Offline David E

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Mtarfa glass
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2004, 02:49:35 PM »
Hi all,

I wonder whether I should have kept my trap shut as I'll probably have more competition for my squiggly neck vases now  :cry:  REMEMBER: I SAW THEM FIRST! :wink:

The later Mdina glass (or what I've always perceived to be 'later') is very thick, clumsy glass with a rather uneven surface and the clear glass often exhibits a greenish tinge: normally the sign of glass with impurities (iron oxide, I think). Their freeform glass is also quite small in size in comparison to Murano and Flygsfors.

As I couldn't find the Mtarfa web site this is why I thought they might have gone belly-up - hopefully not, but it is eluding me at present. There are several mentions of Mtarfa under Google, but none having a link to the site!

I'll keep trying.

David
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Offline David E

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Mtarfa glass
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2004, 02:52:16 PM »
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...

http://sites.maltanet.net/websites/misstourism/mtarfa.htm

Not the site I was looking for, but it's a start. Might end up giving them a ring if I have no more success.

David
David
► Chance Additions ◄
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Contact ► Cortex Design ◄ to order any book

Offline David E

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Mtarfa glass
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2004, 02:56:30 PM »
Blimey, look at this!

http://www.mepa.org.mt/asps/EC_systemkey_search.asp?systemkey=3446

Hmm, perhaps they have closed down :?:  :!:   :evil:

Anyway, another site showing a few photos:

http://www.starwebmalta.com/pages-mtarfa.asp

Keep lookin'

David
David
► Chance Additions ◄
The 2nd volume of the domestic glassware of Chance Brothers
Contact ► Cortex Design ◄ to order any book

Offline Anne

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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2004, 07:20:25 PM »
This little vase isn't like that - I don't know when it dates from, but it's extremely smooth and well-made, quite heavy for its size. I'm very taken with it. And here is the picture link so you can all see what I'm rabbiting on about...

http://yobunny.org.uk/gallery1/displayimage.php?pos=-88
http://yobunny.org.uk/gallery1/displayimage.php?pos=-90
Cheers! Anne, da tekniqual wizzerd
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