Vase, 1975 and Vase, 1980 - Michael Robinson, Cree descent

Photo of two green glass vases, created by Michael Robinson

Michael Robinson (1948-2010) was a glassblower and printmaker of Cree descent who was at the forefront of the Canadian glass movement throughout much of the 1970s. Robinson represents a merging of both traditional and contemporary Indigenous art - his printmaking and illustration are traditional in style and often depict sacred teaching and stories, while his glass work is modern and expands the visual vocabulary of his work.

A variety of techniques were used to create this double-walled vase on the left. The crackled effect on the exterior layer is achieved by submerging the piece in water immediately after heating to create a webbed surface texture. The interior layer reveals a delicate feathering technique composed of powdered glass trails that are pulled to the desired pattern. This piece showcases Robinson’s ability to use each layer of glass to reveal something unique.

The vase on the right exemplifies Robinson’s unique ability to create minimal compositions. A layer of sandblasted glass gives only a slight indication of the interior of the vessel which contains a series of delicate glass stems connecting the walls to one another. The visual complexities do not announce themselves, but are hidden like treasures waiting to be found.