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Ann Robinson, a graduate from Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University, joined blown glass artists John Croucher and Garry Nash to set up Sunbeam Glass Works in 1980. While working as a glassblower for the next nine years, she keenly experimented in her spare time with lost wax glass casting. Robinson had learned the ancient technique at Elam in the mid 1960s while studying bronze sculpture made in a similar process also known as cire perdue. When in 1989 she decided to take a year off from...
Bowl, 'Ice Bowl', cast glass, Ann Robinson, Karekare, Auckland, New Zealand, 1991
Made of semi-transparent blue glass (the colour grades from pale blue at the rim to deep blue at the base). Made by lost wax (cire perdue) casting from crushed cullet mass containing 24% lead crystal: The large and heavy hemispherical bowl is raised on a short foot of narrow diameter and has steep sides which rise to a flat-ground rim and wide mouth. The interior is deep and smooth. External decoration consists of overlapping geometricised leaves cast in high relief which rise through the foot and spiral outwards around the sides. The bowl has been hand finished by grinding, sanding and polishing to create a soft matt texture to the cast surface and invoke an ice-like resemblance.
Designed and made by Ann Robinson in Karekare, West Auckland, New Zealand.
'Ice Bowl' was made by Ann Robinson, well-known for her exemplary work in developing forms made in cast glass. In 1981 John Croucher, Garry Nash and Ann Robinson and others set up the Sunbeam Glass Works in Auckland, New Zealand, where, in an essay entitled 'Our reality is our isolation', Robinson recalls, "Having no knowledge of the 'Kugler' type colour bars, we melted two colours a day to accompany our clear batch". After nine years, those in the group went their separate ways. Nash continued with Sunbeam and in 1990 John Croucher set up Giovanni Glass with John Leggott, and became increasingly interested in glass manufacture. They soon realised there was a demand to meet the broader needs of other glass blowers and in 1992, incorporated Gaffer Coloured Glass Ltd. in Auckland. Gaffer Glass quickly became known for its range of what is now 92 colours in transparent and opal glasses for glass-blowing, provided as colour rods and also as chips and powders.
In the meantime, Ann Robinson had moved from glass-blowing to casting glass, and had been importing lead crystal from Germany. Gaffer Glass offered to make a coloured lead crystal glass for her, and they worked for a year to get it right. They eventually offered a range of 40 colours in lead crystal glass in frit and billet form, compatible with a base glass, that would withstand the special demands of lost-wax and investment plaster casting. Robinson says, "To add to this remarkable palette it is possible to enrich the work by mixing colours myself". Gaffer Glass now distributes its products for blowing and casting glass from Melbourne, Seattle and Portsmouth as well as from Auckland. (See Grace Cochrane, in Margot Osborne, Australian Glass Today, Wakefield press, Adelaide, 2005).