Featured Artisan | Robin Mix Glass
Robin has dedicated his life to the craft of glassblowing. He lives and breathes glass! Every piece of Robin Mix’s glass is one of a kind and a true collector’s item. He is a master of his craft. Many designers will conjure up a design, and then hire others to produce it. Robin is not one of those. Robin designs and produces by hand, every piece of glass.
His love of glass began when he was first introduced to glassblowing at the University of Massachusetts in the early ‘70s. He was drawn to the challenges of the medium and the visual, colorful and fast-paced environment around the furnace.
From here, at the age of 21, he traveled to Sweden’s oldest and largest glass factory, Kosta Glasbruk. There he worked under and was influenced by the renowned designers and masters of that era including Bengt Heintze , Ann Warff (Wolff), Jan Erik Ritzman, Wilke Adolfsson and Sigurd Persson. He was exposed to the Swedish aesthetic: distinctive, architecturally influenced Scandinavian design with roots in Venetian tradition. He continued his studies at glass schools in Sweden, Holland, and Denmark, learning respect and a deeper appreciation of the medium.
Around the time Robin returned to the United States from Europe, the American Studio Glass Movement was already established. Robin found an abandoned farmhouse in Tunbridge, Vermont and set up a studio there.
It was here in the late 1980s, that a Robin began to work in the style of Murrine, which he has grown famous for. “This ancient technique uses long rods of glass, called canes, which are cut into mosaic-like cross sections before being melted and transformed into different shapes. This method, first developed in the Middle East more than 4,000 years ago and revived by Venetian glassmakers in the sixteenth century, produces glass with concentric squares and ribbons of color. It takes several days to form and anneal, or harden, the canes, making Murrine pieces more complex and costly to produce than ordinary glass pieces. Says Mix, “Unraveling and recreating these ancient techniques has been one of the most challenging tasks of my career.”
One of the things that sets Robin’s work apart is his color. Color in glass is created by combining chemicals and mineral oxides at very high temperatures. Most glassblowers use commercially produced color, but Robin finds mass-produced color limiting. Though he has no formal engineering or chemical training, he painstakingly custom mixes all of the jewel tones in his work. The result is a brilliant spectrum of hues not commonly found in American glass. Robin is also one of the first American glassblowers to not only use murrini, but to make his own.
Robin’s work has been featured in the pages of The Boston Globe Magazine, Food & Wine, House Beautiful, Elle Décor, The New York Times and Architectural Digest among others. His vessels have been the focus of numerous exhibitions including the permanent collections of The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Design, The Museum of American Glass, and The Downey Museum of Art.
“He is quick to admit that he feels privileged to make a living from a profession that stretches back thousands of years. He sees it as a kind of alchemy, fashioning things of beauty and utility from elements as basic as sand, soda ash, and limestone. “It’s still amazing and still an honor.”
To see the latest pieces in our collection of Robin’s glass visit our
Robin Mix Glass Gallery
Images of Robin blowing glass by Tim Calabrio.
Additional content and images from robinmix.com.
Quotes via New England Home Magazine.