Robert Dane Works

Robert Dane


Robert Danes's fascination with glass began back in the late 1970s. He was teaching ceramics in Massachusetts, but glass soon won him over.

Dane’s earliest sculptures took the form of blown glass eggs, which were divided by a cut plate of glass. Over the years his sculpture grew taller and more complex, culminating in the skyscraping Timbertotem series and his most recent work, which combines wood and stone with blown and solid glass. His functional works, from candelabra to goblets, have also evolved in color and form.

The artist’s own evolution spans years of working in the studio and learning from colleagues. Another source of inspiration is music. His wife, Jayne, directed a high school music program until 1996, when the couple opened an art gallery on Nantucket. Robert has been studying Afro-Cuban percussion for more than seven years now.  His most recent series of sculpture is inspired by the folkloric tradition of Afro-Cuban percussion and dance. The music that came from Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas is based not on the individual, but on the group efforts of the community. It takes everyone in the group, playing their part, to create the melody.  “When I’m playing in a group, I respond to what the other musicians are doing to create a whole. I find a strong correlation between this community ritual, and the teamwork of the Italian glassblowing tradition. Something of that improvisation is found in my hot shop, where I work with three assistants. We all have to respond to each other’s movements, timing and actions to create the finished piece.”

Artist's Statement

One reason glass appeals to me is that the tools and the processes we’re using basically haven’t changed over the last thousand years. We’re living in a techno-industrial society, but we’re carrying on this tradition, perpetuating the culture of handmade things. A glass blower from a thousand years ago could sit at my bench today and know exactly what to do.

The themes I have always focused on are of a continuum revolving around life and growth. There is an optimism inherent in my work, which I have tried to reinforce in the face of a seemingly constant barrage of negativity and pessimism coming at us from many sources. The beauty of Nature in its many forms continues to inspire me and inform my work. We are often too absorbed by the day to day of our own small existence to visualize and recognize the grand scheme, which is transpiring around us. My aim is to celebrate the beauty of the progression of life as it ever unfolds and reveals itself.