Michael Robinson, Artist in Glass

While visiting the Whetung Ojibway Arts and Crafts Gallery last week, I learned that the Metis artist Michael Robinson died last summer at the untimely age of 62. I never met him, but I mourn his passing.

I had the good fortune to discover his glass sculptures at Whetung’s thirty years ago. As I understand it, glass was his original medium, but injuries from a traffic accident in the mid-Eighties forced him to shift to less demanding art forms.

I collected eleven of his vases over the years. They are all solid and substantial, yet also graceful and beautiful. The designs are abstract, rising from broad bases to flattish tops, generally with a small hole for inserting a flower. But I think they were meant to be seen on their own, rather than as a vehicle for flowers.

They often remind me of the shape of a human torso, clad in a robe or tunic. The glass itself is usually deep blue, purple, or crimson, though I also have one that is clear. While the glass is strong and thick on the outside, somehow Robinson was able to pull delicate threads of glass through the openings of the vases. The contrast between power and delicacy captured my imagination, and I bought one or two on every trip to Whetung’s.

I note on Michael Robinson’s website remembrances of his creativity in printmaking, etching, and poetry, and his role in his family, but nothing about his glass work. So I hope this post stands as recognition of that important element of his artistic output. These works stand in my home, and inspire me with their beauty and their demonstration of a unique talent. Thank you, Michael Robinson.

12 comments

  1. I own one of Michael Robinson’s vases. Around 1970 I bought it at a student sale event at Sheridan College. Since moving to Madoc in 1985, and since I found out where he lived, I had often thought of contacting him. Today I finnally typed his name into Google and realized he died. Additionally adding “glass blower”, “artist” to his name. I came across his poetry, drawings, paintings, etchings and art cards. By adding “vases” I came across your post and the only reference to his glass blowing work. At Sheridan he majored in Glass 1969-1971 but stopped working in that medium in 1986. That was, if I remember corrrectly, after the serious car accident.

  2. Michael Robinson is committing identity theft in order to make money. He has used the over used “I was adopted” line to avoid proving such. He’s from Peterborough and his family still lives there. Just ask. Just because a white person “declares” they are aboriginal dosen’t mean they are! If he was so sure he was “Cree”, “Metis”, “aboriginal”, “native”, then he should be able to prove it. It’s easier for a lying white person to gain credibility as an “indian”, than it is for a brown person to be considered an equal human being. There is so much of this type of fraud happening, and it’s only because there is money and fame in it.

  3. Hi. I just came across your site and I was interested to read about your collection of Michael Robinson glass vases. I collect primarily Six Nations art – my wife is Mohawk – but I do have a beautiful vase made by Michael Robinson. It is the only one I have ever seen but I do know, as you said, he was first a glass blower before changing mediums. I would love to share photos with you – to allow you to see the vase I have and for me to see the ones you have. I’m interested to see if there are similarities. Best regards. James

  4. I will purchase any Michael Robinson glass you wish to sell at the price you declare. His glass is signed “two rivers”. Although some early pieces are signed “robin” or “robin two rivers”
    — michael
    416 704 4570

    • Hello Micheal. I have a piece I am looking to sell. Tall thin vase, muted amethyst tones, free flowing glass strands inside and signed Two Rivers. I can send you photos if you think you might be interested.

    • Yes….very interested. Thank you for thinking of me Sandford. Please send one or two photos and then we can chat. Regards , –michael

    • Thanks for your love of this artist. And the price you offered for my collection was fair. I hope you enjoy your new pieces. Anyone wants to sell. call the number on this post. Micheal is fair and professional. Travis

  5. Hello
    I purchased a triangular vase signed Two rivers….and find your posts fascinating.
    I’d be interested in sharing a picture of my vase, if anyone is interested in purchasing it…or just seeing it🤗

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