Ann Robinson was born in Auckland and completed a Diploma in Fine Arts at the University of Auckland in 1980. Her innovative glass creations have received major national and international acclaim.
Following the completion of her diploma, Robinson joined the established studio of Sunbeam Glass works and became a partner with two others. It was during this period that Robinson developed a method of casting glass, the ‘lost wax casting’ method.
The lost wax glass casting process (also known as cire perdue) is a modified version of bronze casting. A wax blank is formed by pouring molten wax into a plaster base mould. This wax blank is then modified and reinvested in a second mould, made of refractory materials – that is material which can withstand a long period in the kiln at high temperatures. After the wax is burnt out, the cavity is filled with molten glass. The glass-filled mould is then slowly cooled to room temperature. Larger pieces can require up to three weeks cooling and one week finishing.
The colours and shapes of the flora and fauna of the outdoors influence Robinson’s bold cast glass pieces, with native New Zealand plants and trees constantly providing inspiration to the artist. Robinson attributes her understanding and perception of colour to the sharp clear quality of New Zealand’s light, and it ever changing weather patterns.
The way in which each of Robinson’s sculptures absorbs and emits light transforms these inanimate objects into living things, reflecting the play of light and shadow in the natural world. Her mixture of materials, which includes up to 45% lead crystal, contributes to the work’s luminousity and intensity of colour.
Robinson’s works are held in both private and public collections, such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, Auckland Museum, Te Papa Wellington and the Christchurch Art Gallery. She has received numerous awards including an American Glass Society’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2006, Arts Laureate by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand in 2004. Robinson was also the recipient of the 2002 ‘John Britten Award’ for Contribution to Design and awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001. She received the Phillips Glass Award in 1984 and 1986, and the Winstone Biennale Award for Craft in 1987.