Robert Dane started blowing glass at Massachusetts College of Art in 1973. He has studied with Lino Tagliapietra, Pino Signoretto, Dan Dailey, William Morris, Martin Janecky, and other masters. Robert has exhibited his sculpture and glassware widely in galleries and museums internationally. His work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Renwick Collection of the Smithsonian Institution. From 1996 through 2016 he and his wife, Jayne, owned the Dane Gallery on Nantucket Island, where they showed Robert’s work along with the work of some of the top artists in glass and ceramics.
Robert Dane’s studio, Heath Brook Studio, is in Heath, Massachusetts, in the northern Berkshire mountains. His work is inspired by the Italian tradition of glassblowing, but has a distinctly American flavor. Vibrant colors and the spontaneous improvisation of his unique designs distinguish his work in a 2000-year tradition of glassblowing.
"My sculptures are inspired primarily by traditional folkloric Afro-Cuban music. This music originated in western Africa, and spread throughout the islands of the Caribbean, and South and Central America. As the music spread, each culture melded its native music and dance with the that of the Spanish invaders. The masks and sculptures of this tradition often depict the Orishas, or spirits, of the culture. The Orishas can be deities in the spirit world or humans who upon their death are recognized as deities because of their extraordinary feats. The masks are used in various rituals, that include music, song, costumes and dance. These rituals are often celebrations of rites of passage or worship of ancestors. These sculptures are interpretations of traditional masks atop depictions of percussion instruments, shekeres (beaded gourds), ashiko, djembe, and conga drums. My Ori (head/spirit) sculptures are the masks alone.
My Orishas and Ori are intended as a celebration of the music and culture of Africa that has been embraced and integrated into our contemporary culture. From Jazz to Blues to Country to Hip-Hop, the rhythms of Africa are embedded in the music, often without our realizing their provenance.
The masks are blown and sculpted from inside the bubble, using colored powders and bit work. They are created with a variety of decorative techniques including murrini, overlays, lathe carving and sandblasting. The torsos are blown with various murrini and cane techniques. The drum heads are glass overlays. The larger sculptures are assembled cold." - Robert Dane