When Robert Held lived in Vancouver he was captivated by the profusion of cherry blossoms each spring. The trees along Marine Drive and in many parks would burst forth with an amazing display of pink and white blossoms. The city is home to 40,000 cherry trees which bloom between February and May. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival features art events, tour, picnics and more.
Robert wanted to translate the cherry blossoms into works of art glass. He succeeded in creating a spectacular collection of glass vessels. It is a complex and difficult process to achieve the delicate pinks of the blossoms and the rugged, gnarled tree trunk.
Creating the Cherry Blossoms and Blown Glass Vessel
Robert used the cane method for creating the pink blossoms. This involves adding multiple very thin rods of color around a central core and fusing them together into a single cane. This close up photo shows the dark pink central core surrounded by five pale pink and white petals. Each of the petals consist of a white inner core, pale pink outer layer then a very thin wrap of black to define the petal. The petals are combined around the centre to create the cane, which is then stretched so it is very small in diameter and then cut into millimeter-length slices.
The body of the art glass vessel is blown using clear glass to which finely ground colored glass is added to achieve the desired color and opacity. Then a dark colored glass is heated and used to create the tree trunk and branches – this in itself is another complex process. The cherry blossom cane slices are then added and fused with the vessel. Keep in mind that the glass must be kept in motion and occasionally reheated during the process, and you’ll understand that it requires incredible skill to produce each piece. Some of the vessels feature 24 carat gold and each one is truly a work of art.
Robert has made available for sale a limited number of art glass pieces in the Cherry Blossom Collection. Visit us in the Parksville location and see why these pieces are some of his favourite. If you’re viewing online, please contact us by email or phone to purchase your special work of glass.