Canadian glass artist Roberta Leigh Parkes creates original and functional, as well as one-of-a-kind sculptural glass pieces. Roberta is a retired scientist with an Inorganic Chemistry Masters of Science degree. Born and raised in Woodstock, Ontario and spending summers in the Haliburton Highlands has instilled an enduring love of nature and the outdoors which is reflected in her work.

Roberta trained in blown and sculptural glass at Sheridan College School of Design, the Haliburton School of the Arts and the Harbourfront Glass Studio. Roberta maintains a slumping and fusing kiln/annealing oven and cold glass finishing studio where she lives in the Toronto Beaches. Hot glass is worked at furnaces near Georgetown and Haliburton.

“Arts and science are like branches of the same tree. We do art when we communicate through forms where connections are not accessible to the conscious mind, yet we intuitively recognize them as something meaningful” Albert Einstein

A sense of beauty, imagination, and the love of precision in my work with crystals, rock and light stimulated my creativity as a scientist. Simplicity of form, the drama of rich intense colour, textures, and above all “numinous nature…water, rock, air” serve as inspiration as a glass blower.

“Working with molten glass is like dancing the magma right out of the earth. It is hot and dangerous, and it feels like I am making love with the very essence of creation” Laura Donefer

Working with glass is a science. It is both physical and meditative. It brings intense focus. The world is left behind. It is endless experimenting and discovery of the intricate characteristics of glass and despite increasing your understanding and control of the medium, the art pieces are often unique and unpredictable and just as numinous as nature itself. There is joy in the challenge and challenge in the endurance.