4A. INDULGENCES Mark Raynes Roberts ANNIVERSARY Issue 201314 - #1 Mark Studio



By  Kara Wood 

Crystal Reflections



Once or twice in a lifetime I believe we have the opportunity to meet someone whose work is so extraordinary that you cannot help but wonder what planet he or she may have come from.  The energy and the spirit that they evoke when you are near them is ethereal.  You feel as though you have stepped through the optical looking glass into something that is magical and astounding.


Mark Raynes Roberts is an extraordinary crystal artist and designer who was born in England and whose professional career has spanned over 30 years in Toronto, Canada.  During that time, he has worked with many of North Americas top Fortune 500 companies and with such luxury brands as Asprey, Neiman Marcus and Birks.  His major works of art have been exhibited internationally and many now reside in both private and corporate art collections, including in the luxury residences of royalty, world leaders, Hollywood celebrities and sports superstars.


 INDULGENCES Mark Raynes Roberts ANNIVERSARY Issue 201314 - #2 Polo Match JPG



His craftsmanship is even more important today, in an era of high technology when individual (as opposed to mass-produced) creativity, executed painstakingly by hand, is in retreat.  To truly appreciate Mr. Raynes Roberts’ level of skill, consider this:  his canvas of optical crystal costs thousands of dollars before he even begins the work of engraving on them using a diamond-wheel technique combined with stippling.  It’s not like a painter’s canvas, where a mistake can be erased with the sweep of a paintbrush.  For Mr. Raynes Roberts, one mistake with an unsteady hand means disaster.  After 30 years and at the age of 52, he is Canadas pre-eminent crystal artist and engraver, recognized internationally as one of the few remaining great master engravers in the world.


INDULGENCES Mark Raynes Roberts ANNIVERSARY Issue 201314 - #3 Flight of the Imagination



But you would never know it.  His self- deprecating nature and concern for others is evident in his philosophical works, a testament to his interest in human transcendence, our relationship with the natural world, with each other and with ourselves.  He believes that the role of an artist is to be a conduit revealing aspects of our shared humanity, hopes and frailties.


Through The Looking Glass


With this in mind, he is now creating architectural-scale sculpture and glass-wall installations evoking some of these themes, consulting with architects and interior designers on hotel, condominium and restaurant projects where hand-engraved glass works are a welcome reminder of the forgotten era of masterful human craftsmanship.  His new SUSTINERE Collection highlights custom-made furniture by Paus + Grun using reclaimed wood, and includes his ecology-themed engraved crystal features.


In November, the Raynes-designed Ernst & Young Canada’s Entrepreneur Of The Year Award trophy will be presented (past recipients include Ronald Joyce, Guy Laliberté and Dani Reiss), and in January 2014, the Sunshine Millions thoroughbred trophies will be presented at Gulfstream Racetrack, Florida, and at Santa Anita Park, California.





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