Our current climate has been hot. Hot, like the first real day of summer, when you can see heat hovering over the pavement and condensation slowly drips from your cup. Hot, like three-thousand-degree sand melting into molten glass. Tempers and tensions continue to rise as we all take part in a global pandemic. In the darkest times, when the world feels like ashes, family, friends and those we hold intimate relationships with show themselves as the truest value of our existence. Without them, what are we?
Robin was an admirer of Keiko’s work long before Keiko ever knew. Perusing a glass shop in Tokyo with Akari Endo-Gaut, in 2016, Robin first laid eyes on these organic, tactile pieces. She immediately fell in love with Keiko Lee’s perfectly imperfect glass forms, delicate, yet functional. But could not find her contact information. Female glassblowers in general are rare, especially in Japan. Robin and Akari could relate to operating in professions dominated by men. In the tradition of women supporting women, they made it their mission to find Keiko Lee. An artist with whom they shared so much of the same philosophy on making; focus on the earth, utility and beauty. In 2017, Akari caught word she was showcasing her works at a small gallery in Osaka, she was found! A relationship, and more importantly a friendship was born. That same year RW GUILD’s first production order was placed and Keiko Lee became an inaugural artisan at The Guild, launching her collection for the first time in the United States.
In the vain of ‘everything cannot be good’ Keiko faced her own personal tribulations prior to today’s aforementioned climate. In 2019, her glass furnace cracked. She then suffered a physical injury that forced her to stop blowing glass. Through healing and perseverance, she reinvented herself, her kiln, and her studio. Her plans to showcase this second iteration of her beloved works at Roman and Williams’ Guild this summer was a highlight of our upcoming agenda and marked Keiko’s first trip to New York City. But like Keiko, we see opportunity in adversity and despite inability to travel, we are still deeply connected, through strength and delicacy.
A Season of Reflection is a reminder to do just that. To pause and think of people and things you love. To ruminate on the importance of friendship, collaboration, tenacity and catharsis. Keiko Lee’s classic collection is RW Guild’s Symbol of Recovery. This Special Collection marks a moment in time, while remaining timeless. Unique, air-blown glasses are offered in a limited run. This delicate process, which has been developed over the past 30 years, is inspired by natural forms and rock collecting. Keiko Lee’s surfaces are exquisite, no two pieces are the same, they embrace and unearth the softness of glass, and help us focus on the simplicity of nature and its resiliency.
We are proud to announce A Season of Reflection: Glass Works by Artist Keiko Lee, as our inaugural Special Collection.