Mike Crawford’s practice has been built on the strong foundations of his Bachelor of Design degree from Unitec which he followed up with many years of work at the studio of pioneering glass artist Ann Robinson, perfecting his skills and developing his identity as an artist. From the beginning Mike has been interested in the sculptural side of glass casting and early cast objects over time developed into sculptural vessel forms.
Mike has built a practice exploring the Maori side of his Maori and Scottish heritage and his interest in sculptural vessels. Research into hue (gourds) and their traditional use as storage for preserving birds has seen the evolution of Mike’s practice to forms that combine both bird and vessel characteristics. His exploration of vessel forms has lead him to research other Maori vessel forms such as the kumete that were traditionally carved wooden bowls that at times had stalk or beak like ends to them. This rich history and the plethora of bird life in Aotearoa provide Mike with a wealth of inspiration for further investigation of the vessel form.
His mastery of his craft is evident in his deep understanding of line and form and the manipulation and play between internal and external space that he manages to achieve in both his translucent and opaque works to alluring effect. The strength of Mike’s work is its ability to contribute to the importance of the vessel in human history in a way that talks about place in a meaningful and timeless way.
As well as private collections in New Zealand, Australia and North America, Crawford has work in the collections of the Dowse Art Museum, Waikato Museum of Art and History, University of Waikato Art Collection, and Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand.