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Featured Artist Archive > March, 2011


Peter Raos Paperweight
Peter Raos
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New Zealand born master glass artist Peter Raos is one of the leading paperweight artists in the Southern Hemisphere. His work is in significant corporate and permanent public collections, including Louis Vuitton, the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum in Wisconsin, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. He is frequently represented in international paperweight exhibitions and catalogues.

For the past thirty-three years, Peter has lived and worked as a glass artist in the historic waterfront village of Devonport, across the bay from Auckland city. His work is brilliantly displayed in his glass gallery which he runs with his wife Prue just opposite the Devonport Ferry Terminal.

"My journey has been about my evolution as an independent artist. My first important step was getting a studio over 30 years ago where I could focus on developing my own ideas. Establishing the gallery eight years ago was also a significant milestone, allowing me to create an authentic context for my work where people can directly experience the idea of the paperweight form as a work of art. The gallery has enabled me both to preserve the value of my work and the values behind it."

Peter has described his career in terms of the unfolding of a dream. "My ideas are of archetypal objects that reflect Art and Nature. For the whole of my working life I have been striving to realise them. Every time I see a new development or some progress in my work, I get a feeling of joy and excitement and this keeps me going."

Peter's work reflects the South Pacific elements shaping his environment including the seascape surrounding Devonport and the garden enveloping his studio. He uses a variety of techniques, including traditional millefiori to express the depth and glow of a garden in full flower.

The paperweight shown above is the latest expression of his Vincent Collection. Peter sees this as a good example of his theme of Impressionist gardens captured in glass. "I have been developing this theme for over two decades. The rose canes in the Vincent Collection reference traditional paperweight elements such as the Clichy rose. The sky blue background is composed of several layers of colours referencing the Impressionist layering of paint to achieve optical mixing of colours."

Shortly after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland Elam School of Fine Arts and Design in 1979, he combined with other glass artists to set up a boutique hot glass studio, "The Hot Glass Company" in Devonport. This became a popular venue for Aucklanders to watch the glass being made in the 1980's. In 1981, Peter organised and hosted a workshop in New Zealand by the American glass artist, Dick Marquis. This sparked a series of visits to New Zealand by leading overseas glass artists, which had a profound effect on the development of glass art in New Zealand. Peter built his home studio in 1990 and the following year he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts with Honours from Elam. The research component for his degree included different casting techniques for glass and improving furnace design.

Peter makes all his glass himself, from designing each composition, through melting the raw materials, to forming each piece by hand. He signs and dates each work. Many of his paperweights contain tiny millefiori cut from canes which he designs and makes himself. He also includes beautiful lampwork elements such as tropical fish and exotic flowers.

The complete collection of Peter's glass can be seen at his gallery, the Peter Raos Glass Gallery, established in 2003 as the exclusive showcase for his art. Peter and his wife Prue welcome visitors to the gallery, which is on Queen's Parade just across the road from the Ferry Terminal on the Devonport waterfront. He also has a website at and he can be contacted by email at

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