On one hand, Mike Crawford’s works are an expression of the liquidity and sculptural possibilities of his chosen medium. On the other, he investigates and manipulates the natural and cultural artefacts of bicultural New Zealand. Drawing upon his own Māori/European ancestry his works have included hue (gourd) and waka huia (containers for treasured items) forms as well as vessels whose shapes capture the essence of the country’s native birds. Crawford pares down the latter to the swoop of a beak or curve of a back; the rounded planes and edges of the glass combine a barely contained energy with beautifully balanced poise.
The success of Crawford’s making comes in the realisation that each of his pieces does not need external reference points. It is not essential for the viewer to know that a work is a Huia vase or a Kākāpō bowl, it can exist as a purely sculptural expression of volume and light. The knowing is an added layer of meaning to be discovered.
Mike Crawford has a Bachelor of Design (Sculpture) from UNITEC School of Design in Auckland. In 2006 he was a finalist in the Ranamok Australian and New Zealand glass prize. His work features in the public collections of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, The Dowse Art Museum and Waikato Museum as well as private collections in New Zealand, Australia and North America. In 2011 Crawford’s work was included in the Nga Pou Whenua exhibition at the Waikato Museum. Crawford has received several prestigious nominations and awards including the 2010 selection of Moa Bowl for the prestigious applied arts and design exhibition Talente in Munich, Germany. This was followed in the same year by the selection of Crawford’s Still Life for the 2011 New Glass Review.