Craft in America
A Book by Phyllis George
Robert Stewart (pg. 156)
Illinois artist Robert Stewart often mentions children and the child in all of
us when he speaks of his efforts to teach himself to cut the beveled glass
boxes he's known for far and wide.
There's something childlike--timeless, sparkling and magical--about these
jewel-like vessels with their etiched and angeled facets, which have been
hand-ground and polished on antique wheels that the artist preserves for
this unique work.
Stewart's boxes exert a universal fascination. One of the first to recognize
this quality about them was former Governor James Thompson, who
came across Stewart's work through the Illinois Artisans program.
Governor Thompson like to take Stewart's boxes along with him as gifts
when he traveled with international trade delegations.
Now Stewart's one-of-a-kind creations reside in collections of foreign
dignitaries around the world.
Russia's Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev each have one. So does
China's Deng Xiao Ping and Poland's Lech Walesa. President Bush kept
his on display outside the Oval Office.
Stewart believes that children and the most important adults on the planet
are exactly the same, in relation to art.
"For a few minutes, when people look at my work, they become children
again." he says. "They remember fond memories of the past."
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