Glass + Metal.

René's work

René’s work


In the next life she will tame lions.
— Alan Gering

About René’s work


René Roberts cut her first piece of glass in 1978 while working as a criminal trial lawyer, a profession she now describes as “going to war every day.” She left law practice soon thereafter, and embarked on what would eventually become a 40-year exploration of glass, metal, fire and color. With a passion for experimentation and a high tolerance for methodical time consuming processes, she became obsessed with hot glass and eventually turned to torch work, where she developed a method using copper, silver and gold on the glass surface to create an ethereal color palette. Here she found her chemistry minor from UCLA to be especially useful.

“Aerial View Beads”, colored with copper, silver and gold, tallest about 4 cm

“Aerial View Beads”, colored with copper, silver and gold, tallest about 4 cm

She became recognized for her innovative glass coloring techniques, appearing in many juried national and international exhibitions and as a demonstrating artist for The Glass Art Society and the International Society of Glass Beadmakers.   

“Salt Point Tafoni #1”, basse-taille enamel on copper, 18” x 12”

“Salt Point Tafoni #1”, basse-taille enamel on copper, 18” x 12”

 In 2003, after experimenting for several years with photo etching, her glass obsession turned to enamels embedded in copper as realistic photographic imagery, a process that has now taken many years to perfect. Her knowledge of metal colorants continues to inspire her. With several media, she has reinvented her materials to create visual hybrids that speak of the coastal California landscape she calls home. 

Her champlevé and basse taille has appeared in 500 Enameled Objects (LARK); and the exhibits, Landscape as Place (Center for Enamel Art, 2019), Glass Alchemy 5 (Enamelist Society, Tacoma Museum of Glass, 2019), and Northern California Metals (Grace Hudson Museum, 2007). The Center for Enamel Art has recently featured her unique enameling process in their blog. Her earlier glass and metal work has been featured in a number of books, including The History of Beads, Formed of Fire, 1000 Glass Beads (LARK), and Masters: Glass Beads (LARK).

“Geoscape”, various metal colorants on enamel, 8” x 5”

“Geoscape”, various metal colorants on enamel, 8” x 5”

“Warming Trends” detail, electroformed copper on Coralline algae

“Warming Trends” detail, electroformed copper on Coralline algae

René loves to teach and over the years she’s taught many workshops in a variety of media, including glass, photo etching, electroforming, color theory, and Photoshop. She brings her own problem solving approach to teaching, helping students understand the behavior of their materials, and always encouraging a spirit of fun and experimentation.