Friday, 15 January 2010

Rob Hooper was an early NZ Glass Artist

Rob Hooper was working as a technician for the Govett Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth in 1973 when he met Tony Kuepfer, who had recently arrived from the US. Over the next year Rob assisted Tony in the building of Tony's concrete block glass studio next to the church in Inglewood, which opened in 1974. Rob spent a year blowing glass with Tony, then went travelling and visiting glass studios in Europe. When he returned in 1976, Rob worked with Tony and John Parkin at Inglewood for a few months, then set up his own studio in the Waikato - John Parkin came to work there too for a period. In 1980, Rob Hooper moved to Henderson in Auckland and established a studio there. He entered pieces in the 1984 and 1985 Philips Studio Glass Award exhibitions at Auckland Museum.

I have not seen any glass signed by Rob Hooper, so all the pieces in my collection have been attributed to him, sometimes with confirmation by Rob himself. The vase above with cane inclusions is 15 cm high. It was offered for sale on TradeMe by a trader who said she had bought it from a woman who purchased it directly from Rob Hooper when he was involved with the artisan group at Albany in the 1970s (though she may have meant 1980s). The mug at right (9.5cm high) was part of a group of ruby glass, which I bought thinking this might be by Tony Kuepfer. When it arrived it clearly isn't Tony's work, but comparison with another piece in my collection suggested it might be by Rob Hooper.

In response to an email enquiry Rob has confirmed this, saying: 'Yes, both these pieces are mine. The copper red was particularly unpredicatbale in the mixed container glass batch I used to make'.


  1. Hi Stuart.
    I have a Rob Hooper glass vase which I purchased in the late 80,s from a small craft shop in Kumeu West Auckland. It just stood out at the time and has always been a favourite in my collection.
    If you would like a pic. I am happy to send.
    South Australia

  2. Yes, I'd be very grateful for a picture, thanks. Email me at


  3. Hi Stuart

    I have a handled glass that I thought was Tony Kuepfer until I saw your photo of Rob Hooper's one. I was mislead (I think) by the four small pontil marks. I can send a photo if you would like so you can set me straight. Cheers, Gail

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  5. Yes, I'll be happy to have a look and see what I think. Tony did make mugs rather like this, too. Email a picture to me at