Born in 1951 in Fort Belvoir , Virginia and raised in Honolulu ,
Hawaii , Robert's formal education ended after one year of college. He
apprenticed with a professional lampworker for two years in the midseventies and then sold his own designs at outdoor craft fairs for ten years.
In 1987 he took a class from Paul Stankard that opened his eyes to the
possibilities of his medium. In 1989, he stopped doing craft shows and
began marketing his work exclusively through galleries. Since then, his
career has taken off. He shows his work in some of the finest galleries in
the country and participates in prominent exhibitions each year. His work
is exhibited in many prominent collections including the Renwick Gallery
of American Crafts at the Smithsonian Institution, the Corning Museum of
Glass, The Toledo Museum of Art, The Carnegie Museum of Art, The
Mint Museum, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Museum of American
Glass at Wheaton Village .
He has taught extensively at the major glass schools including the Pilchuck
Glass School , Penland School of Crafts, The Studio at the Corning
Museum of Glass, and The Eugene Glass School. He has filmed and
produced two videos on his flameworking process, and he has designed
and maintains an elaborate web page dedicated to his own work and the
galleries that represent him (www.mickelsenstudios.com). He has
published numerous technical and historical articles on flameworked glass.
He served for six years on the board of directors of the Glass Art Society
and was their treasurer and vice-president.
"I am primarily interested in the personal expression of ideas and
feelings and how the resulting sculptures fit into the environment of
our lives. I believe strongly in the uniqueness of my own vision and
strive to express it in the purest and most honest way possible. T
often means stepping completely away from the traditional forms
that have always been associated with my chosen medium (glass)
and embracing forms, materials, and techniques that are not only
non-traditional, but even controversial. I believe in breaking rules to
achieve what I want and revel in the disapproval this approach often
generates. I identify myself less and less with the material and
technique of glass and more and more simply with living the life of
an artist, making work that fulfills my need to be creative.
T objects I create are narratives… personal vignettes that reveal
the secrets of my innermost thoughts. T
hese are often mysteries even
to me until the creative process reveals them and so the work
becomes a form of self-discovery. T work provides me with a path
to understanding things that I otherwise would not be aware of and
sharing them with others who can then identify those things within