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A Glass Blower’s Companion with Jason Michael -Helping Today's Glass Artist Think Like an Artistic Entrepreneur

Aug 6, 2020

GBC Ep17:Robert Mickelsen- From Fine Art to Degenerate Art

This is a conversation  that I’ve wanted to have for years. For myself personally, Robert Mickelsen has been a major influence in my glass work with his refined details and proportions. With 45 years of dedication to this wonderful medium of glass, Mickelsen has a ton of knowledge to share while also understanding he still has a wealth of knowledge to gain.  Hope you enjoy this conversation and if you have any questions for Robert you can reach out to him on Instagram @ramickelsen


Other links referred to in the episode:

Robert’s Bio: Born Dec.12, 1951. Grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii and attended high school at Punahou (same school as Barack Obama, just ten years earlier). I went to Humboldt State University in Arcata, Ca for one year but dropped out. Started blowing glass in Greeley, Colorado in 1974. Moved to Florida in 1977 and continued glass selling my wares at street craft shows and flea markets. I made my living on the street exclusively until 1989 when I switched to wholesale craft shows. It was also around this time that I took a class at Penland with Paul Stankard that opened my eyes for the first time to the artistic potential of my craft. My work blossomed after that. I began my teaching career at Pilchuck in 1994 where I was deeply influenced by the artists that I met including Dante Marioni and Bill Morris. I continued doing wholesale craft shows, indoor art shows, and teaching for the next ten years. During that time I had several solo shows at prominent glass art galleries and attended SOFA in Chicago numerous times represented by several different galleries. I stopped doing wholesale shows in 2001 and shifted my focus to selling exclusively through high-end art galleries. This lasted until the great recession of 2008 when I found myself in a crisis when all my galleries closed and shows dried up. I struggled for about four years until 2012 when I was introduced to pipe-making by Salt and Kevin Ivey. I experienced a rebirth and a newfound enthusiasm for glass. The rest you already know. 

I am proud to have my work included in some of the most prominent museum collections including Renwick Gallery of American Crafts at the Smithsonian Institution, the Corning Museum of Glass, The Toledo Museum of Art, The Museum of Arts and Design, The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Mint Museum, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and The Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Village.