Robert Mickelsen's glass sculptures are diversely styled and all of them, no matter the style, beautiful. Some of his sculptures you can't even imagine are made with glass. Some are clearly made with glass but you can't believe someone created, without the help of a wizard, the intricate filigrees and details he seems to incorporate in every piece. He finds a way to recreate living gems from nature and the essence of nature in most of his work. He says:
"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.
|Life form with Honeycreeper|
|Honeycreeper nest detail|
|Life form with dragonfly|
|Dragon fly, detail|
He says it often means eschewing traditional forms of glass work:
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.
Kind of steam punk meets Greek Mythology meets Hajime Sorayama
Birds, a little turtle, dragonflies and lizards!
Yeah, mosquito, how does that feel?
The objects I create are narratives… personal vignettes that reveal the secrets of my innermost thoughts. These are often mysteries even to me until the creative process reveals them and so the work becomes a form of self-discovery. The 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 themselves."
Notice the iconic "listening to his master's voice" dog on the front base
|Victoria's Victrola, detail|
|Return To Paradise|
with a Bird of Paradise blossom and a bug on the leaf!
Mariposa Restaurant in the Neiman Marcus store in Boca Raton, Florida
|I love the internet|
I found my own image of Mariposa and top left you can
see Zephyr. I love the greens in this room
|Cobalt Botanical Vessel|
I love that the bases of vessels are not always round, symmetrical circles.
|Goblet Trio El Diablo|
|Habatat Goblet Trio (notice the Dorados on the goblet on the left)|
Dorados are brilliantly coloured fish that flash different colours as they die.
They are also known as Mahi Mahi and dolphin fish.
They're such richly coloured, beautiful fish.
I love that there are details inside the Dorado bowl that do not show through to the outside. He creates his pieces to be beautiful from every angle. Not just what you see from one side or on the outside.
|Habatat Goblet Trio 2|
|Lele Ku Oko A (Freedom Flight)|
|Lele Ku Oko A|
I absolutely love that the base of Lele Ku Oko A is a splash. It brings the piece to life and makes it dynamic.
So beautiful! In my opinion, this is pretty much
a quintessential example of Art Deco style
|Dogwood and Anole|
Of course you know I'm going to love anything with a lizard
says the person with a chameleon as her profile picture
|"Wahine" displayed last year at "Glass Act: The Contemporary Art Glass Movement Turns 50" at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Wahine means woman|
|There are little apples on this Apple Tree|
|Apple Tree with Robert Mickelsen giving|
context to the size of the tree
[From his bio] Born in 1951 in Fort Belvoir, Virginia and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, He went to collage for a year after which he apprenticed with a professional lampworker for two years in the mid-seventies 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.
|Passage table top|
The next few pieces remind me a little of Jack Long's Splash Photography. Remember the pictures of perfectly timed paint drops that look like flowers and vases?
|Lifeform - Fertility|
|Organism - Star Blossom|
|Leaf bowl and stand|
|Organism - Poppy Variation|
|Bird bowl tree stand|
He stopped doing craft shows - I've been to craft shows, they're always less fun than you expect - in 1989 and began exhibiting in galleries exclusively. Now 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 places like Renwick Gallery of American Crafts, 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, The Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Village , and the Pilchuck Glass School .
|Bad luck for the pushmepullyou|
|How the lizard gods keep the sky from falling|
He has also taught at 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. Click here to view the extensive gallery on his website. 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.
Mr. Mickelsen has kindly given me permission to show his images for this story and I want to thank him for that. All photos are by Dan Abbott. This is a link to his facebook page but his website is far more detailed.
He mentions that he does not have any of the work he's done before 1996 posted on his website. He says if he has time one day he will put up images from 1995 and before. I kind of like that he doesn't have time to do that. It means he's being kept busy bringing his inspirations to fruition and doing what he loves. Who can ask for more than that in life?