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About Robert Held

Robert Held signing wall with dark glass bowl mounted on wall behind

Creating the most beautiful glass works that I can, has been my personal goal or mantra for my entire life.

Growing up in a creative home, I started drawing things in the 5th grade and have not stopped yet. My father was a sculptor, my mother his model. Together they instilled a creative, and supportive environment that has sustained me through a few different artistic endeavours. From painter, to potter, to glass blower, I have always tried to make wonderful, beautiful work.

Now, after over 50 years of blowing glass, I still love the act of creating art from this molten mass of sand with my own breath. Hopefully, breathing life and beauty into each piece.

Robert D. Held

Artist's Statement

You can't look up to the sky, or into the forest of leaves, and stones and not be inspired if you are alive

These are a few of the wonders of Glass Blowing that I fell in love with in 1968 and still love today. I design it, make it, finish it and love it. For over 40 years I have been blessed with the joy of creating glass art for everyone.

Career

Robert pursued his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts at the University of Southern California, Robert was awarded the graduate assistantship. At this time, he won the prestigious “Glen Lukins Award” for new work in ceramics.

Upon graduating, Robert was offered a position as Head of Ceramics at a college being built in Ontario. He accepted the position becoming the youngest department head at the Sheridan College - School of Design.

In 1968, after a visit to the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, Robert Held discovered a new love: the art of glassblowing. He returned to Sheridan College inspired and succeeded in launching Canada’s first college


In 1968, after a visit to the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, Robert Held discovered a new love: the art of glassblowing. He returned to Sheridan College inspired and succeeded in launching Canada’s first college level hot glass program in 1969. This program allowed many Canadian artists to become skilled in this medium, and crowned Robert Held as the pioneer of art glass in Canada.

level hot glass program in 1969. This program allowed many Canadian artists to become skilled in this medium, and crowned Robert Held as the pioneer of art glass in Canada.

Since leaving teaching and Sheridan, Robert Held has been providing beautiful glass through his studios, first in Calgary with Skookum Art glass, then onto Vancouver where Robert created the largest Hot Glass production studio in Canada. Now in Parksville, he continues to design and create beautiful art glass with his small team of talented glass blowers.

Technique

Robert Held using tube to blow into heated glass piece with sunglasses on

Robert Held uses techniques that date back as long ago as 2000 B.C. however, his collections range from classic to contemporary.

Some works are inspired by the paintings of famous artists such as Monet and Klimt, while others take inspiration from photographers and even interior designers. Our studio prides itself on providing its customers with a large selection of affordable hand-blown gift items, as well as Robert’s individual creations for the serious collector.

Selected Exhibitions & Awards

Metiers d’Art 2,
Metiers d’Art 2, Canada Cultural Centre, Canadian Embassy, Paris, France, 1976
Gas 6 - Glass Art Society Group Exhibition,
Corning Glass Center, Corning, NY, 1976
Artisan 78 Travelling Exhibition,
Canada Crafts Council, Canada, 1978
American Art Glass 1982,
Barrett Galleries, Toledo, OH, 1982
Outstanding Achievement in Off-Hand Glassblowing,
Alberta Achievement Award, Alberta, Canada, 1984
Gold Award for Excellence in Craft,
Circle Craft Co-operative of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 1992
Canadian Gift & Tableware Association Award,
CGTA Show, Toronto, Canada, 2003
Canadian Gift & Tableware Association Award,
Best in Giftware, Montreal, Que, 2003
Circle Craft 2004,
Excellence in Craft, Vancouver, BC, 2004
Monet Revisited,
Exhibited at McMillan Art Centre, Parksville, BC, 2016
Featured Artist,
Filberg Festival, Vancouver, BC, 2018
Softshores Exhibition,
McMillan Art Centre, Parksville, BC, 2019
Tales of an Urban Creek,
McMillan Art Centre, Parksvillle, BC, 2022

Robert's work is represented in private and public collections throughout Canada; The Roland Michener Collection, Massey Foundation, Indusmin Collection, The Museum of Montreal, and various private collections.

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