Robert was born in Santa Ana, California. His initial focus was in painting, and then in ceramics. While pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree, he was awarded the prestigious "Glen Lukins Award". After graduating, he became Head of Ceramics at the Sheridan School of Design in Oakville, Ontario. During a workshop on glassblowing, Robert discovered his true passion. He realized that the rich colours developed on canvas and the classic forms derived from the pottery could be intertwined into hot glass. This new form developed Canada's modern glass arts movement. Robert operated his studio, Robert Held Art Glass, in Vancouver until his semiretirement. He then moved to Parkville where he opened a much smaller shop with only 2 staff- he couldn’t leave glass- his love, all together.