Artist Statement
I have a sensual connection with glass. As a child, its etheral hues drew me in. As an adult, its spirit and complexity work their alchemy in my soul. When cold, design and structure challenge. When hot, the primitive call of fire, heat, sound and smell beckon. I must know it well to follow where it leads. I live with the forces and creatures of the hardwoods which surround me. My dreams bring water from the wellspring of the unconscious. Rocks and stones tell me their tales of old. I love to laugh. All these inspire my glass to tell the stories that are entrusted.



Elizabeth Ryland Mears is a full time, award winning, studio artist. She creates works in glass and mixed media using primarily the glassblowing technique of flamework.

After a successful career in flat glass and teaching those techniques in such places as the Smithsonian Institution and the Building Museum in Washington DC, she began flameworking in the early 1990’s. She intensively studied her new found technique at Penland School of Crafts, Pilchuck Glass School and the Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass. She was a scholarship student at the latter two and now teaches at Penland and was a teaching assistant at Pilchuck in 2001. She is currently writing a book on basic flameworking which is scheduled for publication in the spring of 2003.

Her glass creations can be divided into two main bodies of work: Limited Production and Sculpture. The Limited Production consists of goblets, candlesticks, stoppered bottles and Judaica items, such as, menorahs. The sculpture combines glass which has been flameworked with mixed media in wall and pedestal pieces. Whether created representationally or conceptually, all of the work reflects her strong connection with nature and cyclical time. Both bodies of work are presented by galleries throughout the nation and in Canada and are included in many private collections.

In the Fall of 2002 Mears recieved th Cohn Family Trust Prize for Excellence in Glass for the body of work she exhibited at the Philidelphia Art Museum Craft Show. Elizabeth has twice been awarded NICHE Awards for her goblet creations. In the juried exhibit “North American Glass 2002”, she received an award of second place for the “Standing Book: The Bone Woman Unfurling” which she created in collaboration with her daughter. Her work was selected by the Kentucky Arts and Crafts Foundation for exhibit in “Southern Women of Influence” and was also exhibited by the Hsinchu Museum of Taiwan in 2001. Her Botanical Series goblets and stoppered bottles were exhibited at the Botanical Museum of the Harvard Museum of Natural History in the summer of 2002, as well as, the 20th Anniversary Benefit, “Celebrating Craft”, of the Renwick Gallery, Washington DC. Her glass creations have been included in numerous exhibitions on the Art of Glass and the Art of Flameworked Glass.


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