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.
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.
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 1990s. 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.
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.
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.