Jacksonville Center for the Arts “Rhythms of Glass”

glass in virginia
Rhythms of Glass opens May 30 and is on exhibit thru July 25, 2015.

Focusing solely on glass as a medium for creativity, “Rhythms of Glass” feature artists working in the style of stained, fused, cast, blown, and flame-worked glass within the Virginia or the National Capital region. Recognized as a Master Artist in the state of Virginia in 2009, Liz Mears is the curator of the show.

Opening reception on Saturday, May 30. 

The Jacksonville Center for the Arts
220 Parkway Lane South, Suite 1
Floyd, VA 24091

Craft of Music at Katzen Arts Center

The Craft of Music will take place at the Katzen Arts Center of American University from noon - 5:00 on Feb 7.

The Craft of Music at the Katzen Arts Center of American University from noon – 5:00 on Feb 7.

An exciting, engaging, and unique program, The Craft of Music (From Bach to Bluegrass:  Stringed Instruments and the Music They Make) will take place at the Katzen Arts Center of American University on February 7th from 12:00-5:00 PM.  You do not want to miss this one. The four part program includes:  displays of contemporary and nontraditional instruments, a panel discussion on the craft of making stringed instruments and then two musical performances of stringed instruments. 

The doors of the Center will open at 12:00 noon to allow visitors to peruse the displays of contemporary instruments presented by panelists and the exhibit of nontraditional instruments curated by Jennifer Lindsay (there will be demos with some of those being played!).

The panel discussion will begin at 1:00 PM.  The notable panel members include:  Dick Boak from Martin Guitar, Jim Warwick a Luthier, Wayne Lanham a member of the Bill Emerson Band, Bran Dillard owner of Picker’s Supply, and Fred Oster of Oster Violins and the Antique Road Show.  Luthier, Mike Mears will moderate.  There will be plenty of time for Q & A, so come with your questions about instrument making.

After a break, Arcovoce with Amuse will perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #6.  Arcovoce is led by Nina Falk who studied at Juilliard and Oberlin, received a Fulbright to study in Europe, has performed with the National Symphony and the Paris Symphony and was described by the Washington Post as “one of Washington’s finest musicians”.  Other members of the ensemble are equally notable.

The classical performance will be followed by a performance by the Bill Emerson Bluegrass Band, Sweet Dixie.  Award winning Emerson is founder of the world famous Country Gentlemen, founder of US Navy Band Bluegrass Ensemble, Country Current, and he has recorded and played with more bands than any other banjo player.  Each musician in the band has had a notable career.

During the afternoon there will be plenty of time to talk with panelists and musicians, to browse the instrument displays, purchase CD’s from the artists and refreshments from the café of the Katzen Center.

Come join the group for an exciting afternoon.  Let your friends know and get your tickets early for this unique program by logging onto the JRA website:  www.jra.org/events/craft-music.  Seating is limited.

A Bit of A Tease


Next month, the LongView Gallery will present : “Artists of the Washington Glass School – The First Ten Years“. In bringing The First Ten Years to Washington, DC, LongView Gallery asks artists and audience alike to cast aside traditional notions of glass art and participate in a new form of dialogue; one that looks to the future and not the past. This exhibition is still in the process of being curated by the gallery, but one of the works submitted is so amazing, below is a sneak peak of the show.

Elizabeth Ryland Mears and William “Tex” Forrest have created a collaborative sculpture piece. The illuminated work is over 6′ tall, made of flameworked glass, steel wire & fabric.

Liz Mears & Tex Forrest’ design sketch

Full-size sample

Liz & Tex at the glass school for a photo shoot of the finished sculpture

Elizabeth Mears shows the tactile detail of the glass….”embellishments”

The finished work – photography by Anything Photographic.
Detail of the lampworked glass

The First Ten Years is intended to celebrate – and instigate– the new directions contemporary glass is exploring through various artistic metaphors. Featured artists include: Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Erwin Timmers, Elizabeth Mears, Syl Mathis, Lea Topping, Robert Kincheloe and others.

Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years

LongView Gallery

1234 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC
May 19 – June 19,2011

Artist Reception, May 19th, 6:30-8:30 PM

Glass Sparks: Elizabeth Ryland Mears


Elizabeth Ryland Mears is an amazing, award winning, studio glass artist that is a master with flameworked glass. Flameworking is a technique of working with hot glass. Rods or tubes of glass are held in the flame of a bench torch where the glass is softened and then shaped by sculpting and/or blowing. The forms created are limited only by the artist’s creativity and skill, in addition to gravity and the sizes of the bench torch and annealing kiln.

Elizabeth has studied and taught lampworking techniques at Penland School of Crafts, Pilchuck Glass School, The Studio of Corning Museum of Glass, and has been involved with the Washington Glass School for many years. Her instructional book of borosilicate glass techniques Flameworking, was published in 2003 by LARK Books.

The creative work of Elizabeth Mears incorporates several different series; each one relates to and informs the others. In her Artist Statement, Elizabeth informs the viewers of her work that she ”uses the lexicon of Nature images to portray her relationship to her inner and outer worlds”. Her “Bundle of Twigs” series clearly expresses this theme, as does her “Basket” series.

Elizabeth Mears Basket of Past Dreams and Future Fears
Each bundle represents some aspect of her inner world or the outer world, as she relates to it. Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers also speaks of this relationship, “The seat of the soul is there where the inner and outer worlds meet”.

In her “Shelter” series the glass structure of the shelters serve as the protective shell for the work of her inner journey. Each shelter has a different theme.

Elizabeth Mears Shelter For Endings That Beget Beginnings

One such shelter created at a time of transition in Elizabeth’s creative life is entitled, “Shelter for Endings That Beget Beginnings”. The inner objects of this shelter are composed of hollow blown egg shapes which contain the charred remains of cedar wood shavings collected at Pilchuck Glass School from the 30th Anniversary Totem carved while she was at the summer session. The egg shapes can represent new life, and the charred remains, the death of the old life. Liz has commented that her time away at Pilchuck was instrumental in her personal transformation.

In 2002 Liz began a series, which started as a collaboration with her daughter L. Lindsey Mears, a maker of artist books and prints. Elizabeth created the glass sculpture, which later became “books” with her daugher providing the content through her photographs and poetry. Elizabeth is now the sole creator of the glass books, which contain the poetry that she writes. The photographic images chosen are symbols, which represent the experience of her poetry.

Elizabeth Mears Breath

A later series began after the death of Elizabeth’s mother in 2006. One day after that death Mears learned that her mother had been adopted as a newborn. She had never shared with any of her four children this secret she carried and no information exists about her birth family. Soon after this revelation, Liz learned many other family secrets, which prompted a continuing series of glass and mixed media pieces dealing with various aspects of the secrets we each consign to the dark recesses of our lives. In the process of making these pieces and contemplating secrets as a universal theme, Elizabeth looks at how the secrets of life often bind us together more than the parts of our lives which are shared openly. According to Campbell, “…the experience of eternity right here and now, in all things, whether thought of as good or as evil, is the function of life”.

Elizabeth Mears Secrets They Sprout Up and Burst

Liz felt a strong connection to the comment by Joseph Campbell, “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you”. She was struck by the similarity to a statement she has included in her own writings for many years.

In 2008, Mears was asked by LARK Books to be one of ten master artists to write a chapter for the book, The Penland Book of Glass. In her chapter, Elizabeth writes the following about her personal philosophy of living a creative life, “I am a proponent of the philosophy that when we are born, we come to Earth with a personality and a set of gifts, propensities, and abilities. If we pay attention to them, they lead us along a path to fulfillment. When those things we feel passionate about energize us, energy flows out and then returns to us, altered in some form by its journey. This energy creates a positive dynamic in all directions, reaching and influencing an ever enlarging circle”.

Through making her glass objects and meeting other makers and lovers of glass and sculpture, poetry and photography, the circle of energy continues to grow, and, as Campbell says, “doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be”.

Elizabeth Mears and Robert Kinchloe review glass projects at Washington Glass School.

Elizabeth will be one of the featured artists at Longview Gallery ‘s exhibition in honor of Washington Glass School’s 10 year anniversary. Click HERE to jump to Elizabeth Mears website.

Smithsonian Resident Associates Tour Glass Studios


A Day of GlassAll-Day Tour – Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Smithsonian Institution has a Resident Associate Program (RAP)—offering opportunities for education, fun, and community to the Washington, D.C., area. The RAP presents about 750 programs each year, including lectures, seminars and study tours.
The most recent offering includes a tour of work and the studios of some area leading glass artists.
From the Smithsonian RAP website:
A rare opportunity to visit glass artists at work and at home. These local artists will give us demonstrations, invite us to view their art, and explain how they use techniques that run the gamut from ancient to 21st century.
Begin at the home/studio of Eric Markow and Thom Norris as see how they bring their disciplines to their complex, enigmatic woven glass sculptures.

Next, visit St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Springfield to meet artists Jimmy Powers and Lisa Osgood Dano.
Powers, a stained glass artist who has lectured and demonstrated at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery and American Art Museum, will discuss how he created a newly installed stained glass window in the church and, with Elizabeth Ryland Mears, 48 other stained glass panels there. Dano combines the ancient art of mosaics with contemporary methods and materials to achieve a balance of texture and movement.
We will also visit St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Burke, where Mears designed the stained glass windows in the sanctuary and

Conclude the day at Mears’ home/studio, where she will demonstrate the workings of the bench torch by creating a small, solid sculpture in clear glass. The group will have an opportunity to enjoy her glass-filled home, which showcases her work and that of other artists.

A three-course lunch is included. This tour is led by museum education consultant Sheila Pinsker.

Saturday, January 22, 2011, 8:15 a.m. to 7 p.m. by bus from the Holiday Inn Capitol at 550 C St., S.W. (corner of 6th & C Sts.)

Click HERE to jump to the Smithsonian RAP glass tour site.

Elizabeth Ryland Mears


Elizabeth Mears is an award winning artist who creates objects in glass and mixed media primarily through the glass blowing technique of Flamework. She studied at Penland School of Crafts, Pilchuck Glass School, and the Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, receiving scholarships and eventually teaching at those same venues, as well as others. Her book, FLAMEWORKING, was published in 2003 by Lark Books, and she is a contributing author to PENLAND BOOK OF GLASS published in 2008 by Lark Books. In 2009 Mears was named a Master Artist for the state of Virginia, and she was one of four artists chosen to install work in the Capitol Hill office of Senator Mark Warner to represent the arts in Virginia
Living in northern Virginia, she is inspired by nature in all seasons and forms.

Liz utilizes the forms of nature to create works of glass, which reflect her relationship to both her inner and her outer worlds. The glass is first worked in the mesmerizing flame of a bench torch then often is combined with other materials to become the exquisitely crafted and nationally exhibited objects for which she is known. Liz’s creations are represented by galleries throughout the nation and are included in numerous private, corporate (Mellon Bank Headquarters), and museum collections (Racine Art Museum, LOWE Museum) and have also been included in numerous magazine articles focused on contemporary glass art and books including: Women Working in Glass, Formed of Fire, 500 Glass Objects, Contemporary Lampworking, and Etched Glass.

Liz will be teaching two spectacular lampworking classes here at the Washington Glass School, where her love of nature and glass come together!

Class 1036 – Lets Make Leaves! with Elizabeth Ryland Mears
Why leaves you may ask. We will pay homage to Nature’s small factory (Bio 101…CO2 + chlorophyll, + sunshine = sugar and O2) while we learn to control the bench torch, manipulate hot glass, direct the heat, use tools to create shape and texture, and work with different sizes of clear rod and tube. The focus of our endeavors will be to make “parts” which can be incorporated into larger sculpture at a later time.
Dates: October 23/24, 10am til 1 pm, $350

Class 1037 – Building Flowers With Bridges! with Elizabeth Ryland Mears
“Bridges” are to Flameworking what exoskeletons are to beetles…they hold everything together. We will use the technique of “bridging” to make a daisy-like flower. We will make the flower then add the bridging to hold all the parts in place while we thoroughly fuse the glass together in the flame of the bench torch. This technique is invaluable when larger sculpture is created, so we will practice on a smaller object. The instructor will guide you step by step through the process. The bridging is temporary so will be removed to reveal a small object ready for further creative use.
Dates: November 06/07, 10am til 1 pm, $350

Click HERE to get more information about her classes at the Washington Glass School.

Liz will be teaching for a week next spring at Penland and a week at the Pittsburgh Glass Center in June 2011, and had just completed a Professional Artist in Residence (PAiR) at Pilchuck.

WGS at Pilchuck

>Our Elizabeth Ryland Mears and Robert Kincheloe are off setting up a residency at the famed west coast glass school Pilchuck.

The Professional Artists in Residency (PAIR) offered at Pilchuck Glass School is a time for professional artists to come together and share information, expand a current series, or design a new one, to network and use the facilities that Pilchuck has to offer for an intense week of discussions, critiquing, and networking. There are no instructors as such, so each artist is responsible for designing his/her own program for the week within the structure of the larger schedule…in essence every participant is both a student and an instructor, so ideally each will be engaged in both teaching and learning.

Washington Glass School’s Elizabeth Mears has organized this years program for the residency and has given us a look at the schedule:

Janis Miltenberger will be with the flamework group and will lead a discussion and demo of her approach to flameworking. Rob Kincheloe will give a presentation on the boro glass casting process that he is developing – and he will have some samples for experimentation. Kathleen Elliott will give a presentation on the John Burton Program as an example of one of the possibilities of how we can continue to grow as artists.

We look forward to their updates!

Pilchuck’s beautiful wooded campus – about 50 miles north of Seattle overlooking Puget Sound.

Daily Art Muse on Elizabeth Ryland Mears


Large Bundle of Twigs with Knitted Copper Wrap Detail

Glass, Flameworked, Sandblasted, Waxed Linen, Lusters, Copper, Steel
6″h x 26″w x 5″d

The Daily Art Muse blog most recent posting focuses on our own flameworker extraordinaire Elizabeth Mears.
Says Susan Lomuto about Liz’ work “When I found Elizabeth Ryland Mears’ flameworked glass twig bundles and sculptures they resonated with a place deep inside. And so timely, my discovery of Mears’ work. For the last two weeks I have been gathering and collecting bits and pieces of tree branches, bark, pebbles – thinking about how these fragments are as beautiful as the whole. . .”

The Great Wandering

The blog article continues with some of the collaborative work that Liz creates with her daughter L Lindsey Mears. Lindsey is an an artist in her own right creating art books, prints, and assemblages.

Click HERE to jump to the Daily Art Muse blog posting.

Liz Mears at BAGI Auction

>Elizabeth Ryland Mears is one of the Glass School’s favorite flameworkers. Working from her studio in the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA, Liz creates some of the most beautiful, evocative and lyrical sculptures.

Building upon a successful career in flat glass, which included teaching techniques in such places as the Smithsonian Institution, Liz began to focus exclusively on flameworking in 1993. She works with clear borosilicate glass and incorporates colored glass either as surface treatment or color inclusions. In addition, she utilizes sandblasting, kiln fired surface paints, and gold leaf to create depth in her pieces, which range from large sculptures to functional items.
Liz is part of the Illinois Wesleyen University exhibition of glass art “A Survey of Contemporary Flameworking 2010,” which features artwork by 17 artists from around the world, which runs through Feb. 4, 2010.

Liz Mears’ artwork will also be part of California’s Bay Area Glass Institute (BAGI) auction, along with Mark Abildgaard, Larry Cazes, Paul Cunningham, John De Wit, Kathleen Elliot, Rudy Faulkner, Shaun Griffiths, Martin Janecky, Michael Janis, Susan Longini, Chris Moore, Mark Murai, Jay Musler, Jeff Owen, David Patchen, Marc Petrovic, Sabrina Knowles and Jenny Pohlman, Deva Priya, Richard Royal, Ethan Stern, Toland Sand, Chuck Savoie, Jon Scally, Jonathon Schmuck, Hiroshi Yamano and more.

The Bay Area Glass Institute’s (BAGI) Ninth Annual 2010 Great Glass Auction, will be held on Saturday, February 6, 2010 from 5:30-10:00 p.m., at the Fourth Street Summit Ballroom, in San Jose, California.The BAGI Annual Benefit supports emerging glass artists, students and public glass art education

Bay Area Glass Institute
401 East Taylor St, Suite 115, San Jose, CA 95112

PREVIEW: Friday, February 5, 2010 / 6:00-9:00 pm
Fourth Street Summit Ballroom, San Jose, CA
AUCTION: Saturday, February 6, 2010 | 5:30-10:00 pm

A highlight of the Auction evening will be the announcement of the prestigious Saxe Fellowship Award for outstanding craftsmanship and achievement in glass chosen in a juried competition.
The Saxe Fellowship jurors this year are: Maureen Littleton, director of the Washington D.C’s Maurine Littleton Gallery; Micaela Van Zwoll, founder and director of the San Francisco-based Micaela Gallery; and, world renowned collector Dorothy Saxe of San Francisco, CA.

For more info about the BAGI Auction, click HERE.

Click HERE for the Bay Area Glass Institute website.