Glass is the quintessential medium that has allowed light to be gathered, focused, filtered,
refracted, absorbed, transmitted and amplified, thus allowing secrets in unseen worlds to
be revealed.

Christopher Ries

Christopher Ries

Christopher Ries grew up on a farm in Ohio and earned a Bachelor of Fine Art at Ohio State University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. As an undergraduate at Ohio State he founded the glass department and was its first instructor. While in Madison, he served as research assistant to the founder of the American studio glass movement, Harvey Littleton, and also ran a glass blowing studio for two summers at Mineral Point, WI.

After graduate school, Ries opened a studio in Columbus, OH where he developed his cold-working skills and an understanding of optics. His exploration of new skills and concepts—and end goal of finding the ultimate glass sculpting material—led him to Scott Optical in Duryea, PA, a leading maker of high-quality optical glass for a variety of applications. Ries embarked on a multi-year process of experimentation in his Columbus studio with various glass types from Schott and, by 1986, earned the respect of the company’s president, Dr. Frank Herkt, who offered Ries studio space at their Pennsylvania factory. Ries has been an independent contractor and Artist-in-Residence there ever since.

Ries found his true artistic direction working with clear, optical glass. Rather than the more typical approaches of blowing or lamination, he utilizes a reductive sculptural mode, starting each piece with a block of solid optical glass and shaping it to his desired form. Exacting perfectionism is reflected, quite literally, in his finished works, which are characterized by their technical prowess and mesmerizing optical patterns. Ries’ work has been exhibited internationally and is part of numerous public collections including the Cincinnati Museum of Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, the National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, and the Toledo Museum of Art.

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