Artist Interview: Pat Ryan

Posted by Jenni Kirby - February 02 2021



Similar to the feeling of a wave breaking on the shore or light passing through stained glass, Pat Ryan aspires to create glass pieces that evoke emotion. “I love the way light interacts with glass and try to achieve an interesting reaction with the colors.”


Pat recalls his initial interest in glass, as a form of art, sparked by stained glass in churches. While Pat always admired glass works, now that he is semi-retired he can devote more time to developing his practice. “I took a class at The Glass Spot in downtown Richmond and enjoyed it so much that I just kept doing it.” Pat now maintains a studio at The Glass Spot, creating new glass pieces weekly.


“Glass is hands on, like carving wood, and the process can take years to master.” Pat says you have to take the time to learn the mechanics before you can achieve the creative side. “Glass blowing requires being creative and mechanical, I enjoy both of those parts.”


When brainstorming new glass concepts, Pat will think about shapes and colors first. “You can think how you want a piece to look, but it will turn out different. It’s exciting to go in the next day to see how it turned out, because the colors will be different.” Moving quickly is key in Pat’s glass making process, as you can only reheat glass so many times before it’s set. “It’s hard but it’s fun.”


Pat says this year he is planning to focus on bowls, cups, and experimenting with wine glasses. No matter what you work on, Pat says the key is to “push your boundaries, and don’t be afraid to try something new.”