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Biography: Tom Ryder

Tom Ryder
Tom Ryder

With a focus on light, most of Tom Ryder’s sculptural works are visualizations of energy, from energy in-between people to energy on a much larger scale. He first found this inspiration in the properties of glass after watching a glassblowing class at Alfred University while still a student. “When I was a freshman in college, my ideas all began to have light inside of them—an inner light, an inner glow,” said Ryder. “I was so interested in the process and ability of glass to have that light so I decided to take a class.”

Having earned a degree in ceramics from Alfred University, Ryder has been blowing glass since 2006. Although he utilizes traditional glassblowing techniques, he is drawn to glass by the limitless possibilities of the material and enjoys pushing the technical boundaries of the art. Inspired by artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Bertil Vallien, Anish Kapoor, and Olafur Eliasson, his work tends to remain contemporary and eclectic in style as well as functional in design. In 2009, Ryder joined the team at The Corning Museum of Glass where he traveled extensively with the Hot Glass at Sea Program and other outreach engagements. Through a partnership between The Corning Museum of Glass, Vitra, and Domaine de Boisbuchet, Ryder instructed a ceramics and glass class in Lessac, France.

What the Museum has meant to Ryder has changed over the time he has worked here. “When I first got here to the Museum, I was just happy I had a job where I could blow glass, but it evolved to being so much more—to opening people’s eyes to the possibilities of glass,” said Ryder. “I’m part of this thing that people are going to remember forever.”