Edmond Byrne

Surrey, United Kingdom

Glass artist Edmond Byrne was born in 1977 in Dublin, Ireland. Byrne graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in craft design from the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin in 2000. In 1999, he completed an apprenticeship as a glassblowing assistant with Chihuly Inc.—founded by American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly (born 1941) in Seattle—during which time Byrne contributed to projects such as the glass chandelier for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Byrne obtained his Master’s degree in glass from the Royal College of Art in London in 2010. That same year, he moved his glass studio—which was originally founded in Dublin in 2002—to Surrey in southeastern England, where it remains today.

Byrne’s technique—inspired in part by the work of 1970’s glass blower Geoffrey Baxter—involves blowing glass into handmade molds. He first sketches his concepts on paper and then constructs the molds based on these abstract drawings. He lines the molds with various mediums, including clay, fabric, plaster, and metal. In this way, he is able to achieve weathered patinas and amorphous, rippled exteriors. Each mold is only used once, making every piece unique. Byrne’s collections include hand-blown and one-of-a-kind glass cylinders, bowls, and jars.

Much of Byrne’s work addresses the themes of human emotion and the body. According to the artist, “I’m interested in how our minds interpret emotions—a combination of culture and memory which converge from different areas of the mind. Through the exploration of color, texture, and form, I make glass vessels [that] induce an emotional response in each viewer. In a way they are manifestations of emotions.”

In this vein, the artist’s exhibition Making Sense – Craft and the Mind at London’s Flow Gallery (2010-2011) utilized brain scans to explore the emotional processes of the brain. From this, Byrne created a series of vessels designed to induce specific emotions in the audience, based on the research of Dr. Paolo Fusar-Poli from London’s Kings College. In another series, Emotion Landscape (2014), Byrne juxtaposed various sized vessels inside each other for an amalgamation of glass textures, representing the illusive spaces from which certain emotions arise in one’s mind.

Other past exhibitions include: Solo Show at The New Craftsmen in London (2016), SOFA at Flow Gallery (Chicago, 2012 and 2013), Engaging with Glass at William Traver Gallery, (Tacoma, USA, 2012), and Organic Geometry at The National Craft Gallery (Kilkenny, Ireland, 2009), among many others. His work is included in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Ireland and several private collections, including that of collector and curator Sarah Griffin. Byrne is also the recipient of numerous honors, including multiple grants from the Crafts Council of Ireland, research funding from the University for the Creative Arts, a Pilchuck Partner Scholarship (2009), as well as the Dan Klein Memorial Award (2011). In addition to his own artistic work, Byrne also has teaching experience in Irish and UK universities, including the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, England.