|Training||University of Wisconsin, Madison, MFA, The Ohio State University, BFA|
Ries was born in Columbus, Ohio and grew up on a farm. He attended The Ohio State University, where he earned a BFA in glass and ceramics. He later went on to earn an MFA while serving as an assistant to Harvey Littleton, a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, who is responsible for founding the modern American studio glass movement.
After experimenting with glassblowing, Ries began working in the classical reductive technique, beginning with a large block of optical glass and reducing and shaping it to the desired form. His larger sculptures can begin as blocks of glass weighing over 4,000 pounds, and the process of reducing and polishing can take as much as a year.
His piece Opus, displayed in Port Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, is the world's largest monolithic glass sculpture. It weighs nearly 1,500 pounds and was sculpted from a 3,000 pound block of glass.
Ries's sculptures are noted for the changing internal optical patterns he creates and for their technical proficiency. The glass he uses is clear lead-crystal cast, of the sort typically used for fiber-optic cables. This glass is among the best transmitters of the visible portion of the spectrum, and that fact accounts for the optical illusions Ries is able to create.
His works have won several awards and are exhibited in major collections and museums in the United States, Europe, and Japan, including the Corning Museum of Glass, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the National Heisey Glass Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Tampa Museum of Art.
Since 1986, he has been artist-in-residence at Schott Glass Technologies in Duryea, Pennsylvania. He lives with his four children Banks, Chase, Catherine, and Caroline and his wife Colleen in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania.
Awards and Honors
Ries has received various awards and honors throughout his career:
- 1990 Ohioana Citation for Distinguished Service to Ohio in the Field of Art
- 1978-79 Aid to Individual Artists Fellowship, Ohio Arts Council
- 1974-75 Leo Yassenoff Scholarship
- New Mexico
- Wilford Gallery, Santa Fe
- Briggs, Richard. "Windows to a View: The Work of Glass Sculptor Christopher Ries," WVIA-TV, Northeastern Pennsylvania Public Television, Scranton, PA (November 1993).
- Kapelke, Steven. "Focus: Christopher Ries," American Craft (December 1996/January 1997).
- Paine, Janice T. "Clearly Inspired: Contemporary Glass and its Origins," American Craft (October/November 1999).
- Waggoner, Shawn. "The Fourth Dimension: The Art Glass of Christopher Ries," Glass Art (November/December 1996).