Arlon Bayliss: 35 Years of Glass

Bayliss.Harrison sans text For at least the last two thousand years, glass blowing has occupied the hands of many an artisan, and while the means of production have changed very little over the centuries, innovation is alive and well within the medium…especially in the last thirty-five years. Enter Arlon Bayliss.

Bayliss grew up in central London and attended the Royal College of Art in the late seventies and early eighties. He explained, “This was during the throes of industrial revolution art education, and the very beginning of the studio glass movement. I was encouraged to think of myself as an artist who could work in ‘industry,’ and also have the hands-on freedom to make glass myself. All of this suited my gregarious nature, my desire to work as part of a team, and inspired the work I have produced these last thirty-five years.”

When asked about what initially drew him to the medium of glass, Bayliss replied, “It’s not an exaggeration to say that I fell in love with glass. Initially, I fell in love with its fluidity when hot, and its shimmering seductive surfaces. Later, as I gained more knowledge, I wondered how versatile it could be. It can be cut and polished like a gem, or poured and stretched like toffee.”


This month, thirty-five years after he received his degree from the Royal College of Art, Bayliss will show his very first retrospective in Gallery No. 2 at the Harrison Center. “My first retrospective seems to have arrived sooner than I had anticipated! It does not seem like it has been thirty-five years.”

Gracing us with three and a half decades of innovative glasswork, Bayliss’s retrospective show will take us on a journey through the capabilities of one man’s hands in subduing the elements that so often subdue us. We will see pieces of work that have been fashioned, quite literally, by the breath of Bayliss until they seem to be alive as well, breathing on their own.

“Naturally, this retrospective is about looking backwards, but curiously, it encourages me to look forward, too. I am excited about further exploring glass engraving for a gallery show, doing more architectural glass projects, and deepening my role as designer for Blenko Glass. Most of all, I can’t wait to get back to my studio; fueled by my gratitude for partnerships and opportunities past, and compelled by the promise of new work to come.”

Arlon Bayliss’s first retrospective opens this Friday, September 5 at 6:00pm.