WOODSTONEGLASS design
703-641-9428
WOODSTONEGLASS design ® Falls Church,VA 22042     ...    All images and work (C) 1996-2016  Syl Mathis  All rights reserved
. . .  Artist Bio  . . . 

Current Residence: Falls Church, Virginia

Education; University of Maryland, College Park
                    Bachelors degree - Kinesiology
                    Masters degree - Bio Physics

Studio Artist -- Washington Glass School
                    2000 - Present

Work:
    Director; Voyageur Outdoor Education Program,     St. Albans School and The National Cathedral     School, Washington DC, 1981 - 2011

​    Instructor; National Outdoor Leadership School 

    Mountain Guide/Instructor; Earth Treks

Competitive Paddler - Canoe / Kayak: 1986 - 1996



. . .   Media   . . .​


CBS DC - Best Washington DC Artists to buy from this holiday season - 2012


. . .  Critical Comments​  . . .


"High marks go to Syl Mathis, whose uncluttered, canoe-shaped totems look back to older, even ancient, artmaking examples" - Kriston Capps, City Paper PICK  "Compelled by Content II" April 28, 2006
. . .  Awards  . . .

2015 - "Judges Choice Award" - Sculpture - Bethesda Fine Arts Festival

2013 - "Judges Choice Award" - Sculpture - Bethesda Fine Arts Festival

2010 - "Best in Show" - Bethesda Fine Arts Festival, Maryland

2008 - "Judges Choice Award" - Sculpture - Bethesda Fine Arts Festival

2004 - "TOP-TEN" - ARTOMATIC 2004, Washington, DC.

2000 - "TOP-TEN" - OPEN EXHIBITION 2000 - Neiman Marcus
            Juror - Virginia M. Mecklenburg, Senior Curator, National Museum
            of American Art
            Arts Council of Fairfax County, Bell Atlantic Gallery, Annandale, VA

            Equal Award - THE ARTS LEAGUE,
            Juried by Sherry Troum Trachtman, The Arts League Gallery, 
            Torpedo Factory, Alexandria, Virginia

1999 - The Anonymous Award for Glass - USA CRAFT TODAY 99
            Juried by Dr. Jeremy Adanson, Silvermine Guild Galleries,
            New Canaan, Connecticut

            Merit Award - Staunton Augusta Art Center 1999 Juried Regional
            Exhibit, Juried by James Miller, Staunton, Virginia

            Media Award - Glass, NATIONAL CRAFTS 1999,
​            Juried by Joanne Rapp, Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA

1998 - 1st prize - Crafts - OPEN EXHIBITION 1998,
            Juried by J. Carter Brown, Director Emeritus National Gallery of Art,
            Bell Atlantic Gallery, Annandale, Virginia.

            "Best In Show" Neiman Marcus Award - OPEN EXHIBITION 1998,
​            Arts Council of Fairfax County, Tysons Corner, Virginia

            The National Capital Art Glass Guild Award 1998 - 22nd Biennial
             Exhibition, "Geometry in Art", Strathmore Hall, Bethesda, Maryland


. . .  Artist Statement  . . . 

Boat Series Artist Statement (2003) - I have always loved boats. I grew up canoeing in the Everglades and fishing off our small power boat in the Keys. In high-school, I started whitewater kayaking on the Potomac river and was hooked for good. For more than forty years, paddling has had an influence in shaping who I am.

Seeing the world from a boat changes the way you look at things. Floating like a leaf with the current, you become aquatic, surrounded, immersed in water, a suspended particle. Water acts as a magnifier increasing your ability to see small details in the river rock, intensifying the rock's hues and elevating your respect for the water's power. Mixing with the whitewater, you learn to work with it rather than fight it, and whether floating among the ice, gliding across a lake, or sliding down the face of a wave - your soul becomes fluid.

For the past 22 years, I have taught paddling, as well as other adventure sports, as Director of the Voyageur Program at St. Albans School and the National Cathedral School. In 1996 I retired from competitive paddling, and found myself with more time to spend working with glass. All of the pieces in my BOAT SERIES are inspired by the shapes, colors, places and emotions that have not only made lasting impressions on me, but also drives my anticipation for the next adventure on the water in a boat.

top of page   |   home page     gallery page   |   info page

On Syl Mathis' Carved Glass - (2003)

Syl Mathis is the Director of the Voyageur Outdoor Education Program at The St. Albans School for Boys and The National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington, D.C. ( 1981-2011). His designs, which have received national awards, are influenced by the outdoor environments he uses as his classrooms. As a 1998 White House honoree for excellence in teaching, and a master craftsman, he brings to glass carving the most valuable elements of exploration for education, those of process and discovery

Every teacher knows the value of a good question. Questions engage, and the best questions do not beg single answers, but raise serious inquiry, offer new possibilities, as well as various approaches to understanding what human beings know about the world around them.

This glasswork reveals influences of a life widely traveled, and viewers will find not only beauty, mechanical precision and pragmatism, but also, an artist's way of questioning human assumptions about Nature and the natural surroundings that are the source of his inspiration and artistry.

His exploration of the solid form of glass reveals that it need not be hot-worked necessarily, or colorful to be creatively expressive. It is the detail in Nature clearly mirrored in the detail of glass work which allows each viewer to embark on  his own reflective journey; glass carving is a way of deciphering Nature's enigmas, while translating them into the craft of art.

Paradoxically, the medium allows him to work with glass' concrete quality while moving toward sublime, often abstract ideas inspired by Natures' own shapes and shadows; in the words of the artist, glass carving is his opportunity to show reality as "fluid; where nothing is fixed, and nothing is [only] what it appears to be."

​His imaginative and skillful use of design--designs which are combinations of man-made and natural forces--not only reflects a love of Nature which invites meditation and thoughtfulness, but also, eloquently highlights the beauty of Nature's own patterns with a precision that transcends the mere manipulation of tools or careful, mechanical dexterity.

As a professional educator, Syl Mathis is a firm believer in process, the process of creative expression and of learning; as such, each carving is both a piece of art and the first step in a journey that promises to deepen our perception of Nature. In these detailed designs, every teacher, learner or art lover will recognize and affirm his conviction "that the process of doing is [as important as] every part of the final, artistic piece."

Donna E. M. Denize', author, The Lover's Voice (1997) and  Broken Like Job (2005)

artifact #12 - 21"w x 6"h x 3.5"d; cast and deep carved amber glass on copper, carved slate and wood base - 2013
beneath the surface - 46"w x 16"h x 8"d - cast and cold worked amber glass with dichroic skin, cast and carved clear glass, oxidized steel and slate base.
"US glass artist Syl Mathis' artwork has me fall in love with both the glass and the method he displays the kilncast forms. He is very skilled in his metal and stone carving techniques and I love his sand carving of the glass figures." - posted by Betty Py, art critic, on WGS art blog in review of 2013 International Glass and Clay Exhibit.