Tanya Lyons graduated with honours from the Sheridan College glass program. She also studied at the University of Art and Design Helsinki, Finland, The Atlin Art Centre in BC, and the Toyama Institute of Glass Art in Japan. She taught glass at Sheridan College for four years, was a resident at the Harbourfront Centre as well as volunteering on the Board of Directors for the Glass Art Association of Canada.
After 14 years in Quebec, Tanya has moved back to her hometown community to raise her daughter and continue her sculptural work with glass. Reflecting her passion for helping people find their way, she continues to teach in the glass program at the Haliburton School of Art and Design. She is a Co-Coordinator of the Madawaska Valley Studio Tour and a volunteer artist with the Ottawa Valley Community Arts. Tanya has always been a gatherer, collecting and taking in, objects, moments and memories. She uses clear glass in combination with natural and found objects to express and reflect her experiences, thoughts and questions about the world we live in and who we are. Her work has been exhibited internationally which she has received a number of awards and grants for.
I have always been a gatherer, collecting and taking in, objects, moments and memories. As I move through life I take traces with me, from the places I walk and the people I meet.
When I unexpectedly entered into glass I discovered a material that had a life of its own, rich with qualities and full of endless possibilities to reflect life. I fell in love with clear glass and the strength it held. I started to combine glass with natural objects to reflect moments and emotions. I used glass as a carrier or shell, placing natural objects within to add colour, texture and a sense of familiarity.
I started making life size glass dresses to express the idea of changing how you feel as simply as changing your clothes. Thinking about how different clothing can affect how we feel.
As a continuation in this concept and theme of clothing, I decided to reflect back on my time of living in Japan and make metal mesh and glass Kimono’s that hang on the wall. Japanese have traditionally used their Kimono’s to express different aspects about the wearer. I found this idea very interesting as well as being drawn to the simple but very striking form. The Kimono has been worn traditionally and in the day to day for a very long time giving a great history and tradition to the form as well as making them a perfect canvas to express thoughts and conceptual landscapes.
This work as well as new work that I have been developing expresses moments in time, escapism and change. Questioning our identity and the rolls we play in society. Creating pieces that trigger thoughts and raise questions about what is really important for quality of life. After living away for most of my life, I have returned to the Ottawa Valley, to the rocks, trees and water, to a place that heals and inspires. Bringing natural elements back into my work and drawing importance to the environment that surrounds and supports us.
Tanya Lyons is represented by Sandra Ainsley Gallery, located in Toronto, the leading contemporary glass art gallery in Canada.