Ryan Silva
Glass Forest
This project began as an homage to my grandfather. But, as it grew, it turned into more of a self-portrait. By turning broken beer and liquor bottles into forest-themed sculptures, I’ve tried to symbolize a transformation for those struggling through the trials of an addiction. These pieces were made as a reminder, to show how the beauty of nature can still be found within broken vessels.
Artist/Thesis Statement
This sculptural series, “Glass Forest”, resulted from a fascination I’ve always had with stained glass, as well as my personal relationship with addiction. The decision to create a nature-themed shrine with broken alcohol bottles was made for several reasons. In my view, these sculptures embody themes of transformation, decay, reverence, fragility, growth, and death through multiple references to fungi.
Fungi hold a massive amount of symbolic meaning. Even the alcohol that once filled these bottles was produced by fungi. They have the potential to poison us, heal us, feed us, and even consume us. ‘Magic mushrooms’ have historically been used in religious/spiritual ceremonies, and they’ve been studied medically to treat addiction disorders like alcoholism since the 1950’s (with shockingly effective results). Fungi are fundamental to the balance of nature, and we’ve evolved symbiotic attachments with them over millennia.
There’s a harmony in nature that societies often forget. Nature recycles everything, and it has the power to transform death into life. I have a deep reverence for nature, which is why I’ve made this shrine. It brings me peace to remember how generous nature can be, and I hope others can share that peace by viewing my work.

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