Ed Branson, born in North Carolina, lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and two children. He attended two of the country's leading glass schools, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine and the Pilchuck School of Glass in Washinton State. He has worked as a glass artist since 1981. Before starting his own studio, he was an apprentice to glass artist, Josh Simpson. Branson has renovated an old apple barn into a studio where he designs and creates glass using traditional techniques and tools. He has been selling glass since 1984 . He describes his work as, "exploring the innate relationship between the nature of glass and the organic forms and colors of our environment."
Branson's work focuses on the creative glassblowing process. While trained and experienced in a variety of traditional glassblowing techniques, he chooses to stretch his knowledge and experiment as he explores the nature of the glass. His curiosity and inventiveness have led him to discover many new techniques that he incorporates in his pieces, whether he is working with opaque, transparent, ladled, or blown glass. Brason explains, "In my work I try to combine the most precise glassblowing skills with the freedom of motion of hot liquid glass, which I achieve by dipping, dripping, and pouring the glass."
His pieces capture the beauty, color and form of the medium, but also some of what he considers the 'magic' of glassblowing. Branson comments, "I'm not trying to create new forms and colors as much as I'm trying to discover them. Mastering glass is in understanding it, not controlling it."
Working alone, Branson creates one of a kind vessels that have the sense of movement associated with glass in its molten state, creating elegant, fluid shapes. Most of his pieces are executed in a single transparent color, which is then cased over with clear crystal for added depth and brilliance. By manipulating the glass while it is hot, he is able to create graceful, organic shapes that mirror natural forms.
Branson’s exciting new Tropical series are tall, sensual forms in brilliant tropical colors, suggesting giant rainforest flowers. The Tropical pieces differ from the artist’s other work in that they are opaque glass featuring unique color combinations. Tendrils that run from top to bottom distinguish his Vines vases and perfume vials. His largescale Arbor Series of vases and bowls suggest stately trees, with their massive roots executed in clear crystal. His limited River Vessel series features one continuous ribbon of glass wrapped around a blown vessel form.
In 1992 his work was one of 100 selected from thousands of international entries for inclusion in the prestigious New Glass Review XIII, published by the Corning Museum of Glass. His work is included in numerous collections, including those of Mrs. Anwar Sadat and Scotland’s Holyrood Palace and has been shown in major galleries, museums and juried exhibitions throughout the United States.