Richard Ryan graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Glass from Southern Illinois University in 2000. Rich also studied under Kait Rhodes, Walter Lieberman, Roger Parramore, Richard Jolley, Suellen Fowler, and Ellie Burke at Penland School of Crafts to further his skills and techniques. At the Corning Museum of Glass, William Guddenwrath was his professor.
After graduation, Rich continued practicing his skills by working under Alan Goldfarb and learning techniques in surface treatment. In 2002, Rich opened his studio, Vitreous Matter.
His work is one-of-a-kind, blown and sculpted glass. It is mostly focused on natural forms and structure. Bright colors are often used to give strong and positive statements.