We want to share our passion for glass and Ancient Greece with you. We hope it inspires, connects and finds a place in your world.
Iris Glass are a world-renowned glass art studio based in Athens, Greece. All pieces of glass on this site are unique and hand-crafted by one of our Iris Glass artisans. Each sliver and fragment placed by hand, with purpose, in order to create a work of beauty. When you purchase an Iris Glass creation you are buying a piece of art with heritage and real value.
Iris Glass has exhibited worldwide through gallery collections and art shops in Tokyo, London, Venice, Florence, Rome, Milan, Cannes, Palma, Mexico City, Montreal, Bucharest, Punta Cana, Sydney, Damascus, Lebanon, Qatar, Dubai and many more places.
We hope you can enjoy the variety and uniqueness of each piece, as they are the result of much effort and creative evolution. They are more than simple objects, they have a rich story.
The next chapter of the story is waiting to be written.
To find out a bit more about what drives our love for glass, please visit our Ethos Page.
The Iris Glass Workshop
Iris Glass is a family-run business, based in the heart of Athens in Greece, with connections to many of the Greek islands. The business was founded in 2000 by Athanasia Karakonstanti-Spyratou, who still leads the artistic direction and some of the production.
As well as the main workshop, we also run a retail outlet in the centre of Athens. The city of Athens provides continual inspiration for a lot of our work, it’s really quite a city. Greece as a whole has been struggling over recent years through a financial crisis, and also a crisis of identity. Through all of this, the people of Greece have tried to keep moving forward, to keep their heads high. Athens remains a vibrant metropolis with incredible cultural diversity. This eclectic city will remain the foundation upon which we build and create our hopes and dreams, and continue our own story.
Our specialization is the creation of artistic fused glass using a variety of techniques and forms. We also have a passion for the legends and history of Greece. We have tried to infuse each piece of work with a story and imbue it with soul and magic.
Working with glass is at times incredibly fulfilling, at other times unpredictable and challenging. Kiln temperatures can rise to 850 ºCelsius and the shattering of glass is a constant risk. The materials used are often expensive and difficult to handle, such as pure silver and gold. However, we believe the end results speak volumes, and we feel incredibly excited to offer our creations to you. Glass has an eternal beauty, hard to recreate with any other material.
Over the course of 15 years we have had the opportunity to work extensively with glass and build a wealth of experience into the nature of glass in its many states. Glass, though seemingly inert and unreactive, interacts with other materials, such as oxides and powders, in fascinating ways, producing a wide variety of effects.It can be a challenge to work with such a fragile and often dangerous medium, but the process is ultimately rewarding and incredibly satisfying.
The Iris Glass Team
Athanasia Karakonstanti-Spyratou (Owner)
Athanasia was born on the beautiful Greek island of Chios and later studied classical art and interior design at some of the great art schools of Greece. Chios and the Greek islands have remained a source of rich inspiration for Athanasia, as you can see with many of the collections on the site.
After finishing her studies Athanasia worked with several renowned painters such as Tsarouchis, Fassianos and Sperantzas at the centre of Ionic Studies. It was a chance to try her hand with various media and creative expression.
Athanasia’s artistic development progressed through classic painting, to engraving and glasswork. In 1998 she began creating her own unique series of artistic fused glass products and in 1999 she created the company Iris Glass, along with her son Takis. 15 years on, Athanasia is still finding new and subtle approaches and ways to work with glass.
As well as passion for glass, Athanasia is passionate about food, family and has a deep love for nature. The photos here are taken on the island of Chios with her grandson Brandon.
Takis Mattes (Lead Artist)
Takis Mattes initially learned the art of glass from his mother Athanasia. The love for glass and handcrafting has definitely been passed on.
Takis soon became a master craftsman in his own right, gaining 14 years of experience in the art of glass fusion. He spend a period in Spain, studying different glass techniques, quietly developing his own style. He brought home some new ideas and a variety of different approaches, injecting some fresh excitement and creativity into the Iris Glass portfolio.
No-one embodies hard work and dedication for glass like Takis. His hands-on approach has resulted in some fairly serious injuries in the workshop. On one occasion, several sheets of glass broke free resulting in a life threatening injury to his left leg. Even this has failed to quench his passion for glass and he continues to create amazing pieces of art and vibrant new styles.
As well as glass, Takis has a love for motorbikes and football. Ask any Athenian about football and they will happily share their passion for one of the two teams Olympiakos or Panathiniakos. It’s a rivalry that is almost as old as the city states themselves.
These photos show Takis in his natural environment, talking about glass and football in the Iris Glass workshop.
Ada Elliott (Project Management & Business Development)
Ada is the wandering traveller of the family, currently living in the UK, after spending several years in beautiful Ireland. Ada is responsible for spreading the Iris Glass passion worldwide. She is also our main language expert, being fluent in English, Greek and Romanian, with solid understanding of a few other languages thrown in as well.
Ada has a talent for building communities around a shared passion, so look out for her thoughts and discussions on our Facebook page, where she is very active. She is also incredibly passionate about music and singing, across a variety of genres from classical to celtic and gothic. A large part of her inspiration comes from the stories of ancient Greece and Briton. A fairly common occurrence is to hear back and forth discussion around some specific point of Greek mythology. Ultimately they are stories that we all love and cherish, but we also have no fear in embellishing and sprinkling in some creative license when it comes to the stories for our collections.
Ada has a deep love and respect for nature and the environment, passionately supporting several causes that are close to her heart. Like an elf she is never far from the deep, magical forest or clean, windswept coasts. She is most at home walking bare-footed on a warm, hazy beach with her son laughing and playing in the sand (don’t ask her to swim though).
Mathew Elliott (Website & Design)
At the age of 18, Matt realized his name was incorrectly spelt on his birth certificate. This threw up the larger question of whether he had simply been using the wrong name his entire life. Time did not stand still during this revelation, and the circle of life continued.
Matt is not a web designer, or a web developer, but any problems with this site should probably fall into his lap. It then becomes Matt’s job to blunder his way to a solution through luck and the wonders of Google. The holy trinity of doing something you love, are very good at and is a viable business has not quite been fully achieved.
Matt is also a wayward traveller and was probably a penniless, threadbare bard in a previous life. He has lived in London, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Dublin, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brighton and Henley. When it comes to locating ‘home’ this is probably the majestic and wild lands of Northern England (The Northern Kingdom), where rangers and travelling magicians still walk the land, holding onto ancient tales of dragons and lost gold. Matt has found a deep-seated joy living in the Northern Kingdom with his dear wife Ada and his incredible sons Brandon and Vincent.
The opportunity to work as part of the Iris Glass team and help to bring the beauty of glass art to a wider audience is definitely work worth doing.
Theo Synodinos (Web development & IT)
He is curious, and he enjoys projects that challenge him to learn something new and stretch his skills in a different direction. He does his best to stay on top of changes in the state of the art so that he can meet challenges with tools well suited to the job at hand.
At Iris Glass, he is responsible for building and maintaining the website, continuously researching new ways of improving its elements, so that it is always up to date and easy to use by our visitors.
More Iris Glass Info
The Iris Glass style is very distinctive, not only for the design and shapes used, but also for the intense colours and contrasts that take inspiration from the hot Greek sun and wild landscapes. Many pieces are inspired by the personalities and characters of ancient Greek mythology. Sometimes, a bit of artistic license is used when incorporating elements of Ancient Greek Mythology and stories. Our stories are not meant to be historically accurate, but rather add flavour and depth to everything we make. Ultimately we want to create objects that have a life of their own, something complex that we can pass on and share.
Some of the collections may seem a bit macho and warlike, such as the Troy collections. It would probably make sense to change them to something a little less aggressive and more marketable. However, we have avoided doing this in order to bring these pieces to you as they were created and intended. Many of the stories have been altered or changed completely once the piece has been bought and passed on to new hands. Ultimately its up to each of us to cultivate our own individual story and eventually to pass this on to those we love.
Athens, Greece, 2018