Paul Joseph Stankard - The person who put art in glass paper weight

A glass paper weight fascinates everyone. One wonders how do the beautiful colors go in or how is it created. About a couple of decades back, without Google Search, it was even more mysterious. Fascinating process, how colors are infused.  

Thinking of glass paper weights, just one name comes to mind. Paul Joseph Stankard. Never heard of him, well check this out. His glass paper weights sell for thousands of dollars. His paper weights are displayed in every major art museum in the world. He is also known as the father of modern glass paperweights.

Honeybees Swarming a Floral Hive Cluster displayed at the
Corning Museum of Glass
Photo Credit : Wikipedia
When people saw glass work by Paul Stankard, they thought that he has found a way to encapsulate real flowers inside glass. His art work is characterized by hundreds of tiny pieces glass made into flowers. At the base of the flowers is people in various acts of passion, also called as root people. The art work is beautiful and mesmerizing. 

Paul Stankard was born on 7th April 1943. In his school days, he faced difficulty learning because he was suffering from dyslexia. It became difficult for him to learn and compete with other students. With a world and education system still unaware of this medical condition and how to make students understand, school was mostly a struggle for Paul. He was at the bottom at the class as far as grades are concerned. 

With the aim of securing a job, he decided to join a Vocational Technical Institute to learn a trade work. He worked as a glass blower for ten years making scientific instruments. In 1967 he worked under Francis Whittemore where he started getting early inspiration. By 1969 he started experimenting with paper weights. 

His began working both as a regular job in daytime and continued working in his garage making artistic paper weights. He began displaying his art work in exhibitions and was noticed by a reputed art dealer. He encouraged Paul Stankard to become a full time artist and make decorative glass paper weights. He also supported Paul financially. 

Paul always believed in his creative side. He drew inspiration from flowers which he used to pick as a child from the forest with his mother. Each flower is a piece of glass, minute and meticulously made. The flowers are rich and bright in color. Paper weights in those days were made as mass produced stationary items. No one thought about beautifying it. Paper weights had some designs, but they were more abstract and made to just resemble. Once Paul started making them, people thought that he had placed real flowers inside glass. The glass flowers looked so real. Each piece of glass is a work of art and labor of love. His art pieces are displayed in many museums. He still works on glass and has no plans of retiring soon.