Paul J. Stankard: Paperweights

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Paul J. Stankard, of Mantua, New Jersey, is world renowned for his mastery and innovative work in contemporary glass. Stankard's artistry is based on the traditional glass paperweight, a decorative art form that was popularized in the mid-1800's in Europe for both its beauty and function.

Stankard has been working with glass for over 40 years. He began as an industrial glass fabricator where he mastered a wide variety of technical skills. In his free time, he began to experiment with the technique known as flameworking-where small, thin, colored glass rods are heated by a flame, melted or made pliable, and finally shaped into a desired form.

By 1969, Stankard had perfected the flameworking technique and inspired by his intense interest in nature, he began to create paperweights-a format that enabled him to encase his intricate and delicate floral replicas in glass crystal. Since then, his work has evolved sculpturally to include assemblages, botanicals, and orbs. Often referred to as "floating worlds," Stankard seems to magically capture natural scenes such as a damselfly hovering over flowers or a bouquet with insects. Frozen in time, with amazing accuracy and meticulous detail, these miniature worlds of glass are extraordinary-technically, artistically, and conceptually. Stankard has transformed the paperweight tradition and "established the standard by which we judge contemporary paperweight art."

Photo Credit: Schaible Photography