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​    Roland “Rick” Paul Ayotte was born on May 13, 1944 in Nashua, New Hampshire, where he continues to live with his wife Clara. They have two grown children, Melissa, who is following her father’s footsteps as a paperweight maker, and Daniel. As a young boy, nature and animals were Rick’s greatest interest. His early interest in ornithology has been the inspiration for most of his creative endeavors.
    After high school, Rick studied at the Lowell Technological Institute, then took a job as an apprentice scientific glassblower at Macalaster Scientific Company in 1962. The glassblowing experience he gained working at Macalaster, then later at Scientific Specialties, was combined with his creative talents when he started making crystal weave and hollow glassware items which sold well for the next eight years.
    In 1976, at the encouragement of Paul Stankard, a friend he had met and worked with earlier at Macalaster, Rick started making paperweights. His first weights were offered for sale in 1978, and by 1979 he was devoting full time to making weights. 
    Excerpted from The Dictionary of Glass Paperweights, Paul H. Dunlop, Papier Presse 2009.