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Charles Kaziun Jr. was born on May 18, 1919 in Brockton, Massachusetts. He lived there with his wife Louise until his death on January 13, 1992. They had two children Mary and Charles. After graduating from high school in 1937, he spent a few months in New York learning scientific glassblowing. Shortly after returning to Brockton, Kaziun learned that the Howells (who he had first seen demonstrating glassblowing at the Brockton County Fair in 1932) were looking for a lampworker, as two of their sons had moved on. He applied for, and received a job with this family, which had given him his first exposure to glass. Their expectations for Charles, and the example they set for him, have over the years been evident in the perfection and beauty of his work.
During the forties Kaziun lived in Philadelphia where he was indirectly challenged to make paperweights. He and his boss, James D. Graham spent time looking over Mrs. Bergstrom’s recently published book, Old Glass Paperweights, which Kaziun had received as a gift from the Howells. With Graham as his critic, Charlie spent hours each evening after work, reinventing the techniques which could make fine paperweights, an art form which had been dead for decades.
Not only did Kaziun blaze a trail for all of the American paperweight artists who have worked since, he mastered a broader range of techniques. Crimp flowers, lampwork and millefiori weights, were all successfully made by this artist. Kaziun was the first artist, not working in a factory, to perfect the art of millefiori. These designs were most often of the open concentric variety, set on a variety of grounds. He started making weights when good classic style weights had not been made in America for several decades. The influence Charles Kaziun had on the paperweight renaissance is immeasurable.
Excerpted from The Dictionary of Glass Paperweights, Paul H. Dunlop, Papier Presse 2009.