images on this website are copyrighted by Papier Presse 2014
Gordon Edward Smith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 25, 1959. He grew up in southern New Jersey, where he currently lives. Gordon first recalls being interested in glass after seeing a spun glass demonstration in a shopping mall about the time he was in eighth grade. A gift of a torch and some glass from his father when he was fourteen, allowed him to start learning the basics of working with glass. After high school he studied scientific glassblowing technology at the Salem County Community College, then went to work as a scientific glassblower.
While working at the Kontes Glass Company in Vineland, New Jersey in 1980 Gordon was exposed to glass paperweights and with encouragement from the Kontes brothers Gordon learned about the art of making fine paperweights. He worked as a weekend volunteer at the glass factory at Wheaton Village, for the next two years, where he gained further knowledge of glassblowing and began to experiment with making paperweights in 1981.
His early work featured semi-realistic versions of actual flowers such as: bellflowers, birds-of-paradise and orchids, and berries. Smith now specializes in making weights with incredibly detailed slices of the natural world, such as lizards and fish. He has created more intricate detail than any other lampwork paperweight artist in the history of the art. This attention to detail limits the number of weights he creates to 30 or 40 weights per year. Gordon makes only a handful of each design, varying the motif from weight to weight.
Excerpted from The Dictionary of Glass Paperweights, Paul H. Dunlop, Papier Presse 2009.