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Paul Joseph Stankard was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts on April 7, 1943, the second of nine children. When he was 15 his family moved to New Jersey, where he now lives, in Mantua, with his wife Patricia. They have five grown children. His three daughters have worked in his studio in past years, but now Paul only works part time with one studio assistant, David Graeber.
After high school Paul went to Salem County Technical Institute where he got a degree in Scientific Glassblowing Technology in 1963. In 1967 Stankard worked under Francis Whittemore at Philco-Ford. He had met Francis earlier while attending Salem, where Francis had taught at that time. Earlier memories of seeing the Blaschka glass flowers at Harvard University and being in contact with Whittemore as he pursued making weights, inspired Stankard to start experimenting with making paperweights in 1969. Three years later, in 1972, Paul left industry to devote full time to making glass paperweights.
An amateur botanist, Paul strives to duplicate the “delicate intricacy” he sees in “God’s creations”. Like the stained glass artists at Tiffany Studios, Stankard often portrays the complete life cycle (bud, blossom, wilt and berry) of his subjects. Paul Stankard brought a new level of realism to contemporary paperweights, by one thing, including roots on many of his plants. Some of these roots resembled people, introducing a level of fantasy as over the years they became more personified. Soon little root people were crawling around under the earth and sometimes are seen cavorting above ground. The realism in Paul’s work extends to the occasional wilted or torn leaf and seed pods broken open. As in nature, ants crawl over the plants and bees hover above. Paul has made the reverse side of a paperweight as visually stimulating as the front. Now the work is not limited to just a front and a back but the designs are so three-dimensional there are no bad viewing angles.
Excerpted from The Dictionary of Glass Paperweights, Paul H. Dunlop, Papier Presse 2009.
Paul Stankard has made a number of different realistic flowers over the past four decades. This gourd from 1987 is a nice departure from his normal subject matter. The gourd, blossom and plant are very three dimensional with his famed root people appearing underneath, this magnum sized weight.
3 1/2"" diameter.
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