News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Levin Furniture

Don Drumm Studios


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Arts and Entertainment


Celebrating the father of the modern glass paperweight in Akron
Paul Stankard applies scientific glassblowing skills honed in industry to create miniature flowers and insects embedded in glass globes and cubes.
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
First Bouquet, 1978, glass 2 in.x3 in .x3 in., Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Gift of Annie and Mike Belkin
Courtesy of Paul Stankard
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
This week at the Akron Art Museum the world's largest collection of Paul Stankard's glass paperweights was installed in a new permanent display case above the museum's lobby. Clevelander Mike Belkin has donated 64 of the 300 Stankard pieces he purchased over the past three decades.
A master of glass

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (6:02)


(Click image for larger view.)

The world’s largest public collection of Paul Stankard’s glass sculptures and paperweights is now on permanent display at the Akron Art Museum.

Stankard, the father of the modern glass paperweight, is ruddy-faced, roly-poly, and one of nine children in an Irish-Catholic family.  The queen of England and Elton John collect his work. You’ll also find it at the Louvre and the Smithsonian.

He says, “I think of myself as a studio artist who works in glass.”

An industrial beginning 
At 68, he’s celebrating a half century as a glass master. At 18, Stankard was a poor student who thought he’d be a machinist. But when it came to enrolling at a community college in his native New Jersey, his dad decided he should study scientific glass-blowing instead.

After graduation he worked in industry making test tubes and beakers for   10 years. On the side, he says he made paperweights. He says he learned how from European co-workers at the glass factory.

 “When they finished their shift, generally there’d be some glass left in the tank and they could play with what was left and would make what they had made in Europe. I was told that it was a lost art and the secrets were gone, and so that was kind of challenging.“ 

When he displayed some of his paperweights on the Atlantic City boardwalk a gallery owner took an interest and his career as an artist was launched.

The music mogul and paperweight collector 
Not long after that, a Cleveland music industry mogul discovered his art.   Stankard says his friend Mike Belkin is better known as a concert promoter.

“But Mike was an antique French paperweight collector. And he was at an auction in New York City and one of my early paperweights from the ‘70s was being auctioned off. And he was fascinated by the work and bought it. It’s hard to believe, over 30 years  Mike has collected my work. He and Annie are wonderful patrons of the arts.”

He says the Belkins gift to the Akron Art Museum is “a blessing” and he loves the way his glass art is displayed.

“It’s the newest, most advanced technology with the fiber optics illuminating the designs. It’s beautiful.”   

Self-taught
Stankard studies beauty.   He’s largely self-taught about arts and culture. He says he began delving into the great books, listening to the classics and studying the work of the masters for the sake of his own art.

 “I wanted to do important work. I wanted my work to be special. And the only way that I could make it special was to educate myself about what excellence is.” 

 A key influence is Walt Whitman. Like Stankard, the poet  loved to walk in the woods.

 “And it wasn’t until I started reading Whitman’s celebration of the ordinary as extraordinary that I began to see nature in a mystical way. Whitman expanded my reference to the mysteries of nature.” 

The technique Stankard uses  to interpret nature in glass is called flame-working. He re-melts  commercially available colored glasses and rods in a flame and manipulates the glass with  tweezers. 

He says he’s amused when people wonder whether the tiny figures of insects and flowers encased in his glass globes and cubes, are real.

  “My goal is to give the glass organic credibility. “

Listener Comments:

Good Morning Vivian, I just had the pleasure of re-listening to your interview from two years ago. It's a blessing to have nuanced background information on the Belkin Collection available to the public as a shared experience. With Gratitude, Paul


Posted by: Paul Stankard (Mantua, New Jersey 08051) on October 15, 2013 7:10AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio lawmakers propose grants for home construction for disabled people
We have been trying to have a "Visitability Bill" passed for years. Thanks, Greg

Lake County crimes may give Trump immigration fodder
Shoddy reporting at best. "Mixed views" The question that came to my mind was, "How many people did he have to interview to get "mixed views". Do the two peo...

Ohio's U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announces plans to improve Medicare by lowering prescription costs for seniors
Sounds good. I'm living in Florida to escape the snow. So far it's working. I retired from GM in 2000. Keep pushing for all the working people. In the long run ...

The tiny town that time, and elections, forgot may go out of existence
Thank you for this story. I grew up in Limaville, my parents home is there still...unsellable due to the septic/sewer problem. Sometimes I am sorry I left...wis...

Where Ohio'sJohn Kasich stands in the presidential polls
We are fans of Gov. Kasich since he served in the House of Representatives. It pleases us to finally see him as the potential President of the United States. We...

Cleveland hosts the first national Movement for Black Lives conference
What a wonderful experience this was, So much love and understanding, without all of the other distractions that tend to come with organizing for change, this e...

Air Force unit gets training and Youngstown gets rid of some eyesores
Do they have to totally destroy all the beautiful oak and leaded windows, which I am thinking are probably there? Do they just have to destroy them like that? C...

Jewish challah and Native American fry bread at an Akron cultural exchange
Each time I saw the young students relate to each other, I got goose bumps. These young students can and hopefully will teach all of us to live and respect eac...

One of the Cleveland Orchestra's most celebrated musicians bids farewell
I had the honor of studying with Franklin Cohen in the late 80s and early 90s. He is unparalleled both as a clarinetist and as a musician. His deep personal war...

Summa's dress code is not 'etched in stone'
SOME OF THESE POLICIES ARE A COMPLETE JOKE. UNLESS YOU ARE DOING THESE TYPE OF JOBS EVERY DAY, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IS COMFORTABLE AND REASONABLE OR NOT. UNLESS ...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University