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Artist of the Month
April 2023

Artist of the Month

Paul Joseph Stankard

Paul Stankard is an internationally acclaimed artist and pioneer in the studio glass movement. He is considered a living master in the art of the paperweight, and his work is represented worldwide in more than 70 museums. Famed for encasing his extremely delicate sculptures of flowers and insects in clear glass, he has received numerous awards and holds two honorary doctorates. Stankard is represented by Schantz Galleries in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Click on each photo to the right for a full picture.

Paul Joseph Stankard

Artist of the Month

Artist Statement:

Receive This Glass
Receive this glass
it holds my memories
crafted blossoms
in stillness
to be pollinated
by your sight
your touch through time.

“By blending mysticism with magical realism, I work to express organic credibility through my botanical interpretations. Crafted in glass, I reference the continuum of nature and celebrate on an intimate level her primal beauty. I am influenced by the poetry of Walt Whitman.”  - Paul J. Stankard

As an artist who has worked with my hands in glass for 35 years, the line "the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery" continues to amaze me. And the native flowers Whitman chose to write about, like pokeberries and common mullein, are easily overlooked, ordinary. He speaks of the ant's perfection, the egg of a wren. 

Experiencing the plant kingdom with Whitman energizes me. I have internalized his works with my feelings to recapitulate and rework those feelings in glass. His work informs my aesthetic and elevates my expectations of myself as an artist. What Whitman did with words, I seek to do with glass on a visual level. My dream is to articulate fresh information about nature in glass. My work is driven by respect for living things, and by delicacy and detail. I try to match Whitman's depth of feeling with my own passion and skill. You have to bring something to Whitman - it isn't immediately available at first. I want from the viewer the same openness, curiosity, and maturity that are needed for Whitman's work.

Click here to see videos of Stankard working.

About Paul Joseph Stankard

It seems fitting that this AACG Artist of the Month is in April, as it is Paul’s birthday month—when signs of spring appear and bring the bees and buds for a new cycle of creativity and growth.  Happy Birthday Paul!

Paul Stankard is an internationally acclaimed artist and pioneer in the studio glass movement. He is considered a living master in the art of the paperweight, and his work is represented in more than 70 museums around the world. In 1961, he enrolled in Salem County Vocational Technical Institute’s Scientific Glassblowing program (now Salem Community College). During his ten-year scientific glassblowing career, he became a master of fabricating complex instruments. In 1972, Paul left industry to pursue his dream of being creative in glass full-time.

Stankard’s botanical paperweights of glass-encased lampworked flora exhibit a loving fidelity to nature and are incredibly accurate, with such detail in the flora and insects, many visitors to the gallery can hardly believe they were not once living. Thematically, Stankard closely relates to Walt Whitman (1819-1892)—his harmonious relationship with Earth, his celebration of the common person and the creative spirit, and what Stankard sees as an appreciation for “the wholesomeness of living things engaged in their sacred, cyclical journey.”    

Over his artistic journey, he has received two honorary doctorate degrees, one honorary associate degree and many awards within the glass community, including the Masters of the Medium Award from Smithsonian's The James Renwick Alliance, Glass Art Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and American Craft Council College of Fellows. He is an Artist-in-Resident and Honorary Professor at Salem Community College.

Stankard divides his time between flameworking and writing.  He is the author of four books; an autobiography No Green Berries or Leaves: The Creative Journey of an Artist in Glass, an educational resource Spark the Creative Flame: Making the Journey from Craft to Art, an unusual two-section resource guide Craft as Career: A Guide to Achieving Excellence in Art-making, and his newest book Inspiration from the Art of Paul Stankard: A Window into My Studio and Soul.

This autumn, at the Morris Museum in Morristown NJ, From Flame to Flower: The Art of Paul J. Stankard will be on view for six months in their largest gallery and highlights both his fine arts trajectory and his artistic process and evolution, to become a Master of his craft. The exhibition will run from September 22, 2023 – February 4, 2024.

Click here for an artist's resume.

Acknowledgment of Gallery:
We are grateful to Schantz Galleries, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, for providing the Artist of the Month.

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Our Mission

The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to further the development and appreciation of art made from glass.

The Alliance informs collectors, critics and curators by encouraging and supporting museum exhibitions, university glass departments and specialized teaching programs, regional collector groups, visits to private collections, and public seminars.