Modern American paperweights are at the cutting-edge in glass quality, design and innovative ideas. In the 1940s, a handful of “pioneers” re-discovered the “lost art” of millefiori, lampworking and paperweight-making and began to develop new methods of working with hot glass. They encouraged a whole generation of younger artists who today continue to develop new techniques and create their own individual styles.

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  • Ayotte, Melissa

    Melissa Ayotte is the daughter of glass artist Rick Ayotte. Initially she had no intention of following in her father’s footsteps, she had other ideas. However, during graduate school in 1998, she began working part-time in her father’s glass studio and gradually the fascination of working with glass took hold. Today Melissa is making her own intricate designs, based on nature, with a wonderful feeling for colour and texture. Her weights are scratch-signed and dated; some weights also contain a blue/white “A” signature cane usually placed on the underside of the design.

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  • Ayotte, Rick

    Rick Ayotte, who originally worked as a scientific glassblower, started making paperweights in the late 1970s. Today he is regarded as one of America’s leading lampwork artists. His naturalistic depictions of birds, butterflies and his colourful bouquets of fruit and flowers - encased in crystal - have attracted the attention of collectors the world over and are eagerly sought after and highly prized at auction. Rick Ayotte’s weights are signed and dated on the side and in the case of limited editions also indicate the size of the edition.

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  • Banford, Family
    Ray Banford (1918-2003) was from New Jersey - an area with a long tradition in glassmaking. Ray, along with his son Bob Banford, began to experiment with paperweights in the early 1970s. Within a few years they were making top-quality weights in a variety of designs. Both artists are perhaps best known for their beautiful lampwork flower weights often set in intricately-cut baskets. In the early years Ray Banford used a number of different signature canes. From 1980 onwards he used a black B in a white circle. Bob Banford’s signature cane has a red B on a white field within a blue ring.

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  • Brown, Jim

    Jim Brown was certainly a “late starter” in the paperweight world. Eventually his interest in collecting paperweights was no longer enough - he wanted to create them himself ! Beginning in 2000 he first acquired the technical knowledge to work with glass and spent hours learning how to make the millefiori canes he had so admired in antique weights. His great variety of canes and range of weights - concentrics, closepacks and panelled - have a look of classic Bacchus while his carpet grounds are reminiscent of antique St. Louis. Early weights are scratch-signed on the base; later he incorporated a “B” signature cane in the design.

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  • Buzzini, Chris

    Chris Buzzini joined the Orient & Flume Art Glass Studio in the early 1970s before going to Lundberg Studios and Correia Art Glass, where he worked from 1983 to 1986. Years of experience and study allowed him to develop his lampworking skills and in 1986 he set up his own studio. His beautiful and botanically-correct designs have kept him at the forefront of paperweight making. In his early weights - usually small limited editions - he used a signature cane with his name and a two digit date. Since ca. 1990 he has been signing and dating his weights on the side, often with an inscription, or more recently, with a number. Most of his later weights are 1/1 designs.

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  • Cape Cod

    William Burchfield (1942-2012) originally set up Cape Cod Glass Works in 1976 in Massachusetts. He had first become interested in glass while working at the Pairpoint Glass Company in the early 1970s. The first signature cane in his paperweights bore the initials WBC. In 1990, the CCGW signature cane with a two digit date was introduced and in 1992 rose canes containing the initials wBc were added. The company made a wide range of quality, collectable weights - crowns, marbries, millefiori, scrambleds and crimp roses. The company was closed down in 2000 and William Burchfield moved to Tennessee.

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  • MacNaught, Damon
    Damon MacNaught - born in 1974 in Upper New York State - first started working with glass in the mid-1990s... before setting up his own studio - Bare Glass Studio - in Tennessee in 1998. Another Tennessee-based paperweight-maker, Jim Brown, had a big influence on his work. Currently working as a professor in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Tennessee, Damon still finds time between teaching engagements to work on new ideas in his studio.

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  • Richardson, Cathy

    Cathy Richardson - Touchstone Glass in Minnesota - first worked as a geologist before turning to art in the mid-1980s and learning about glass at - among other places - the Corning Glass Studio. Initially Cathy made stained glass panels before turning to paperweights. In her work Cathy combines a love of nature with meticulous attention to detail to produce realistic images and draws her inspiration from the sea, shorelines, the desert and flower gardens. Her paperweights are signed and dated.

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  • Rosenfeld, Ken

    Ken Rosenfeld first came into contact with paperweights when he worked at Correia Art Glass in southern California. He experimented with new ideas and by the mid- 80s he started to create his own designs. Ken's meticulously detailed lampwork designs include flowers, floral bouquets, fruit and vegetables. Earlier weights often had an "R" signature cane on the side of the dome and were generally fully signed - or had a KR monogram - and dated. More recent weights usually have an "R" signature cane and a date cane under the motif.

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  • Sherwin, Chris

    Chris Sherwin has been working professionally with hot glass since 1993. He moved to California in 1997 and spent 7 years learning new techniques and refining his skills at Orient & Flume. In 2005 he set up his own studio Sherwin Art Glass in Vermont, which runs almost entirely on hydro-electric power. He is proud to be a “green glassworker” in a medium that traditionally uses a great deal of fossil fuels. His weights are generally scratch-signed and dated either on the base or above the basal rim.

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