Master glassmaker Paul Stunkard (b. 1943, Attleboro, Massachusetts) creates stunningly beautiful images of plants and flowers encased in clear glass paperweights.
In 1961, Stunkard began studying glassmaking at Salem Community College. After graduating as a glassblower, he worked in industry for 10 years blowing glass flasks, beakers, and other laboratory items before he began experimenting with creating glass art in his garage.
When Stunkard showed his early work at a craft show in Atlantic City, his work was noticed by a prominent art dealer. Since then, Paul was able to devote himself to creating works of art from glass. During his 50-year creative career, Stankard became a world-renowned artist and a pioneer in the field of studio glass. His work is presented in more than 60 museums around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Paul Stunkard has received numerous awards and honors for his outstanding achievements and is an artist-in-residence and professor emeritus at Salem Community College. Thanks to him, the college has one of the most innovative glass programs in the country. He continues to work in his studio in Mantua every day. Above his desk hangs a Benedictine saying: “Laborare est orare” (“Work is prayer”). Stunkard divides his time between glass and writing. He is the author of four books and also writes poetry when he feels his ideas cannot be expressed in glass alone. His creations are described as “artfully crafted flowers suspended in silence.”
Paul Stunkard often depicts roots as humanoid figures and masks entwined with the roots of plants and flowers. They are inspired by twelfth-century engravings that incorporate human forms into botanical imagery. He admires and is inspired by Whitman’s work and calls him “the patron of his studio.” Stunkard cites a line from Leaves of Grass as a guiding principle with personal resonance: “The morning glory in my window inspires me more than the metaphysics of books.”