Paul Stunkard – glassmaker

Lilac Bouquet, diameter 10 cm, Paul Stankard, 2005.
Lilac Bouquet, diameter 10 cm, Paul Stankard, 2005.

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.

Orchids, one of Paul Stankard's early works.
Orchids, one of Paul Stankard’s early works.

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.

Pegasus paperweight, diameter 4 cm, Paul Stankard, 1969.
Pegasus paperweight, diameter 4 cm, Paul Stankard, 1969.

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.”

Paperweight by Paul Stankard, 1986, from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Paperweight by Paul Stankard, 1986, from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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.”

Paperweight by Paul Stankard, 1990, from the collection of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington.
Paperweight by Paul Stankard, 1990, from the collection of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington.
Paperweight Blooming Mountain Laurel, height 12.5 cm, Paul Stankard, 1994.
Blooming Mountain Laurel, height 12.5 cm, Paul Stankard, 1994.
Paperweight Imperial Lily with Insects, Paul Stankard, 2012
Paperweight Imperial Lily with Insects, Paul Stankard, 2012
Morning Glory with Honey Bee paperweight, Paul Stunkard, 2002.
Morning Glory with Honey Bee paperweight, Paul Stunkard, 2002.
Apple Blossom paperweight, Paul Stankard, 2003
Apple Blossom paperweight, Paul Stankard, 2003
Paperweight Bouquet with Tea Rose and Insects, Paul Stankard, 2003
Paperweight Bouquet with Tea Rose and Insects, Paul Stankard, 2003
Paperweight Botanical Arrangement with Red Flowers, Paul Stankard, 2005
Paperweight Botanical Arrangement with Red Flowers, Paul Stankard, 2005
Bouquet with lotus, diameter 10 cm, Paul Stankard, 2008.
Bouquet with lotus, diameter 10 cm, Paul Stankard, 2008.
Bouquet of tea roses, diameter 10 cm, Paul Stankard, 2009.
Bouquet of tea roses, diameter 10 cm, Paul Stankard, 2009.
Floral triptych Golden Ball, height 13.7 cm, Paul Stankard, 2009.
Floral triptych Golden Ball, height 13.7 cm, Paul Stankard, 2009.
Floating bouquets, diameter 20 cm, Paul Stankard, 2009
Floating bouquets, diameter 20 cm, Paul Stankard, 2009
Apple Blossom, height 9.5 cm, Paul Stankard, 2011.
Apple Blossom, height 9.5 cm, Paul Stankard, 2011.
Paperweight Floral bouquet and golden balls, Paul Stankard, 2010.
Paperweight Floral bouquet and golden balls, Paul Stankard, 2010.
Paperweight Bees over Honeycombs and Flowers, Paul Stankard, 2010.
Paperweight Bees over Honeycombs and Flowers, Paul Stankard, 2010.
Paperweight Floral Bouquet with Prickly Fruit, Paul Stunkard, 2011.
Floral Bouquet with Prickly Fruit, Paul Stunkard, 2011.
Paperweight Swarm of Bees with Flowers and Fruit, diameter 15 cm, Paul Stankard, 2012.
Paperweight Swarm of Bees with Flowers and Fruit, diameter 15 cm, Paul Stankard, 2012.
Paperweight Swarm of bees over honeycombs and flowers, diameter 15 cm, Paul Stankard, 2012.
Paperweight Swarm of bees over honeycombs and flowers, diameter 15 cm, Paul Stankard, 2012.
Paperweight Floral Bouquet with a Bee, Paul Stankard, 2015.
Floral Bouquet with a Bee, Paul Stankard, 2015.
Paperweight Bouquet with Tea Rose and Mask, Paul Stankard, 2004.
Paperweight Bouquet with Tea Rose and Mask, Paul Stankard, 2004.
Paperweight Botanical Composition, Paul Stankard, 2010.
Paperweight Botanical Composition, Paul Stankard, 2010.
Rocky Mountain Bouquet paperweight, Paul Stunkard, 2011.
Rocky Mountain Bouquet paperweight, Paul Stunkard, 2011.
Master glassmaker Paul Stunkard.
Master glassmaker Paul Stunkard.
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