OF THE MONTH: CRAIG
DEACONS — MORE
The Paperweight Collectors Association,
Inc. (PCA, Inc) is
a non-profit organization dedicated to appreciating and collecting
glass paperweights. For a half-century, the PCA, Inc has championed
the study and collecting of antique, vintage, and contemporary glass
paperweights. The mission of the PCA, Inc is to promote education:
to increase knowledge about paperweights, their creators, and the
astounding glass medium from which they are created.
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PCA, Inc. consists of a convivial group of contemporary artists,
dealers, collectors, libraries, and museums from around the globe.
The interest in glass paperweights is the common thread that binds
the membership: many of our members are just starting out with a
few paperweights while others have established collections numbering
in the thousands. There is something for every collector in terms
of taste and budget. It is the variety and diversity of glass paperweights
that make them so interesting to collect!
encourage you to read some of the materials on this website about
paperweights and paperweight collecting. We also encourage you to
join this organization.
BENEFITS OF JOINING THE PCA, INC. INCLUDE:
- Receive the
annual PCA, Inc. Bulletin. It is a hardback publication with special
paperweight articles and beautiful color illustrations of antique
and modern paperweights and paperweight objects. It is one of
the definitive publications in the field and is itself a collector's
four newsletters per year, each containing a calendar of events,
and news about developments in paperweight making and collecting
and news about regional paperweight collecting associations. There
is also a classified ad section for both the purchase and sale
of paperweights and publications by dealers and collectors.
- Being able
to attend the bi-annual conventions. These conventions bring together
the collectors, dealers, and experts who provide identification
clinics, workshops, and tutorials on various aspects of the hobby.
They are often held in proximity to a world-class collection or
are the motivation to assemble a once in a lifetime world-class
- But most
of all, it can help you connect with others with similar interest
in collecting antique, vintage, and contemporary glass paperweights.
evolved from the functional to the beautiful during the early part
of the industrial revolution. As the economic engines of commerce
began to generate bills, letters, and other business paper something
had to be provided to hold them down during the breezes that were
common when offices had windows and air was allowed to waft through
the workplace. Early paperweights were simple, functional items
of metal or glass. By the 1840s, a whole industry emerged in France
that would transform the simple paperweight into a glorious work
of art for every desktop.
The French glass factories of the 1840s stood on the shoulders of
the Italian glass workers of Murano (Venice) who continued the artistic
traditions of ancient Rome. While the Italians utilized and retained
many of the ancient processes, the French were the first to capitalize
on the optical characteristics of glass. They enclosed their decorations
motifs within glass spheres and made the magnification part of the
total effect. Their paperweights of the late 1840s stand as the
artistic pinnacle of the classic period. The Crystal Palace Exhibition
in London in 1851 showcased the French and German/Bohemian paperweights
and they were subsequently emulated and 'improved' by the glass
houses in the United Kingdom and slightly later in the United States.
of interest to current collectors can be divided three periods:
Classic period starts in the 1840s and runs through the 1880s
and was centered in France (Clichy, St Louis, Baccarat, and Pantin),
England (Walsh-Walsh, Bacchus, and others), and then America (Boston
& Sandwich, New England Glass Company, and Pairpoint).
The Folk Art and Advertising period began
in the 1880s and continued into World War II. Some of the most original
American contributions to paperweights were made in Millville New
Jersey, including the crimp rose and the frit weights (decoration
made with powdered glass). This period saw the decline of the major
glass factories (as mechanization changed how glass was made) but
saw the advent of small, family-run glass factories that continued
The Contemporary period started
after World War II when Charles Kaziun almost single-handedly reinvented
the processes and mechanisms used to create the classic paperweights
and introduced the "studio glass" artist - an artist effectively
works alone in a studio to create glass paperweights and other glass
objects using the techniques first popularized by the classic period.
Collecting paperweights began almost as soon as they began to appear
on the market. There are many ways to collect and to enjoy the beauty
of antique or modern glass paperweights.
Four general approaches include:
Probably the most common collecting style is the
type collecting where the collector accumulates one good example
of each major type of paperweight style (millefiori, lamp-work, sulphide,
etc) from one or more of the glass factories. This collecting style
provides a broad spectrum of weights in a single collection.
The theme collector tends to collect paperweights
that have a unifying theme or common thread. For example, a theme
collector may collect paperweights that contain birds or specific
flowers. There are some interesting collections that only contain
paperweights that are purple or sulphides of politicians.
The in-depth collector likes to specialize
on one type of paperweight and often have the "definitive"
collection of a specific type of paperweight. The depth and breadth
of this collection style makes it easy to study the variation in manufacturing
techniques and can be useful in identifying "mystery weights"
that occasionally appear in the hobby.
Probably the most fun collecting style (and the
style most people use when they start collecting) is I like it
so I have it. This style is perfectly acceptable and a lot of
fun - although going to the other collecting styles eventually makes
keeping track of what you already have a little simpler and makes
your collecting universe a bit easier to manage.
As important as the books on paperweights (and they have been being
issued in rapid succession in the past few years as more and more
people start collecting) is the paperweight collecting community,
which is best represented by the Paperweight Collectors Association,
Inc. and the website: www.paperweight.org (which you are viewing).
This organization publishes quarterly newsletters, annual bulletins
containing a wealth of paperweight information, and sponsors a major
gathering of collectors, dealers, and contemporary paperweight artists
every other year.
OF THE MONTH:
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has lived around a glass studio since he was born. From a very early
age, he used to enjoy helping his Dad (John
Deacons) with tasks like pulling canes and passing punties.
When he left school, Craig became a full time assistant in the glass
studio and he made his first solo paperweight when he was 17. Craig
described it as "a rubbishy wee thing, it really was; more embarrassing
than anything. But you've got to start somewhere". In the thirteen
years since those days, Craig's skills have come a long way.
Working in a
small workshop gave Craig the opportunity to learn every aspect
of making studio glass paperweights. If he had worked in a factory
(Caithness Glass was not far away), Craig feels that he would have
been far more limited in the skills he would have learned. "In the
workshop, it's hard because I don't just do the one job, I have
to do everything, from cutting canes to polishing the finished weights.
It's hard to refine every skill because there's a big learning curve.
If I went into a factory, I'd just be doing the one job. But I wouldn't
be learning anything else but my one job — I wouldn't be learning
how to make up the moulds, how to design a cane, and. . . That's
one thing about a workshop where everything is on a small scale
— you have to do a bit of everything."
Glass workshop currently specializes in millefiori work, with a
very wide range from concentric miniatures to elaborate carpet ground,
and close pack designs with beautiful overlays — sometimes
as many as five overlays in one paperweight. Within a day, they
might be making two or three different kinds of paperweight —
what Craig describes as "chopping and changing all week". This keeps
the work interesting and they never get bored.
we are too cheap", Craig confesses but he does not believe this.
By keeping their prices low, there is always a ready market for
their work, and their less expensive items encourage new entrants
to the world of paperweight collecting while their top end items
fit into the most fastidious collections.
workshop does not keep stock. What they make is sold very quickly,
and it is always made to the high standard which can be maintained
with a small team. Craig feels confident that, when a person buys
one of their paperweights and comes to sell it some ten years later,
that they will get a good return on the money they paid.
workshop is very much a team effort. Dave Moir (formerly Vasart
and Strathearn) and Gordon Taylor (formerly Perthshire Paperweights)
work part time at the workshop helping with a whole range of tasks.
John's wife, Ann, helps when they are really busy. Craig is responsible
for administration as well as his glass-working tasks. Every Friday,
he mixes up the batch of ingredients for the next week's glass.
John and Craig design and make up the canes, some of which are very
complex, and they share the task of designing the paperweights.
Craig usually sets up the designs, laying out the pattern of canes
in a mold; John applies the hot glass and executes the paperweight;
and Craig usually does the finishing (cutting facets and windows,
grinding and polishing). This kind of teamwork is very efficient,
enabling them to produce a good volume of work for such a small
team. And although Craig does have his own CD signature cane, it
is rare for him to make a paperweight on his own. He sees himself
as one half of the Deacons team.
shown here is one of Craig's favourites. Comprised of millefiori
rose canes with a porthole and inside another layer of rose canes
and another porthole with a flower inside. It took Craig more than
two and a half hours to lay down the canes for each layer of this
design, typical of the time taken for this kind of paperweight.
team is focusing solely on millefiori work, but things change all
the time at the Deacons hot glass workshop. You can see more of
their work on the Deacons
Glass Facebook page, and Craig can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Collectors Association (PCA, Inc.), a nonprofit organization, was founded
in 1953 and has members throughout the world. The PCA, Inc. became a §501(c)(7)
organization in 1988, a §501(c)(3) organization in 1996, and was incorporated
in the state of Pennsylvania in 1995. The PCA, Inc. is a mutual organization
for the benefit of its members. It does not discriminate against applicants
or employees on the basis of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, color,
religion, national origin, size, disability, socioeconomic background, or
any other status protected by state or local law."