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Paperweight Collectors Association Inc.



Featured Artist Archive > January, 2014

FEATURED ARTIST:
CRAIG DEACONS

Paperweight by Craig Deacons
 
Craig Deacons
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Craig Deacons 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."

The Deacons 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.

"People say 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.

The Deacons 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.

The Deacons 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.

The paperweight 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.

Currently the 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 deaconsglass@googlemail.com.



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