Paperweight Collectors Association Inc. Paperweight Collectors Association Inc.
Featured Artist Archive
Paperweight Collectors Association Inc.

Featured Artist Archive > October, 2011


Alison Ruzsa Paperweight
Alison Ruzsa
click picture to enlarge
click picture to enlarge

Alison Ruzsa grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and trained as a print maker, but joined a glass school in 1991 and shortly afterwards moved to New York to further her career in glass. She worked at the New York Experimental Glass Workshop where she was fascinated by the glass creations of Fred Kahl incorporating painted pictures into glass. At Pilchuck, in a class with Fred, she experimented with her first multi-layer work and since then she has developed her techniques of incorporating painted scenes into glass. Alison enjoys the three-dimensional perspective which is achieved by encasing painted features in layers of glass, saying, "With each turn one discovers a different aspect of the picture. This reminds me that there is always more than one way to look at life."

Starting with a small gather of hot glass, Alison shapes the first stage of the piece and then allows it to cool down to room temperature before applying the first painted items. She uses specially formulated paints which can withstand the intense heat of the glass furnace. After the first set of images has been painted, the glass is returned to the annealing oven and slowly brought back up to a working temperature. A fresh gather of hot glass is applied, and carefully shaped so as not to distort the images. The piece is then cooled again and another layer of painted images is added. This process is repeated, up to five times, to create a paperweight in which the clear glass becomes the "space" in the painting. Once the final cooling has been completed, Alison may apply sandblasting, engraving, and other cold-work techniques.

The paperweight shown here is from her "Seasons" theme. This one is named Summer Cocktails, and comprises 6 layers of glass alternating with 3 layers of paint. There are 19 figures and 4 Trees in a paperweight measuring 5.5" in height. (Photo by the artist.)

Since 1995, Ruzsa has been working at Pier Glass in Brooklyn, NY, with Mary Ellen Buxton, and Kevin Kutch. While continuing her work in Brooklyn, Alison also enjoys spending time working with other artists and teaching in Venice, Italy. Her work has been displayed in numerous exhibitions and is held in private and museum collections in the USA and overseas. She can be contacted at

Copyright © 2020 Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc.
All Rights Reserved. All photographs on this website are credited to PCA with the suppliers permission unless otherwise identified..