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Featured Artist Archive
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Featured Artist Archive > December, 2010


Cathy Richardson Paperweight
Cathy Richardson
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Born in Washington D.C. and raised in Falls Church, Virginia, Cathy Richardson was always interested in art and nature and learned to draw and paint at a very early age. She loved wandering in the woods, helping in the garden, and walking on the beach near Chesapeake Bay. Through these early experiences, she developed a lifelong love of art and nature.

Cathy chose not to study art in college and pursued a successful career in geology (BA, MA, and Ph.D.). She met her husband at University and they married in 1971, both going on to become geologists. In the 1980's, Cathy returned to her first love, art, and built a stained glass studio in Iowa which she named "Nature's Image".

Cathy's images in stained glass drew heavily on nature-flowers, prairie grasses, trees, birds, sea creatures, and people. She admired the flowing organic lines in the work done by Art Nouveau artists such as Alphonse Mucha and the abstract naturalism found in paintings of Georgia O'Keefe, the soft beauty of the Impressionist painters, and the beautiful realism and sense of light in the 20th century photographers — particularly Ansel Adams.

Cathy closed the Nature's Image Studio in Iowa when she and her husband moved to Bowling Green, Ohio. In 1996, she studied lampworking with Bandhu Scott Dunham at the Corning School of Glass. In 1997, she enrolled at Bowling Green State University and learned to blow glass. Cathy really liked working with hot glass and wanted to pursue this area of glassmaking rather than continuing in stained glass. In 2000, she again studied lampworking at Corning School of Glass — this time with Shane Fero and Fred Birkhill.

Cathy had always liked paperweights — her mother had a small collection of pretty paperweights and she had seen some of the work Paul Stankard and Josh Simpson were doing. When they moved from Bowling Green, Ohio, to Winona, Minnesota, in 1999 (where Cathy's husband became Vice President of Winona State University), Cathy decided to start a new studio to be named Touchstone Glass, making paperweights and marbles.

She made marbles over a torch for the first year in the new studio while they built the equipment for a hot glass shop. The furnace was turned on in October of 2001. After three or four months experimentation, Cathy began making some of her early starfish and coral reef paperweights. She made torch-drawn paperweights for two to three years before moving on to making lampworked paperweights in 2004.

Cathy still makes a combination of "California style paperweights" and her more detailed lampwork paperweights. Cathy has always been fascinated by small details and the interplay of light, color, and textures. Her current work depicts natural settings and presents each plant or animal in an environment that seems real and yet shows it off as an artistic composition. It is Cathy's hope that her paperweights catch the interest of the viewer and entice them into her tiny world to look in ever greater detail.

Touchstone Glass has grown into a family business, with Cathy's son, Colin Richardson, joining as a full-time glass artist in 2006, and Cathy's husband becoming one of the team when he retired from the University. He keeps the books and develops the website, as well as polishing and grinding paperweights.

This paperweight by Cathy Richardson shows a Marsh Marigold, one of her Alpine Floral series of paperweights, and measures approx. 3.5 inches in diameter.

Cathy can be contacted by email at

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