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Featured Artist Archive
Paperweight Collectors Association Inc.

Featured Artist Archive > November, 2011


Alison Ruzsa Paperweight
Alison Ruzsa
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Drew Ebelhare was born in southeastern Pennsylvania in 1955. He enjoyed the simple life of a farm child until the age of 10 when his family moved to South Florida. Drew graduated from Florida State University in 1977 with a Bachelors Degree in technical theatre and scene design. On graduation, he accepted a position at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas. But after a few years, he became interested in stained glass and made a career change, becoming one of the founding members of The Houston Glass Art Society. In 1979, he attended a glass symposium in Colorado, where Drew saw hot glass worked for the first time. He loved Colorado and was intrigued by glassblowing.

In 1981, he set up his first rudimentary hot glass shop. Around 1983, early in his glassblowing career, he began making paperweights. These were quite rudimentary and were incorporated into sets such as a perfume bottle, three different-sized vases, and a paperweight. It was not until about 1990 that Drew began to make paperweights as a serious pursuit, producing pieces that could stand on their own artistically. He was introduced to the Paperweight Collectors Association of Texas in 1991, and they encouraged him to specialize in paperweights.

In the paperweight field Drew decided that millefiori work would be the best direction for him. His early work included concentrics, scrambles, and closepacks, but what really showed promise was his crown weight. He received his first commission for a limited edition from the PCA TX in 1992: a crown weight with a silhouette cane in the shape of the state of Texas in the centre. Drew then embarked on a years-long project of emulating the work of three classic French factories. By about 2001, he had become adept at producing these kinds of paperweights. However, it was time for Drew to move ahead and establish a style of his own. So by early 2002, he had the beginnings of his own very distinctive style of millefiori. He incorporated the classic antique style of lampwork flowers into millefiori canes.

These "lampwork" canes have proved wonderfully successful for Drew. At first he incorporated them into traditional millefiori designs. He went on to use his "lampwork" canes to make weights that actually looked like lampwork designs but had no lampwork in them at all. This lead to his Landscape paperweights. Over the past ten years, Drew has produced a range of different series, based on his love of the countryside and of antique paperweights.

For example, his special love for trout fishing with a fly rod led to his Trout weights. He wanted to be able to look down into his paperweights and see the water and the trout that he loved, yet still remain within the millefiori genera. These were technically very challenging but a great success. Trying something different, he produced a series with a view of a raging river running through a canyon, as might be seen by a bird or maybe a passenger in an airplane. In 2007, he went back to the canes and style of his beloved St. Louis and produced the Nostalgia Series, followed by the Old English series — which is an exploration of the George Bacchus factory in England. Recently, Drew began collaborating with Sue Fox, whose classically designed floral lampwork makes a wonderful counterpoint to Drew's millefiori cane. We hope to see more of their joint efforts in the future.

Ebelhare Art Glass is located at 227 Main Street in the historic and scenic Victorian town of Canon City, Colorado. With breathtaking views and numerous tourist destinations nearby, a trip to this lovely little town is well worthwhile, with the added attraction of seeing Drew's current and recent work. He suggests that it's a good idea to contact him beforehand, as he does not keep regular business hours.

Telephone (719) 269 8970

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