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Featured Artist Archive
Paperweight Collectors Association Inc.

Featured Artist Archive > May, 2012


Paperweight by Melissa Ayotte
Melissa Ayotte
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click picture to enlarge

Melissa Ayotte was born and brought up in New Hampshire, in a home surrounded by the paraphernalia of the glass artist, her father Rick Ayotte. Even as a child Melissa helped her father in the glass studio, pulling coloured rods and later cold-working some of Rick's pieces and contributing ideas to his designs. However, glass was not her first choice of career. She qualified with a masters degree in psychology from the Antioch New England Graduate School, and worked as a clinical psychologist for a time. She found herself drawn to art as a refuge from her busy life and this pull towards art and creativity led her to add courses in photography and sculpture to her training.

Later she worked part-time as Rick Ayotte's apprentice. By the year 2000, she realized that glass was her true interest, and made the move to working full time with glass. For two years she was assistant to Paul Stankard before returning to her father's studio at Sharon Arts Centre as his assistant. During those early years as a glass artist, Melissa studied pate de verre, glass painting, lampworking and design and colour.

Working closely with her father has added a rich dimension to her work and, as Rick himself concedes, both artists have been challenged to raise their skills and creativity to ever-increasing heights. Melissa's training and experience in psychology gives her a special perspective on paperweight art. Many of her pieces invite the viewer to turn their eyes inwards and see the incredible beauty within her paperweights through a clear window in an opaque glass "stone". She says "My art is my practice, an alchemical experience of bending and shaping a solid — glass — into a liquid form, then creating a sculpture from this change in material. I believe the glass artist is more than craftsman or artisan alone, rather a practitioner of a higher-aim transformation. This transformation happens in the glass artist as she creates it, within the material while it changes shape and also, I hope within the viewer when he engages the sculpture."

This paperweight which Melissa calls "Sweetness" (above) showcases her love of nature and of re-creating it within glass.

Melissa can be contacted at

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