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Featured Artist Archive
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Featured Artist Archive > September, 2012


Paperweight by Rick Ayotte
Rick Ayotte
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Rick Ayotte is renowned across the world for his realistic interpretations in glass of small creatures (especially birds) in their natural habitat. He has studied nature intensively so that he can make accurate little worlds encased in glass.

Rick was born in 1944 in New Hampshire, US. At the age of 18, he began a career as a scientific glass-blower. He became highly skilled in manipulating hot glass and used to make and sell lampwork figures in his spare time. One of his glass blowing colleagues was Paul Stankard, who set the example of leaving to become a highly successful paperweight artist. Paul encouraged Rick to encase his figurines in a glass sphere, and Rick's fascination with creating paperweights was born.

In the early years his favourite subjects were birds. Through bird watching and study he became expert in the anatomy, posture and settings of his subjects and he has often spoken of his desire to share his knowledge of nature with people who do not have the opportunity to see the real life originals.

Rick is also a great admirer of 19th century French paperweights, and over the years he has added more flowers and other small creatures to his paperweights. But Rick's floral art is not like the sentimental, stylized paperweights of the Victorian era. His subjects are essentially realistic and more three dimensional. He said "My goal has always been to interpret nature with a fresh eye; to share the drama I see all around me."

Rick's skills and knowledge are such that he was invited to teach lampworking skills at the home of French art glass, the Saint-Louis glassworks in Alsace-Lorraine, France. His paperweight exhibitions, like his "Songs without Words: the Art of the Paperweight" have toured the world and his creations are to be found in prestigious collections in many countries, including The White House, the Smithsonian Institute, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada, and many others. His work has been featured in numerous publications. The paperweight shown above is called Sweet Release and measures 3.5" diameter. It shows two beautiful hummingbirds flying around a branch of pink blossoms.

You can see more of Rick's work on his website at and he can be contacted at

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