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The Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc.
The Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc.

FEATURED ARTIST THIS MONTH: CLINTON SMITH MORE
 

The Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc. (PCA, Inc) is a non-profit organization dedicated to appreciating and collecting glass paperweights. For a half-century, the PCA, Inc has championed the study and collecting of antique, vintage, and contemporary glass paperweights. The mission of the PCA, Inc is to promote education: to increase knowledge about paperweights, their creators, and the astounding glass medium from which they are created.

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The PCA, Inc. consists of a convivial group of contemporary artists, dealers, collectors, libraries, and museums from around the globe. The interest in glass paperweights is the common thread that binds the membership: many of our members are just starting out with a few paperweights while others have established collections numbering in the thousands. There is something for every collector in terms of taste and budget. It is the variety and diversity of glass paperweights that make them so interesting to collect!

2015 PCA Convention. The Paperweight Collectors Associationís 2015 Convention will be held from April 29 thru May 2 in Tacoma, Washington. The hotel hosting the convention is the Murano. As the name suggests, the hotel showcases contemporary art glass which is displayed throughout the lobby. Each floor is dedicated to an individual glass artist and has an example of his/her work visible upon exiting the elevator. At this time the hotel is not accepting reservations. When reservations are opened up we will provide a link on this website to facilitate your booking.

The convention program is presently under development. Included in the activities will be a pre-convention tour, informative lectures, an artist showcase, dealers fair, identification clinic, and an afternoon at the Tacoma Museum of Glass where demonstrations of paperweight making will be conducted in the hot glass studio. Keeping with tradition, the convention will conclude with a banquet.

This section will be updated as more information becomes available.


Hotel Murano   Hotel Murano
Hotel Murano
Hotel Murano Front Desk


  Paperweights
 
  Collecting Paperweights Featured Artist


We encourage you to read some of the materials on this website about paperweights and paperweight collecting. We also encourage you to join this organization.

THE BENEFITS OF JOINING THE PCA, INC. INCLUDE:

  • Receive the annual PCA, Inc. Bulletin. It is a hardback publication with special paperweight articles and beautiful color illustrations of antique and modern paperweights and paperweight objects. It is one of the definitive publications in the field and is itself a collector's item.

  • Receive four newsletters per year, each containing a calendar of events, and news about developments in paperweight making and collecting and news about regional paperweight collecting associations. There is also a classified ad section for both the purchase and sale of paperweights and publications by dealers and collectors.

  • Being able to attend the bi-annual conventions. These conventions bring together the collectors, dealers, and experts who provide identification clinics, workshops, and tutorials on various aspects of the hobby. They are often held in proximity to a world-class collection or are the motivation to assemble a once in a lifetime world-class collection.

  • But most of all, it can help you connect with others with similar interest in collecting antique, vintage, and contemporary glass paperweights.

PAPERWEIGHTS:

BaccaratPaperweights evolved from the functional to the beautiful during the early part of the industrial revolution. As the economic engines of commerce began to generate bills, letters, and other business paper something had to be provided to hold them down during the breezes that were common when offices had windows and air was allowed to waft through the workplace. Early paperweights were simple, functional items of metal or glass. By the 1840s, a whole industry emerged in France that would transform the simple paperweight into a glorious work of art for every desktop.

The French glass factories of the 1840s stood on the shoulders of the Italian glass workers of Murano (Venice) who continued the artistic traditions of ancient Rome. While the Italians utilized and retained many of the ancient processes, the French were the first to capitalize on the optical characteristics of glass. They enclosed their decorations motifs within glass spheres and made the magnification part of the total effect. Their paperweights of the late 1840s stand as the artistic pinnacle of the classic period. The Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1851 showcased the French and German/Bohemian paperweights and they were subsequently emulated and 'improved' by the glass houses in the United Kingdom and slightly later in the United States.

Paperweights of interest to current collectors can be divided three periods:

The Classic period starts in the 1840s and runs through the 1880s and was centered in France (Clichy, St Louis, Baccarat, and Pantin), England (Walsh-Walsh, Bacchus, and others), and then America (Boston & Sandwich, New England Glass Company, and Pairpoint).

The Folk Art and Advertising period began in the 1880s and continued into World War II. Some of the most original American contributions to paperweights were made in Millville New Jersey, including the crimp rose and the frit weights (decoration made with powdered glass). This period saw the decline of the major glass factories (as mechanization changed how glass was made) but saw the advent of small, family-run glass factories that continued paperweight making.

The Contemporary period started after World War II when Charles Kaziun almost single-handedly reinvented the processes and mechanisms used to create the classic paperweights and introduced the "studio glass" artist - an artist effectively works alone in a studio to create glass paperweights and other glass objects using the techniques first popularized by the classic period.



COLLECTING PAPERWEIGHTS:

Collecting paperweights began almost as soon as they began to appear on the market. There are many ways to collect and to enjoy the beauty of antique or modern glass paperweights.

Four general approaches include:

Probably the most common collecting style is the type collecting where the collector accumulates one good example of each major type of paperweight style (millefiori, lamp-work, sulphide, etc) from one or more of the glass factories. This collecting style provides a broad spectrum of weights in a single collection.


The theme collector tends to collect paperweights that have a unifying theme or common thread. For example, a theme collector may collect paperweights that contain birds or specific flowers. There are some interesting collections that only contain paperweights that are purple or sulphides of politicians.

The in-depth collector likes to specialize on one type of paperweight and often have the "definitive" collection of a specific type of paperweight. The depth and breadth of this collection style makes it easy to study the variation in manufacturing techniques and can be useful in identifying "mystery weights" that occasionally appear in the hobby.

Probably the most fun collecting style (and the style most people use when they start collecting) is I like it so I have it. This style is perfectly acceptable and a lot of fun - although going to the other collecting styles eventually makes keeping track of what you already have a little simpler and makes your collecting universe a bit easier to manage.

As important as the books on paperweights (and they have been being issued in rapid succession in the past few years as more and more people start collecting) is the paperweight collecting community, which is best represented by the Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc. and the website: www.paperweight.org (which you are viewing). This organization publishes quarterly newsletters, annual bulletins containing a wealth of paperweight information, and sponsors a major gathering of collectors, dealers, and contemporary paperweight artists every other year.


FEATURED ARTIST THIS MONTH:
CLINTON SMITH

Paperweight by Clinton Smith
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Paperweight by Clinton Smith
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Clinton Smith specialises in creating small environments encapsulated in glass to invoke the wonder and pleasure of nature and to delight the imagination. These photographs show two of his recent paperweights, with berries, flowers, leaves, tiny insects and frogs.

Smith has assisted master paperweight artist Paul Stankard on a number of occasions. In the summer of 2012, he was awarded a full scholarship to the Corning Museum of Glass workshop, "From the Kiln to the Hotshop (and back again)". In February 2013, he received the 2013 Niche Award in Lampworked Glass.

You can see more of Clinton Smith's work on his website, www.clintonfsmith.com. He can be contacted by email at clintonsmithglass@gmail.com.




Clichy

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"The Paperweight Collectors Association (PCA, Inc.), a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1953 and has members throughout the world. The PCA, Inc. became a §501(c)(7) organization in 1988, a §501(c)(3) organization in 1996, and was incorporated in the state of Pennsylvania in 1995. The PCA, Inc. is a mutual organization for the benefit of its members. It does not discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, color, religion, national origin, size, disability, socioeconomic background, or any other status protected by state or local law."
  

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Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc.
P. O. Box 334
Fairless Hills, PA 19030
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