Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc.
Biennial Convention
May 15-18, 2019, Dearborn, MI

by Al & Marion Bates


The convention, held at The Henry Hotel, Dearborn, MI got off to a great start on Wednesday, May 15 with most attendees visiting The Henry Ford Museum and Village. Marion and I did not go because we had previously seen it all during a previous visit to Dearborn. From all accounts, it was enjoyed by all who attended. Following the Artists Fair and light refreshments, the Dealer's Fair opened with a large number of dealers, including one from Canada and one from France. This convention has the largest number of first-time attendees, 31, of any convention. Marion and I were "mentors" to the first timers and met with them following the Artists Fair to welcome them and answer any questions they might have. One of the first time attendees was a man from Pakistan. He was interested in knowing if there were other PCA, Inc. members in Pakistan, India or other Middle Eastern countries. Unfortunately, the answer was no.


Lobby Poster

The weather in Dearborn was cool and rainy on Thursday. It was Spring in Michigan and many trees and flowers were in beautiful full bloom, though allergens were also abundant. Marion developed an allergic cough from the allergies and was not feeling well by the end of the convention.

Activities for Thursday, May 16 began with President Phil Edelman welcoming everyone. He was presented with a Pakistani hat and shawl by Khero Ghulam Sarwahr, the PCA member from Pakistan. Phil seemed to enjoy these accoutrements because he wore them at all the functions during the remainder of the convention!

Phil in Pakistani hat

Tracee Glab, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Flint Institute of Arts, presented a history of the Flint Institute of Arts and the paperweight collection of Viola Bray, which we would see on Friday.

The programs during the day included Damon MacNaught's "10th Anniversary, a Retrospective", Tony Graham's "Whitefriar's Design and the Influence of the U.S. Collectors", "The Scottish Design Heritage" by Alan Thornton, "We Love to be Remembered: Portraits" by Tony Beadell and "Mirabilia", a video by Richard Loesel, a paperweight artists from France.

Welcome to the FIA!

Flint Institute of Arts

Paperweight Exhibit at
the Flint Institute of Arts

On Friday, May 17, all who wished to do so boarded buses for a drive of a couple hours to Flint, MI, the home of the Flint Institute of Arts. The FIA is a VERY nice small museum, featuring a large collection of modern and antique paperweights, (displayed very effectively), several galleries of modern art pieces, including a large number of glass works, a gallery of African Art, gift shop, meeting room a cold glass studio and a very well equipped hot glass studio. A number of paperweight artists were working in the hot glass studio doing collaborative pieces (which were silent auctioned on Saturday evening) and in the cold glass studio. The artists included Damon MacNaught, Mayauel Ward, David Graeber, Mike and Sue Hunter, Colin Richardson, Alison Ruzsa, Cathy Richardson and Gordon Smith. A very nice lunch of sandwiches, chips, cookies and soft drinks was served. The return trip to Dearborn was uneventful, except for some not unexpected traffic slowdowns!

Antique and Whitefriars Exhibits

The Dealer Fair included an excellent exhibit of antique paperweights from a private collection and an exhibit of Whitefriars paperweights, curated by Tony Graham from private collections. Based on the activity in the Dealer Fair, a lot of attendees were finding goodies to take home!

MacNaught & Sherwin pulling cane

MacNaught & Smith

The hotel was very nice with pleasant staff and an excellent restaurant. The Park West Gallery At The Henry had a gallery in the lobby area and nearly every wall in the public areas was covered with original art work for sale by the gallery.

Mayauel Ward, Damon MacNaught, and Gordon Smith

Saturday, May 18 began with another nice breakfast buffet and then went to the final day program. Phil held forth in his Pakistani hat and shawl and brought the meeting to order. John Hawley gave an interesting presentation "Massachusetts Glass Paperweights: From the Weird to the Wonderful." John always has some interesting observations regarding New England paperweights!

The morning business meeting disclosed that the Association is financially sound and is well on its way to another two years of serving paperweight collectors from around the world. Speaking of that, in addition to the members from the United States, attendees were from Canada, Scotland, Germany, Pakistan, United Kingdom, France, and Australia.

The afternoon meeting included the silent auction of the Artist Demonstration Pieces and the Identification Clinic. In my years of attending the PCA, Inc. conventions, this ID Clinic had the most ever entries for identification. The identifying experts were Jim Lefever, Eric Jump and Alan Thornton, all of whom were stumped by a number of the entries!

Hot Shop in Action

More Hot Shop Action

The afternoon brought the final opening of the Paperweight Art Expo (dealer fair), which was open to the public. I do not know if any visitors attended. Based on the activity in the Expo, attendees were taking advantage of the opportunity to take home another beautiful piece of glass.

The closing banquet was a festive event, with a number of door prizes, donated by generous artists and dealers, being awarded to lucky recipients, including Marion!

Gordon Park assumed the Presidency of PCA, Inc. by receiving the glass gavel and a Tennessee-style, "raccoon fur" cap from outgoing President Phil! We said goodbye to old friends and to some new ones that we met during the convention. The Board of Directors and staff did an excellent job of choosing a convention site and planning the convention. We look forward with interest to learning the location of the 2021 convention.

Artists Fair