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the film
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An intimate portrait of an artistic life

A boy wanders the New England woods, inspired by the beauty that surrounds him. Fascinated by the dew on the Lady Slipper Orchid, the honeybees dancing among the daisies, the lowbush blueberries surrounding the summer marshes. He struggles through school with undiagnosed dyslexia, anxious to please his parents, and searching for life’s meaning. Then, suddenly, he discovers it.

 His path, his profession, his purpose.

Glass. A magical medium. Neither solid nor liquid. Within its molten core Paul J. Stankard pries open a window – revealing his memories, his faith, and his future. He trains in the craft of Scientific glass, and embarks on a fruitful career, only to find something is missing…he has a deep unsatisfied need to create. He makes a leap of faith, abandoning his chosen profession to pursue a clearer vision: to live the life of an artist, to encase nature’s wonder in crystal, and to achieve excellence and acclaim the world over.


This stunning new documentary from award-winning filmmaker Daniel R. Collins paints an intimate portrait of Paul Stankard, exploring his work, his wit, and his wisdom.    

The Artist
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A living master of an ancient medium

Paul Stankard is an internationally acclaimed artist and pioneer in the studio glass movement. He is considered a living master in the art of the paperweight, and his work is represented in more than 70 museums around the world. In 1961, he enrolled in Salem County Vocational Technical Institute’s Scientific Glassblowing program, becoming a master of fabricating complex instruments. In 1972 Paul left industry to pursue his dream of being creative in glass fulltime.

Over his sixty-year artistic journey, he has received two honorary doctorate degrees, one honorary associate degree and many awards within the glass community, most recently the Masters of the Medium Award from Smithsonian's The James Renwick Alliance, Glass Art Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award and American Craft Council College of Fellows. He is an Artist-in-Resident and Honorary Professor at Salem Community College.


Stankard divides his time between flameworking and writing.  He is the author of four books; an autobiography No Green Berries or Leaves: The Creative Journey of an Artist in Glass, an educational resource Spark the Creative Flame: Making the Journey from Craft to Art, a two-section resource guide Craft as Career: A Guide to Achieving Excellence in Art-making, and his newest book Inspiration from the Art of Paul Stankard: A Window into My Studio and Soul. 

The Glass
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Breathtaking beauty encased in crystal

First came the failures. Months of experimenting on nights and weekends in a small utility room; a man on a mission, who had left a stable scientific profession, determined to develop a visual language to express the intricacies of his beloved nature in the secretive medium of flameworked glass.


Slowly but surely, he began to achieve his vision. In the beginning the illusions were deceptively simple; a single daisy suspended in a clear dollop of fragile soda lime glass; a spiderwort, delicately dancing in a disc resembling a dewdrop. Then the artist’s ecosystem grew denser, more complex, fertilized by the words of Whitman, pollinated by the growing interest of art dealers, galleries, and collectors who saw something totally unique in his innovations.


After years of dedication, Paul J. Stankard elevated his craft to a fine art. Hs intricate designs eclipsed the boundaries of the traditional paperweight genre and became something else entirely. His forms evolved in style, structure, and substance, revealing exquisite detail of the referential landscapes he created and tended, and the physical and metaphysical beings that inhabit them.  


Today, Paul’s masterpieces can be found in museums, galleries, and private collections around the world, appreciated by thousands who consider his work to be unparalleled in its scope and style.

Glass Gallery

Just a few of Paul J. Stankard's stunning works of glass art. Photos by Jeff DiMarco.

See more of Jeff's photography here.

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