2007: Being new to paperweight collecting, having lots of enthusiasm, little knowledge and a can-do attitude, I charged into collecting like a bull in a glass shop, not the best way to start an effective collection. I started with 8 paperweights and loved them. I quickly figured (not sure why) that a large number was a good thing and knowing nothing about the ancients or the art or class of the old school, I started with modern weights available through gift shops in our area. I had collected all my life and this was to be my new focus.
My local area is not a bastion for paperweights and I had the choice of Chinese or Chinese. Not to put too fine a point on it, I started with modern Chinese weights. Then I discovered op-shops, antique stores and markets and branched out into more, you guessed it, Chinese weights, with the odd import from Scotland, America or home grown in Australia.
2008: Then the greatest joy of all for a culture locked weight lover in Australia, I found eBay and the other online auction sites. The scope available, once I mastered leaving my home country to search the world, was gob-smacking. There was so much to bid on and me with so little knowledge and a limited budget but I made a start at collecting all the same.
It was then I decided I needed reference material. My local library was as bereft as I was, so I bid on a few books on eBay and discovered an ordered world of privileged weights, great weights, creative weights, cultural weights and then there were my weights. Boy what a let down feeling. Let me hasten to add that it was not as bad a start as I first imagined. I had come to understand the cleverness of the makers, the mesmerising effect of a large group clustered on a shelf and the all encompassing desire to acquire more and to at least own a few of the masters sometime in my remaining years.
2009: I had about 100 examples by that stage but loved each and every one in a simplistic way. The weights were always so colourful when the afternoon sun struck through my western window and my visitors dumbstruck and held in awe at the magnitude of my self indulgence. Some so moved, they couldn’t wait to get home and drag out that precious treasure consigned to their garage, to gift to me as a sign of solidarity or indulgence of my hobby.
All my purchases were financed by selling off ‘collectables’ found in my garage and cupboards with the ‘occasional’ small cash injection to secure a bargain. Most were bought cheaply but occasionally I graduated to a better class of glass, necessitating waiting a little longer to eat than I would normally be want to do, to get that bargain. I also joined the PCA & PCA NZ/Aust Chapter for more support, info and friendship to aid my collecting, as well as the Glass Forums and Caithness Message Board for knowledge & answers.
Then I had the opportunity to visit with a ‘real’ collector in Australia and had an epiphany, a moment when my goals changed and tunnel vision replaced good sense. I wept over a close packed Baccarat, admired Deacons, Raos, Richardson, Caithness & other masterpieces and gained an insight into the world captured by artisans of the true faith. Conversion time! Sorry old China.
Then there are the bargains like an antique, if not slightly damaged, Baccarat I found in a local op-shop for 50 cents. That made my year. And the $200 Don Wreford weight on eBay, that, by a strange bunch of circumstances, I ended up owning for free. The bidding at 2am to grab a St Clair or Gibson sulphide, which I love, and my first year on eBay where Aussies weren’t quite so savvy and I was also able to start a modest Australian collection on the cheap. The rip-offs when a weight arrived not quite as described and the fun of writing off an antique weight as lost in transit only to have it arrive 72 days later via Austria, so close to Australia. I won’t forget the glass egg, half full of water with a plastic rose inside that was given in reverence to my collection.
2010/11: I really started to explore my home grown Aussie scene and acquired some great books, articles and Oz friends that helped me piece together the awesome history of industrial glass & the art glass movement in Australia. The majority of my collection is now Aussie Glass Artists and I am enjoying being in touch with many of them regarding purchases and collecting info. Most are very helpful and approachable. It also looks like we are seeing a resurgence of interest in Australian Art Glass, although the global economic woes are playing a part in curtailing purchases at present.
These stories and my enthusiasm have either bored or entranced friends and acquaintances and still keep me in coffee and conversation at local cafés as I troll for converts or someone who has an antique treasure they would love to bestow upon me.
I have around 400 art glass pieces and paperweights and over 660 photos of my collection on this website, that cover a wide variety of makers. I have included snippets of information and signatures where possible to help you research and collect also. There are some fantastic pieces, but all of them are fun in their own way. I still pray for that bargain masterpiece to cross my path and really enjoy getting lost in the chase, the design and the colours of glass and remain in awe at the skill of the glass artist.
I do hope you enjoy my site, and encourage you to say hi via the contacts page. Some posts are open for comments but due to enormous amounts of spam most are closed, for which I do apologise.