Paul J. Stankard
(Attleboro, Massachusetts, 1943 - )
Paul J. Stankard's career is a testament to the the American dream of success through hard work. He was born the second oldest of nine children in a blue-collar, Irish-Catholic family in Massachusetts. He struggled with academics thoroughout school, leading his parents to encourage him to pursue a trade. He enrolled in a vocational studies program after graduation from high school, and studied glass blowing for scientific apparatuses. Stankard perfected this skill and enjoyed a sense of accomplishment.
For ten years, he worked in the scientific glass field and landed his dream job at a major chemical company in Philadelphia. Despite his success, Stankard found himself anxious and unhappy in this position. His skills perfected, he began to long for a new challenge—the freedom and creativity found in art glass. He decided to teach himself how to make glass paperweights, inspired by an article in "Woman’s Day" magazine on antique paperweights. He decided that if he could master this craft, he would leave his job and start a career in studio glass. He finally made the decision to leave his career as a glass technician, and started his journey as an artist in 1972. This was an exciting time for Stankard. He received confidence from his newfound talent, and a recent diagnosis of dyslexia helped explain his academic challenges. All of his life, he had struggled with school, especially reading. He found that audio books and texts allowed him greater comprehension, and he submerged himself in the classics. He was liberated by this knowledge, and saw that he had a second chance to become educated in the way he wished.
In the eighties, Stankard transformed his work by making art glass forms in which he focused on mystical and metapysical themes in nature. He has been particulary inspired by artists in many media, including Vivaldi, Whitman, and Pollock, primarily because of their brazen originality. This focus inspired his "Botanical Series" and the "Orbs" series. Over more than twenty years, Stankard has built a solid career as an artist and enjoyed significant success in the world of art glass, specializing in flameworked glass.
Amelia Hobson, Intern