William Manson, Snr. (Scotland): Willie Manson – the Van Gogh of glass amphibians – has a unique style developed over a lifetime of working with glass. He can make any kind of paperweight. He was an apprentice glassblower under Paul Ysart in 1966 and has been developing his style ever since. That’s coming close to fifty years now. He told me he especially likes to makes weights with reptiles and amphibians because they “are the classics of paperweights.” Willie’s weights will be the classics of the future. His salamanders and ducks, among others, are some of the most pleasing in appearance of all lamp-worked creatures out there, not as a mere copy of the real thing but more as a tribute to it through art. As an artist, Willie does not confine his artistry to the limiting constraints of the natural world – his apple branch can have a blossom and a fruit at the same time. If you want some paperweights with a direct link to the masterpieces of yesteryear, here they are.
PW1416. William Manson Museum Piece. Colorado National Monument. The first of the National Park Paperweights series. I started with this one since it is close to where I live. The rare collared lizard is one of the most beautiful lizards in the US, and I do not believe one has previously made its way into a glass paperweight. Condition is new/perfect. Numbered 1/10 and signed William Manson Snr 2010. 3 1/8 inch diameter; 2 1/4 inches tall; one pound and one ounce. $250
PW1512. William Manson Museum Piece. Olympic National Park. Second in the National Park Paperweight series. Willie makes great salamanders and this is no exception. The first introduction of the long-toed salamander into the paperweight world. Shelf fungi grow on the branch and ferns decorate the mossy ground. Hold a bit of the forest floor in your hand. Numbered 4/10 and signed William Manson Snr 2010. 3 1/8 inch diameter; 2 1/4 inches tall; one pound and three ounces. $250
PW1612. William Manson Museum Piece. LE of 10. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Third in the National Park Paperweight series. I believe this is the first introduction of the rare Organ Pipe shovel-nosed snake into a paperweight. They are just one of many interesting snakes in this stretch of desert. Numbered 3/10 and signed William Manson Snr 2011. 3 inch diameter; 2 1/4 inches tall; one pound and one ounce. $250
PW2447. Willie Manson Acadia National Park Museum Piece. LIMITED EDITION OF TEN. This is the fourth in the National Park Series. Consider the amount of experience that went into one of these. Willie was a teenage apprentice to The Old Master Paul Ysart himself back in the 60s, and he trained closely with him for years. When Paul left Caithness to form his own glass company, Willie went with him. The influence of the old master is present if not channeled when it comes to sculptures such as these incredible ducks. Really astounding when you think about it. This pair of golden eye ducks is sleek and smart — a beautiful expression of God’s work. And Willie did a great job, one only possible as developed and practiced over a life-long course of study. Likewise with la flora—watery lilies … a simple yet balanced bouquet of color and form perfectly balancing the ducks. Two ducks and three blooming water lilies—you get a lot of intricate lampwork from one of the greatest lamp-workers of all days. Signed on the base “William Manson Snr 2012 10/10”. 3 1/8 inches in diameter; 2 3/8 inches tall; one pound and four ounces. $250