group of paperweights
in the Barker Collection required the work of an artisan skilled with the torch
or blow-lamp. This third major technique of paperweightmaking, called lampwork,
involved fashioning bits of colored glass from rods into specific shapes that
were ultimately combined into fruit, vegetables, flowers, reptiles, and insects.
A group of lampwork parts were called "set-ups". Delicacy and precision were
required of the skilled artisan when lampworking flora and fauna for paperweights.
Lampworking was a common technique, acquired and practiced by glass artisans
in the production of articles that predated paperweights. Many fine examples
of early lampwork are seen in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Venetian glass
in such objects as covered sheer goblets with glass threads coaxed into winged
serpents with coiled bodies.
Lampworked salamander Attributed to Pantin Late nineteenth century
applied to paperweight designs, lampworking resulted in remarkably realistic
creation. Examples of this highly creative skill are found in a great many paperweights
in the Barker Collection: the superb magnum Pantin salamander, resplendently
colorful snakes, a dainty butterfly over a red and white blossom, and fruit
weights such as the luscious strawberry. Individual lampworked flower set-ups
were carefully made, petal by petal and leaf by leaf. Flat bouquets and three-dimensional
upright crimped bouquets required the skill of extremely talented glassmakers.
Two Clichy flower weights in the collection exhibit imaginative lampwork on
split lengths of millefiori canes creating beautiful flower petals (morning
glory and pink flower).
The Barker Collection has four examples of an American lampwork design that
is known as a Millville Rose. Millville, New Jersey was the home of the Whitall
& Tatum Company, which made utilitarian glassware. An employee there, name
Ralph Barber, is credited with making the first rose in 1905. A rose consists
of a lifelike rose blossom and leaves floating in a clear paperweight above
its base. The construction involves the use of a brass tool called a crimp that
is shaped like a rose. A layer of colored glass is added to the end of a clear
gather. The crimp is pushed into the gather, forming petals of color that extend
up through the clear section, forming a rose. The galssworker removes the crimp,
closes the bottom end of the petals together, and more clear glass is added
so the rose appears to float.
Emil Larson, at various times employed by Dorflinger, Pairpoint, and H. P. Sinclair,
worked at home in Vineland, New Jersey, to make about 100 roses, starting in
1934. The one in the Barker Collection sports shaded petals, which was a trademark
of BarberÕs roses. The Collection also contains a rose made in the 1950s
by Charles Kaziun of Brockton, Massachusetts, and an imported one from China,
where American dealers ordered them from about 1930 to 1938.