Celestial Spheres

By Louise Irvine

Paul Stankard celebrates his 80th birthday on April 7 and he continues to work daily in his studio creating his beautiful glass orbs. This year, he started a new series entitled Celestial Bouquets which features his magical root people in heavenly settings, some embellished with gold. Arthur Wiener is delighted to have acquired the first pieces in the series for the WMODA collection. Happy Birthday Paul from your friends at WMODA!

The Root of the Matter

Arthur Wiener is a huge fan of Paul’s little root people which are often entwined in his crystal orbs and paperweights. The earth spirits remind Paul of his childhood as he loved to explore under the ground by pulling out clumps of grass complete with roots and insects. They symbolize the unseen energy present in the earth and were influenced by Medieval herbals with woodcut illustrations of mandrake roots in human forms.

Mandrake roots have long been associated with superstitious practices. So many people believed in their potency as an aphrodisiac that theft was discouraged by tales of the mandrake’s lethal scream when pulled from the ground, causing death to all within earshot. Fortunately, Paul’s root people are benign creatures and he jokes to fans that he gets up early to catch them and put them in the glass!

Golden Orbs

 Paul also finds joy in working with gold to embellish his designs and create an otherworldly dimension. Gold is associated with the divine and eternal as well as beauty and power. Gold also represents perfection and humanity’s quest to illuminate and refine. Many spiritualists believe that golden orbs are signs of benevolent angels, who travel to the earthly dimension using orbs as a vehicle for their energy.

Paul began working with gold leaf around 2010 and has found it to be a magical material despite the technical challenges. He continues to rise to these challenges with new concepts such as his Floating Golden Orb with two tiny root people in a bed of gold. We look forward to seeing how his new series of Celestial Bouquets evolve from ethereal lilac clouds to golden cocoons.

See the WMODA collection of Paul Stankard’s art when we reopen the museum.

Listen to Paul’s 80th birthday interview with Shawn Waggoner in Talking out of your Glass.

Tune in to the Paul Stankard podcast now.
Season 8, Episode 1

Read more about Paul Stankard at WMODA

Paul J. Stankard - The Art of the Flame
Paul J. Stankard - Golden Orbs
Paul J. Stankard - Poetry in Glass
Paul J. Stankard - Gardens of Glass
Paul J. Stankard - Orchids Celebration
Paul J. Stankard - Brilliant Botanicals
Paul J. Stankard - Beauty Beyond Nature