Orchids Celebration

By Louise Irvine

The American Orchid Society is celebrating its Centennial this month in Florida with a gala at the Biltmore Hotel and exhibits at Fairchild Botanical Gardens. The society’s dedication to orchid conservation continues unabated after 100 years as deforestation has led to the disappearance of many orchids in their natural habitat. Glass artist, Paul Stankard, has been inspired by native orchids since childhood and we are highlighting his latest work in our Believe the Impossible season to celebrate the International Year of Glass.

Paul Stankard was 13 years old when he was given an American Flyer bike for his birthday. Pedaling through the woods near his home in Southern New Jersey, he came across some beautiful pink flowers. He gathered a bouquet for his Mom, only to be reprimanded by her for picking the endangered Pink Lady Slipper orchids. He was blissfully unaware of the state’s $5 fine for picking native orchids. Fast forward 65 years and Paul is still fascinated by Pink Lady Slippers and other orchid varieties.

During the 1980s, Paul’s glass paperweights were featured in the magazine of the American Orchid Society. At that time, he used to ramble through the New Jersey Pine Barrens studying all types of native flowers. Around 50 wild orchids are native to this area and he has created clusters of the flowers for his series of Botanical sculptures as well as for his Orbs. The 360-degree magnification of Paul’s spheres offers a new perspective on his floral clusters and the form continues to excite him daily. Recently he worked with Barry Art Museum in Norfolk, VA to produce a video of his orb-making process.

It's astonishing to see how Paul creates his tiny orchids petal by petal and encapsulates them in crystal. Believe the Impossible as you watch the video and see some of Paul’s incredible orchid studies in the Art of the Flame exhibit at WMODA. Paul offers insights into his creative energy in his new book Inspiration from the Art of Paul Stankard which will be published on May 24. In this guide for nurturing personal creativity, Paul provides “A Window into my Studio and Soul” and shares stories of his personal challenges and successes through decades of making glass art.

Read more about Paul J. Stankard...

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 - Brilliant Botanicals
Paul J. Stankard - Beauty Beyond Nature

Read more about orchids at WMODA

Orchid Jewels
Orchid Mania at WMODA