Winona artist turns paperweights into works of art

Cathy Richardson combines glass blowing & nature

It might be something that would normally go unnoticed on your desk.
But one Winona artist takes the age-old art of making glass paperweights to a whole new level.

“The paperweight tradition started in Europe,” says artist Cathy Richardson, owner of Touchstone Glass in Winona.

“Workers left Europe and immigrated to the United States, so it started later in this country.”

As Cathy slowly turned a piece of glass over an open flame she explained, “I make a lot of my work over this very small torch. I spend many, many hours at the torch. It takes anywhere from 5 to 20 hours to make the work that goes into one paperweight.”

“What I really like best about hot glass is the fine detail you can do when you make paperweights.”

The fine details Cathy puts into her paperweights is what makes them stand out from others.

Cathy has help creating her pieces of art, “My husband, since he retired, has taken over some of the responsibilities for doing the cutting and polishing that has to be done on the work, on the pieces.”

Cathy looks up and explains, “I’m just trying to cool it to make sure it doesn’t slide around.”

One of Cathy’s favorite parts of making her work is the reaction others have when they see it, “I think that art comes alive when people hold it in their hands and get a chance to look at it, and turn it, and examine it. The expressions on their faces when they get to hold it and look down into it is amazing.”

“It is a very difficult process, it’s a very challenging process, but when it works, it’s sort of like magic.”

Cathy’s paperweights represent aspects of nature, specifically the critical habitats in Minnesota and endangered plants. If you want to take a closer look at her work, stop by Touchstone Glass in Winona.

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