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No Green Berries or Leaves -Reviews


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PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS:
"This engaging autobiography by the artist Paul J. Stankard...is a testament to his strong creative and entrepreneurial spirit and lifelong quest for excellence. It is a straightforward account by a mature artist eager to acknowledge the art community that has nourished him. And it is a triumph over adversity." - Vera E. Kaminski, Reviewer for American Craft Magazine, Vol. 68, No. 1


"This very special and personal collection of autobiographical essays by one of the world's master glass artists provides intimate insights into Paul Stankard's life and work. The book is charming, heartfelt and uplifting, a glimpse into the life of one of the United States' most respected and admired national treasures." - Beverly M. Copeland, Glass Focus, Vol. 21, DEC/JAN 2008


"While short in length (183 pages, not including the Foreword and Preface), No Green Berries or Leaves is densely packed with feeling and reflection. Despite the weight of the material, it is a quick and easy read, owing to the fact that the voice which comes through is Paul's. It resembles more a story he might share over a cup of coffee rather than a piece of print. It is this quality, coupled with the way the book is broken down into small bites of his life rather than chronological chapters, that is the underlying strength of the book. No lofty phrasing or clinical assessments are found here, just plain words written with warmth, thought, and honesty. ...For the paperweight enthusiast, this book offers a rare look into the heart of a master craftsman, delving into what originally inspired him to take up the torch to recreate those lovely handfuls of glass, what drives him to push the boundaries of the genre, and how the medium's siren call draws him ever closer into communion with its mysteries." - Paperweight Collectors Association Quarterly Newsletter, #168, January 1, 2008


"Like his work, which reveals and explores the root systems of plants, the book offers an unvarnished look beneath the surface of an extraordinary life. Told with honesty and the unbridled enthusiasm familiar to anyone who knows Stankard, this autobiography follows the artist from his earliest years...." - Glass Quarterly, No. 109, Winter 2007


"I found the book easy and delightful to read. His stories give a personal insight into this most recognized paperweight artist and leave you feeling that you have personally known and understood him for years. Some of the stories are funny, some are touching, and some explain his intellectual and artistic blooming. His spiritual core values, work ethics, and artistic integrity become clearly obvious. ...I would certainly recommend the book to anyone interested in knowing more about the personal life and values of Paul Stankard..., and yes, the passage containing "No Green Berries or Leaves" is explained in the book -- but you'll have to read it to find out!" - Art Elder, Newsletter Editor, Paperweight Collectors Association of Texas, Inc.


COMMENTS FROM READERS:
"... this is a story about a man who was shamed unfairly in his early years because he was dyslexic, but who then went on to become a world class Michelangelo in the field of glass sculpture. The residue of these events provides an example others may follow.... it offers inspiration for everyone who may chance to come across his words. One of the best features of the book is the manner in which it reflects how the author became a recognized figure in his field because he was determined to let nothing stop him. Even the absence of any formal program of art education wasn't allowed to hinder him from achieving his ultimate goal." - Burt Wasserman, Painter and Retired Professor of Art History, Rowan University


"Paul Stankard's "No Green Berries or Leaves", is a fascinating account of one artist's journey from day one to a prominent position in the world of glass. The book is well focused, as his life has been. What is especially significant about Paul is his attitude that nature is sacred, and he thinks of himself, "as a monk in the studio celebrating God's mysteries." He also hopes his work expresses his "environmental theology." It is good that Stankard also included some of his poems, which are verbal reflections of his glass work." - David Caccia, Sculptor


"Paul, I have just finished your book. ...I could identify with many of your challenges and was reminded of the ways we work around them. I found your writing consistent and easy to read. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but overall inspiring." - D. Randall


"Dear Paul, I purchased your book at the Wenonah Historical Society meeting after your fine presentation. The book is wonderfully written and it emotionally touched me. I did not realize the tremendous struggle you had to achieve your goal of perfection. ...you have achieved success both by your beautiful glass art creations and a book that should inspire generations to come with your 'never give up' determination. Thank you!" - C. Forsman, NJ


"Aloha Paul! You write as eloquently as you teach, and your book was an absolute pleasure to read. ... the writing is so very good at sharing who you are. I just finished the book tonight, and to be honest, I read it as slow as I possibly could so it might not ever be over. Thank you for giving me so much inspiration." - Jessica Landau, Penland 07 student, from Haleiwa, HI


"Good Day! I just received your new book in the mail today, and haven't put it down since. It is a very enjoyable read, especially for a guy like myself that is trying to make a living as a glass artist. This is the first book that I have read about glass art that is more from a creative standpoint than a 'hey this is how I got here and this is what I do' kind of format. The essays remind me of reading essays by famous modern painters such as Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh. And in your own right you are along there with them, except that your canvas is made of glass. Thank you for putting this book together, it is truly an inspiration." - Jason A. Giusti


PRE-PUBLICATION ENDORSEMENTS:

"Paul is the greatest and most interesting paperweight maker that has ever lived. His book is a fascinating achievement." - Dale Chihuly, Chihuly Studio, Seattle, WA


"I have been a close witness of Paul Stankard's intellectual and artistic blossoming. His monumental determination and commitment to integrity in overcoming his considerable deficits is truly inspiring. This ingenuous account of his personal Odyssey is a privileged, intimate look at the ongoing creative process of a modern master." - Richard Rosenfeld, owner/director Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia, PA


"Paul Stankard has long been acknowledged as the master flameworker in America; who knew he could write, too? Stankard creates a touching and authentic voice, with which he narrates his personal journey from dyslexic schoolboy to internationally known glass artist. The spiritual core at the center of his life and his art shines through on every page." - Ulysses Grant Dietz, Curator of Decorative Arts, Curator of the Ballantine House, The Newark Museum, Newark, NJ


"Paul Stankard's charm, directness, and modesty come through in every sentence of this memoir. His is a gentle spirit, filled with the joy of life and the satisfaction of artistic creation. Any reader will come away from this book with a new friend." - David Revere McFadden, Chief Curator, Museum of Arts & Design, New York, NY


"World renowned artist Paul Stankard, who pioneered modern flameworking techniques in glass art, insightfully reflects upon his life-long personal challenges with dyslexia and how he overcame these obstacles in his continuing pursuit of knowledge. As one of the eminent glass artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, his is a story that inspires, educates, and encourages us all. He has earned our deepest admiration." - Dr. Anne Steele, President, Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio


"Paul Stankard's autobiography gives a very personal account of his journey as an artist and as such brings home for me how much of an inspiration he was to me as an artist. This book is a wonderful account for all to understand the process of becoming a creative being." - Shane Fero, Studio Glass Artist, President of the Glass Art Society


“Paul Stankard tells a spirited and personal story of achievement with the grace and humility of one who treasures life and values learning. Stankard’s passionate journey in glass and his life as an artist and educator is beautifully told.” - Jean W. McLaughlin, Director, Penland School of Crafts, Spruce Pine, NC


"Salem Community College is proud to boast that Paul Stankard is a distinguished alum. As you read No Green Berries or Leaves you will understand why Paul is respected, admired and loved by the SCC family. He is an inspirational teacher, mentor and cheerleader for our students and the glass art program. I call him our 'roving ambassador' and most importantly, 'friend'." - Dr. Peter B. Contini, President, Salem Community College, Salem, NJ


"America's premier lampworker has written a richly detailed emotional reminiscence of his search to find a meaningful life. This book gives the reader a glimpse into his life and how through extraordinary perseverance he eventually transformed the lampworker's torch from its historic tradition into a compelling tool for contemporary glass artists." - Henry Halem, Professor emeritus, Glass Studies, Kent State University, OH; First president of the Glass Art Society


"Beauty is an essential element of Paul’s art—he doesn’t share the disdainful attitude of some in the contemporary art world—it is an expression of the divine, a source of ecstatic delight." - Dawn Bennett, Executive Director, Urban Glass, New York, NY


"Paul Stankard has been an inspiration to so many during a career dedicated to bringing us closer to nature in his remarkable work. By reading his autobiography, we can understand how Paul himself was inspired to create his amazing art." - Dan Klein, Ph.D., former director in charge of 20th century decorative arts at Christie's, London


"In this honest and intimate autobiography, Paul Stankard describes his life and his work in unabashed detail. Guided by his faith and supported by his loving wife and family, he has led an ideal life, not so much out of good fortune, but out of living and working in goodness. Here is a man who has gotten it right, and who has taken the time to share it with us in the very medium that is most difficult for him. We are all the richer for it." - Robert Mickelsen, Glass Artist, Melbourne, FL


"Paul's story is inspirational to any of us who have been challenged by life and all of its trials. The overcoming of his personal difficulties is a lesson that any of us can learn from." - Jon Kuhn, Artist and Friend, Jon Kuhn Studios, NC


"The book touches all aspects of Paul and his accomplishments in both his life and in glass." - Phil O'Reilley, Olympic Color Rods, Seattle, WA


"Paul Stankard’s autobiography, No Green Berries or Leaves is not unlike his breathtaking glass paperweights. Like glass itself, the book demonstrates both humble transparency and tremendous strength. Readers are invited to witness Stankard’s learning difficulties from childhood and how he overcame severe obstacles to become the most important and accomplished paperweight artist in the world. Stankard is clear about the purpose of sharing his personal journey: he hopes it will inspire others with dyslexia or other challenging personal circumstances to persevere in the face of difficulties. Stankard had to “learn how to learn.” I hope his example will jump off the pages and into the lives of educators and parents who seek to encourage young people struggling with emotional, intellectual, or physical disabilities. And to all young artists, Stankard offers a heritage that is full of creative passion, artistic integrity, and the pursuit of excellence. That contribution is almost as great as the thousands of paperweights which are treasured in museums and collections around the world." - Carol Baldwin, author of Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Middle School, educational consultant, and freelance writer on glass-related art, NC