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The Students of Jennings Bonnell

Photographs by Michael Keller

Glassmaker Jennings Bonnell has shared the secrets of making glass paperweights with a large number of younger West Virginia glassmakers. As you can see here, Jennings' students have learned well.

Each individual maker adds his or her own creative touch — as well as an identifying mark — to each weight. These marks, similar to cattle brands, often combine the initials of the artist with unique or stylized letters. Author James Mitchell provides us with a description of each maker's mark, indicated in parenthesis after each artist's name.

Paperweights by Tommy Goldsmith, Fred Woofter, and Harold Riffle Tommy Goldsmith ("TG") at left, known for somewhat larger five-flower weights; Fred Woofter ("Fw" with small "w" growing out of the lower bar of the "F") made this one-flower weight at center; Harold Riffle ("HR") made this five-flower weight at right.
Edwin Clark(unsigned), top right, is a foreman for Princess House who makes weights with birds in addition to five-flower weights such as this; Douglas Replogle ("DR"), top left, makes glass apples and pumpkins in addition to five-flower weights; Gary Riffle ("GR"), bottom, makes five-flower weights such as this yellow one.
Paperweights by Edwin Clark, Douglas Replogle, and Gary Riffle
Paperweights by Celso Lopez and Darrell Fessler Celso Lopez (small "CL" in a circle, sometimes found on the upper portion of the weight), at right, began making weights in Mexico before coming to West Virginia. His distinctive creations include this diminutive crystal apple. Darrell Fessler ("DF") made relatively few weights, including this blue five-flower example at left.
Paperweights by Chris
Smith, John B. (Benny) Goodwin, Cliff Rock, and Claudia Rexroad Chris Smith (etched "CAS" and date, if marked), at left, makes a variety of glass at CAS Art Glass in Ellenboro, including this small blue rod swirl weight. John B. "Benny" Goodwin (many unmarked signed with an etched signature on the bottom, if at all) at center, made many weights, including this one-flower paperweight; Cliff Rock (etched signature on bottom) and partner Claudia Rexroad have Willow Creek Glass factory in Alum Bridge. Their innovative designs include the purple and amber swirl weight seen at right.
Roger Parker ("RP") at left, makes larger five-flower weights which are proportionally wider than they are tall; Ron Hinkle ("RH," with a reverse "R" conjoined with the "H"), center, makes free-form weights in addition to the more traditional five-flower weight seen here; George Brooks ("GB") made this weight with green and white flowers on a green ground, at right.
Paperweights by Roger Parker, Ron Hinkle, and George Brooks

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