Celebrate the Paperweight - A Weekend in Chicago

Oct 01, 2010 - Oct 03, 2010

We had a great time at the Celebrate the Paperweight Weekend event here in Chicago. Collectors came from near and far and it was obvious that one and all enjoyed seeing and talking about paperweights.

It all started with a cocktail party Friday evening that kicked off the new Fall Auction and introduced our special guest artists; Rick Ayotte, Melissa Ayotte, David Graeber and Ken Rosenfeld who had each created special limited edition weights for this event. Guests enjoyed seeing Ben Clark's large format paperweight photography in the Fine Arts Building 2nd Floor Gallery which was followed by fun group dinners at local restaurants.

Saturday morning was a treat. We toured the Rubloff paperweight collection at the Art Institute with our very own special curator, Larry Selman. As many of you know, Larry purchased many of the weights for Mr. Rubloff and it was fun hearing about their relationship and having Larry describe some of the more spectacular weights from the collection.

Later that morning we had lunch at the Cliff Dwellers private club overlooking Grant Park and the Lake Michigan coast line. Through the windows you could see from Soldier Field clear to Navy Pier which, by the way, houses a very large stained glass museum. Al Alschuler spoke about his parents and their collection. Nancy Alfano was introduced as the new Executive Director for the International Paperweight Society Foundation. And, Art Elder put the finishing touch on the luncheon by announcing that all net proceeds from his new book, "The Art of Collecting" will benefit the Foundation.

We returned for an afternoon at the L.H. Selman paperweight gallery where attendees reviewed the new fall auction weights, spent quality time with the guest artists, shopped in the gallery and purchased their very own, signed copy of Art Elder's newest book.

The gala dinner was kicked off with a champagne party with music provided by members of the Chicago Youth Symphony. Wes Clark served as master of ceremonies and kept the evening moving with Tomas the Magician and loads of door prizes which included fabulous paperweights which had been donated by Rick, Melissa, David, Ken and L.H. Selman. Marti Selman created an updated Paperweight Jeopardy game that attracted several contestants although Michael Calleri pretty much dominated the competition and eventually won the $1600 David Graeber paperweight grand prize. The evening finished with an auction of very special weights donated by Daniel Salazar, Melissa Ayotte, David Graeber, Ken Rosenfeld and Rick Ayotte. All five weights reached their reserve prices due to the generosity of some very special collectors which enabled the IPS Foundation to raise almost $4,000.

On Sunday the day was much more relaxed. A casual breakfast in the gallery with mimosas and coffee and an opportunity for the really dedicated collectors to open every drawer in the back room archives viewing well over 1,000+ additional paperweights for sale.

Bags were packed, good byes were said, and finally, late that afternoon, the gallery was picked up and everything put back in its place so that we could be ready to receive visitors Monday morning.

We had a great time. We made several new friends and especially enjoyed seeing old friends too. It was a treat having Larry and Marti Selman join us for the weekend. Even Suzanne Schaefer was able to visit the event all the way from Buenos Aires via a Skype connection.

All in all, it was definitely worth all the work. In fact, we are talking about doing it again next year!