One of the living Scottish glass masters, John Deacons, trained at the Edinburgh College of Art and started his career at Strathearn Glass, in 1967. When Strathearn was sold, John Deacons bought all the Strathearn vase moulds. He recalls that it was a good place to work, with new facilities and a large company employer.
However, less than a year later, Stuart Drysdale, the general manager of Strathearn, offered John the chance to join him, Jack Allan, Peter McDougall and others from Strathearn in a new venture, Perthshire Paperweights, which would specialize in high-quality paperweights. John leapt at the chance and described his time at Perthshire Paperweights as "the best apprenticeship you can imagine." And they did indeed make superb quality paperweights. John was involved in every stage of setting up the factory as well as becoming their leading paperweight maker.
But not enjoying the factory environment, John formed his own paperweight company in Crieff, "J" Glass, in 1978, which was a much smaller operation. At that time, he also made paperweights for Saint Kilda Island signed with an StK signature cane. These paperweights were simpler millefiori weights made to market in Europe. But the quality of "J" Glass paperweights was outstanding, and these paperweights are highly sought after by collectors today.
The company was hit by a recession in 1983 and John closed down the factory operation. Preferring the freedom of working alone, making small batches of a design, John set up a much smaller and low overhead studio attached to his house, in 1984, and ran a one man show until his son, Craig, joined him to continue the family tradition into the 21st century. They continue to this day and their motto is "The best is yet to come".
Apart from his traditional millefiori designs, his work is produced in small numbers usually to specific customer requirements. John is greatly influenced by the classical French paperweights and his designs often have a common theme such as portholes and double torsades. But these themes are constantly evolving so that each new weight includes new features and techniques. Another theme has been silhouette canes. These are often combined with an "Upset muslin" or "Lace" ground using jumbled latticino cane to form the background.