Artglass Paperweights - Juniper Home

Artglass Paperweights


My Grandma Johnson collected these pretty glass paperweights and I’ve always loved them too, so I pick up pieces here and there at flea markets and on travels. Ebay and Etsy have some beautiful options.

Grandma immigrated to the US from Sweden in 1918, when she was just 19 years old. Here’s a photo of her at home, which was a cottage on an estate called Parkstugen where her father was the gardener. This was taken not long before they sailed for NYC. See one of the artglass balls here?

Right after we moved to the city last year, my parents were visiting and we made a trip out to Ellis Island. We were able to look up Grandma and her parents on their ship’s register record. It was a really cool experience to walk around the island and imagine what she must have been feeling and thinking there as a 19 year old girl.

There’s a funny story I love that once Grandma and her family had been given clearance to leave Ellis Island and go to Manhattan, the first thing Grandma wanted to do was eat some fruit. It had been a long boat ride and she was ready for fresh produce. Grandma went to a fruit stand and bought an “American apple” and took a big bite only to be surprised by the bitter flavor, and she spit it out. Later she discovered that she had tasted her very first tomato that day! (crazy to think they didn’t have tomatoes in all parts of Sweden way back when!)

I love filling my home with things that remind me of places and people I really love. Do you have any special things you collect to remember family by?

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28 thoughts on “Artglass Paperweights

  1. What a sweet collection.. always better when they connect you to the past. Love that photo of your Grandma too! I have a whole lot of war medals from different ancestors, I need a great wa to display them though :)

  2. My great aunt collected these too. I have a few of hers, and just love them. One of the ones I have looks almost like there is candy embedded in it.

  3. Beautiful story and artglass paperweights too.
    I love my photo collection of my relatives especially the one of my Dad at his first communion.

  4. I love old family stories and heirlooms. The tomato story reminded me of my grandpa who came from Czechoslovakia. He was travelling by train from NYC to Chicago after arriving in the US and he ran out of money for food. Someone gave him a banana and peanuts. He had never seen either one and had no idea how to eat them. Amazing how our lives have changed in just a few generations!

  5. Thank you for sharing your Grandma's story. It is a shame that it takes us to "mature" to really appreciate our families, past and present. Love your blog and your inspirations!

  6. What an awesome story! In my family, it's marble eggs. My grandmother gives each of us grandchildren (all 29 of us) a single marble egg each Easter. I have marble eggs everywhere!

  7. You resemble your grandma, very pretty. I have a great collection of Stueben glass that I keep nicely out of the reach of little toddler fingers :)

  8. I met the Pews' Grandma Johnson when she was near 100. She spoke of eating the "apple" – just as you tell it. Must be the same person . . .????
    She was lovely and still so sharp!

  9. I went to Finland in 1976 when I was 16. We decided to make pizza for the family I was staying with, since they had never had it before. There was no such thing as tomato sauce in any store we went to. I ended up buying tomato paste from a specialty store (a VERY expensive can of tomato paste!). Tomatoes were pretty much unknown at the time, even in 1976, perhaps because the growing season in Scandinavia is so short. I'm sure they're much more available now.

  10. I collect egg cups – the kind you eat soft boiled eggs out of. My mother was the only person I knew who made soft boiled eggs, and my sister and I loved them. I like the idea of having a dish that only has one specific use. And I'm usually able to find antique egg cups on etsy and ebay with relative ease.

  11. My grandma collected white shell necklaces from Hawaii, one of her favorite places. I am in the process of having a few of them framed in a vintage shadow box as we speak. Sweet and beautiful :)

  12. We collect all sorts of things .. frogs ( candlesticks mostly), match strikers and art but I love our small collection of artglass paperweights !

  13. I collect vintage Pyrex because my mama had it in our kitchen growing up. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that I'm carrying on a tradition. I have two sons, but one day I'd like to pass it on to my granddaughters.

  14. My grandmother had cardinal (the red bird) figurines and art all over her home so I find myself drawn to anything with a cardinal on.

    The glass balls are beautiful and so sweet.

  15. I love how you pulled these together. It's such a perfect collection of colors and patterns. Makes me rethink how to pull little things together and make them look so smart. Thank you for a good lesson today. :)

  16. hi, there!
    ooooh, can I just tell you how much I adore these paper weights?!
    I have always loved them, I actually own two—almost a collection—and now I will be on a mission to acquire a few more. I love your blog–it's one of those blogs that if, while I am reading it, I see something I love, I must get right up out of my seat and rearrange things because I am inspired. LOL! Thank you!!!!

  17. What a wonderful story! How scared and excited your grandmother must have been! I love hearing stories about grandparents – we have a similar one when my grandmother was at the fair with her 10 (!) kids. One of them got an orange, but wouldn't eat anymore of it. My grandmother tried it and declared it rotten and threw it away. It was their first grapefruit. :)

    PS: This is my first time on your blog. Love it! How inspiring!

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