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About

PHOTOWEIGHTS - EST. 2001

I’m often asked what inspired me to start PhotoWeights.  The answer has to be my love for antique paperweights that frame illustrated advertising, photographs of country churches, and portraits of loved ones captured under glass more than a century ago.

At a time when the art of personalizing glass paperweights had faded into obscurity, I wanted to re-introduce it to a new generation of crafters using more modern techniques and a variety of different materials.  Since we opened in 2001, tens of thousands of PhotoWeights have been sold.  More importantly, we've seen a resurgence in the art of paperweight design on sites such as Pinterest and Etsy.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

Nearly a year before PhotoWeights came to be, I was designing and creating glass paperweights in my spare time using broken pieces of costume jewelry, antique ephemera, textiles, and small curiosities.  At first I gave them to friends and family.  Before long, I started selling my paperweights at boutiques and antique fairs.  When I was asked to create more and more custom work using my clients images and mementos, this sparked my idea to introduce a line of paperweight kits that virtually anyone could personalize on their own.  My first online store launched in the fall of 2001.

PhotoWeights have been featured within the pages of a variety of magazines that include Country Living, Southern Living, In Style Weddings, House & Home, and Family Circle.  They've also been used in project segments on two episodes of the Martha Stewart Show.

A LITTLE SOMETHING ABOUT ME

I come from a line of crafters.  My maternal grandfather was a plasterer who created movie sets for RKO Pictures during Hollywood’s golden age. His wife, my grandmother, was a seamstress and dressmaker who once worked for Viola Dimmitt, a well-known clothing designer in Los Angeles.  Then there's my paternal grandfather, a metalworker who fabricated stoves in a small factory.  In his spare time, in a workshop behind my grandparents' home, he turned copper, brass, and aluminum into handcrafted lamps, ornate mailboxes, housewares, and other goods.

In addition to running the day-to-day operations of PhotoWeights, I’m also busy working in my brick-and-mortar antique shop.  Both businesses are located in a century-old storefront in De Smet, South Dakota.  De Smet is best known as Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little Town on the Prairie.”  Laura’s father, Charles Ingalls, owned a store that was once located across the street from our building.  It’s a town full of history that attracts Little House on the Prairie fans from near and far.

When I’m not at work, I love traveling and exploring the backroads of South Dakota with my husband.  I also enjoy going to antique stores, flea markets, and auctions to keep the shelves of my antique shop filled.  (I'll admit I keep a few things for myself.)  My other passions include crafting, refinishing antique furniture, genealogy, cooking, baking, and gardening.