Before paperweights, important documents had to be weighed down by fickle perpetual-motion birds or lower-echelon employees rolled tightly into a ball. Stylishly secure essential leaflets with today's Groupon: for $149, you get a make-your-own-paperweight glass-blowing class for two at Sonoran Glass Art Academy (a $280 value).
Winner of the 2011 LUMIE award for best arts-education program, the Sonoran Glass Art Academy deploys working professionals to mentor students on forging glittering glass artwork. During the three-hour make-your-own-paperweight experience, pairs can absorb furnace glass-blowing basics in the Academy's fully-equipped hot shop—a safer approach than petitioning lessons from nearsighted dragons. Select hues from a color palette to create two to four tennis-ball-sized paperweights, then retrieve your practical creations after five days of finishing work by the Academy's staff. All participants must wear closed-toed shoes and provide evidence that they are not prone to spontaneous juggling.
Sonoran Glass School
Sonoran Glass School may sound like a Hollywood stuntman school, since students are encouraged to play with glass, flame, and saws. However, their in-depth glass-working classes teach pupils how to create delicate objets d'art under the watchful eye of a host of experienced instructors. Torchworking classes teach pupils how to shape their own paperweights and vases out of molten glass, and facet-cutting courses let students create mosaics depicting abstract designs or themselves making mosaics of abstract designs. Kids' and adult classes offer age-appropriate instruction, and an 10-student class cap for most courses ensures plenty of one-on-one time with the teacher.