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Heart of Glass - Blenko Glass

Blenko Glass is a West Virginia treasure that spans generations. Nothing symbolizes the state of West Virginia better or more beautifully than Blenko Glass. We will discuss current and former craftsmen and designers and how important it is that Blenko and West Virginia glass be appreciated and valued by the younger generation.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Blenko Glass Company. Water Glasses.

C418L Large Dimple Glass Crackled
Tangerine coloration will vary both light and dark. No two pieces are exactly alike.
6" Tall, 16 oz.
I inherited a set of 8 and a matching pitcher from my NaNa.  I was very surprised to see this item in the current Blenko Glass catalog.
If you do not own Blenko Glasses - let me recommend this set.  My nana used them most every special occasion for a couple decades.  I now use them for lemonade during summer months.
They are heavy.  The color is magnificent.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mike Hale pieces for sale

As promised in Wednesday's Article, below please find a list of holiday glass pieces by local Glassblower Mike Hale.
These pieces are all beautiful and incredibly affordable - wonderful hand made in WV presents for anyone on your list!
Snowflake-$10.00
Icicle-$5.00
Hummingbird and stand-$20.00
Bell-$25.00
Heart-$5.00






To place and order please contact:
mike.hale  -at - matricinnovates.com

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Blenko Glass Company. Water bottles

Blenko Glass Water bottle - available in a dozen colors.    
Diamond Optic Water Bottle
8" Tall holds 36 fl. oz.
Tangerine color varies from light to dark and no two pieces are alike.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Small Business Saturday

Miss B wants to remind you all to Shop Small and support local businesses this Small Business Saturday!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Great things are happening today!

Our very own Katie Lee  is on Today giving Turkey Day hints and recipes.

WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY  -  PRIDE OF WEST VIRGINIA  Marching Band Is in the Macy's Parade -  9:45  is the time we should be seeing them.

Tomorrow November 25  -  Blenko Will Be OPEN! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Q and A with WV Scientific Glass Blower, Mike Hale

Readers,

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing a local Scientific Glassblower, Mike Hale of MATRIC.  
 Scientific glassblowers provide highly specialized glass apparatus for use in laboratory work. A West Virginia native, Mr. Hale is the only glassblower working in Research and Development in the state.

Interview Below.
Watch the blog later in the week for opportunity to buy some of Mr. Hale's holiday pieces!

 

I read in your Matric bio that you learned Scientific Glassblowing from your father -
Where did your dad work?  How did your dad learn this craft?  How long was he a glassblower?
 
My Dad got his first job with DuPont in the early 50's. He got a lay-off notice in 1958 I believe. He never returned to DuPont but shortly there after started working for Union Carbide. He worked in several different fields started out in construction where he continued to bid out into other fields such as millwright, rigger, pipe fitter to name a few. He started working in the lab at Institute in the late 60's where he became good friends with the glassblower. He would spend most of his spare time watching and learning from him. The gentleman got ill and had to retire, but before he did he was able to train my father to take his place. He worked at the Institute plant until 1978. He then transferred to the Tech  Park in South Charleston to take over the glassblowing duties for the labs.
He worked at the park until he retired in 1992 He had over 20 years in as a glassblower when he retired. He trained me to take his place.
I am working with the same equipment my father used that has been in the glass shop since the early 60's.
I have been here almost 25 years now. I was fortunate enough to be able to buy all of my glassblowing equipment from Dow Chemical after my lay-off. This allowed me to be able to stay in the area and work for MATRIC for witch I am most grateful! 

 Do you know of any other scientific glass blowers in WV?  

I believe I am the only scientific glassblower still working in the R&D industry in the state of West Virginia. West Virginia University does have a glassblower that works in the chemistry department but  I'm not sure what his capabilities are.

What is your educational background?  Is this type glass work part of any college curriculum? What is the timeline for training/apprenticeship? 
Do you know of y any schools or apprenticeship programs for people interested in scientific glass blowing? 
How many years before you mastered the skill?

I have no formal training in glassblowing. I was taught by my father and worked with him for 4 years before I was doing it on my own. I would say I have never fully masters glassblowing. I continue to learn and gain knowledge every year. In the scientific glassblowing industry it takes 10 years to be considered a master craftsman. Salem Community College in New Jersey offers a 2 year associate in applied science degree. After graduation students still face 4-6 years of apprenticeship period to become a journeyman glassblower.

 What types of items do you make for work? 
I make a wide range of scientific glassware for use in the labs at MATRIC. Glass columns, condensers, distillation equipment, air-free glassware to name a few. I also do a lot of repairs and modifications to existing glassware. I make and design glassware that is needed quickly and that cannot be purchased out of a catalog or on line. 

 
How did you discover you also have a talent for decorative glass blowing? 
I have always liked working with glass. So when I come to work its actually fun, especially if I'm asked to make something challenging. I love Christmas and thought it would be cool to learn how to make glass Christmas ornaments. I basically  learned by having an idea of what I wanted to make and keep shaping the glass until it looked like what I thought it should look like. So in other words just a whole lot of figuring out how to make an ornament and then keep making it until you get it right. It is really hard to explain how its made. One has to see it for themselves to understand the process.

Do you have any favorite pieces you have created? 

I like making hummingbirds and icicle ornaments. They are fun to make and people seem to like them. I also like making bells. They are fully functional and I tell people do not be afraid to ring them, they are quite tough despite looking very delicate.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Gearing up for Thanksgiving Dinner - Blenko Glass Company.

At our home,  we use Blenko Glass bowls for serving dishes at our parties.
If you aren't using your Blenko.  Please start.  Blenko is factory glass, made to be used.
It is durable.
It probably should not be put in the dishwasher,  but can be used year after year for serving.  The key is to rinse and wash and dry after use.
If you are hosting the Turkey Day meal,  consider BLENKO as an addition to your formal place settings.
Our family is Wedgewood Runnymede
Blenko Glass scallop bowl

Blenko Glass cabbage bowl
, and Lennox Eternal -  most every color at Blenko will combine with the Lennox Eternal.  The Runnymede loves the peach color from the 80s and the new pinks,  the ebony and the crystal go with any pattern.
Photos of Bowls currently available at Blenko.
Many additional colors are available.
   When you purchase a BLENKO GLASS bowl you are purchasing piece of West Virginia history and a bowl that will last your life time.
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