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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.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

I Heart Blenko Glass


- Almost 5 years ago - for Heart of Glass we submitted the first post " I Heart Blenko."

Very little has changed. I'm not a fine arts major, I do not possess a wealth of knowledge about glass or Blenko. I am energetic and I will attempt to help you find answers to your glass questions. We'll help you find a glass community, and perhaps a glass mentor.

This blog is a good place for 'new collectors' as we welcome questions, we have a list of sellers of vintage Blenko in most every state. A list of websites and web dealers, and we

welcome photos from vendors.

Our goal is simple. We want everyone to learn about Made In USA - Glass. While our favorite US glass is Blenko. We welcome your questions and photos re: any Made In US glass.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for your support of Made In USA products. While

Blenko Glass in Milton, WV http://www.blenkoglass.com/ is the primary focus of this blog, we welcome all comments and questions and photos. It has been our tradition to republish the now 5 year old I heart Blenko post.

I Heart Blenko -


This blog will focus on the Blenko Glass Company located in Milton, West Virginia. Twice weekly I'll post on Blenko and WV Glass topics, once a month the post will feature an employee or designer from the present or past. Biweekly I'll post photos of individual Blenko made items, and items that are currently available from Blenko. We will offer some background information on the piece and perhaps the steps/ process used to make the item.

I am NOT a fine arts major, a glass expert or an English/Journalism major. I don't have all the glass answers. I am inquisitive, don't mind asking people for answers - I believe in lifelong learning. This blog will I hope be a place where we can learn together.

If you have been to the Blenko Factory, or are a retired or former glass worker or just have photos of unusual Blenko and / or Blenko stories to share - this is the place - I'd love to see/hear them.

For the last 2 years I have spent all my free time traveling to meet former Blenko and other glass workers and designers. I want to learn more about Blenko and W. Va. made glass. . . and I want YOU to THINK before buy glass...who made the glass. The number of glass factories in the US has declined by almost 72% in the last 15 years.

Together we can stop this trend. Be an advocate for MADE IN WV.

Blenko Glass Factory is located in Milton, W.Va., less than 20 minutes from Huntington, W. Va.

20 comments:

West Virginia Filmmaker said...

That's awesome that you have so much passion for glass.

I'm going to have read your blog regularly to learn more about it myself.

jason brown
http://www.pewterproductions.com/

Anonymous said...

Great idea. Look forward to reading.

Anonymous said...

We share your passion for handblown glass, mainly Blenko. I will take pix of some of our 50+ year old Blenko Lamps and if I can find a way to send them will do so. When we travel through WV on I64 the car automatically turns off the interstate at Milton and stops at the Visitor Center. It is just a natural thing to do. I have also found Blenko pieces in antique malls here in Texas.

wythany said...

Hillary,
I, too, HEART Blenko glass. I own around 50 pieces. (I've probably given another 30 as gifts over the years.) My oldest piece is a crackle vase with rosettes that was a wedding gift to my Mom in 1945; the newest is a Tequila Sunrise vase with a fluted top that just arrived last month from the Visitor Center -- a surprise my husband arranged.

Although I remember my Mom's vase when I was growing up, I didn't fall in love with Blenko until my husband and I moved to Charleston in 1974. I was entranced by all the glass factories in the area -- so many, sadly, are gone now -- but Blenko was always my favorite. There was something very special about the forms and the colors . . .

My first purchase at the Visitor Center was a tall red floor vase with stopper -- still in a prominent place in our living room. Over the years I've added to the collection via occasional visits to the factory, a couple garage sale finds, and especially eBay!

When we were transferred back to the East Coast in June 1983, my cousin, who also lived in Charleston at the time, stood in line at Stone & Thomas to buy me one of the birthday pieces as a farewell gift. It was beautiful, and always had a place of honor on our coffee table. During some home repairs in 1991 (I've never forgotten!), it was broken by workmen. It was in smithereens, and I sobbed. I had loved living in WV so much, and somehow that broken piece severed an intangible tie to the Mountain State.

I tried to locate another one, but no luck. So for whoever is keeping track, there's one fewer '83 piece in existence.

Over the past 23 years (gosh, just realized you weren't even born when my birthday piece was made!) I've been so delighted to see Blenko come to greater national prominence.

Thank you for all the work that you've put into this site. I'll check back often.

If you'd like to get in touch, I've put my email address in the Web Page box.

Regards,
Anne R.
West Chester, PA (but still crazy about WV after all these years away)

Hillary J Homburg said...

wythany,
I somehow didn't get the link to email you my email address- please send your email address to THEBLENKOPROJECT@aol.com
I wasn't born when that Birthday Piece was made but I have one. They are occassionaly up for sale/ I'll keep your address and let you know if/when I see another.
Thank you for your comments, and for sharing your love of Blenko. If you have photos to share I'd love to print them.
Hillary

Greensboro Daily Photo said...

On Thursday, January 6th, the glass collector's club at Replacements, Ltd. in Greensboro, North Carolina will discuss BLENKO glass. The group is led by Dean Six who comes down to NC from WV to lead it. People will bring their Blenko glass for show and share. Of course many people will bring other glass too. The program starts at 7pm but people start arriving between 5:30 and 6:30.

Anonymous said...

So now its 7 years you've been hawking Blenko?
You must be rich, do they pay by the hour or post?
Do you need help with the blog?
I work for less than $25 per hour and co write a number of blogs.
Heather

Anonymous said...

Filmaker
As a Blenko Collector I am dying for copies of the old Blenko films, did you makes these? WOuld I be able to buy a copy from you?
Blenko is long over due for another film, and this time include Damon and the Vintage Glass Museum please.
Missy

Anonymous said...

I'm new to Charleston. Less than ( 6 )six months in this rivercity.
Hilary, I did visit Blenko and bought a dozen Xmas gifts at the factory.
Now I'm writing to ask for help in finding a meditation group or room. From the comments I came to believe a number of Buddhist are readers.
Jeff Winter
OSU Alum

Anonymous said...

You may not possess glass knowledge but I hope to possess your heart.
Sol

Anonymous said...

Hilary,
This winter I am staying in Calif with my neice and her husband. I can not say I miss the harsh east coast winter.
I want to say hello to my blog friends there in WV, Ky, Ohio, NC,.
Roxie how are your grandkids, WVJanis how is your photography, Bruce how are your girls and how aer you?, Phani how do you like being married?, Sol and Lewis - I wish you a good year. Paul, have yuor returned from your tour of duty?
Needless to say, I miss everyone and hope to return to my home in March. This is the first year in 31 years I failed to visit Blenko in December. My love to everyone at Blenko.
Margie Hale

westvirginiajanis said...

Margie Hale:

Yes, at one time, we really had some great conversations going. I haven't done much photographing of glass lately. Maybe when the light is better in spring.

I hope you enjoy California. I love the WV winters-- except for maybe the roads when they are icy. Try to rent the move October Sky if you are homesick for WV.

It seems like more comments are getting through.

Happy New Year to all

WV Janis

westvirginiajanis said...

Margie Hale:

Yes, at one time, we really had some great conversations going. I haven't done much photographing of glass lately. Maybe when the light is better in spring.

I hope you enjoy California. I love the WV winters-- except for maybe the roads when they are icy. Try to rent the move October Sky if you are homesick for WV.

It seems like more comments are getting through.

Happy New Year to all

WV Janis

Anonymous said...

Hilary
Comments! Wonderful - whatever you are doing. Keep doing it.
I have left comments and send photos for months w/o reply.
Surprise today I see 13 comments, and think why not 'try' to get through.
Thank you Glassdoc for allowing comments. Now lets get back to the real purpose of this blog
post photos and ask readers to share info and photos.
Alex

Anonymous said...

I wish I was..

PB

Dr.BOB said...

Three cheers for open comments.
Hilary its been a long 7 years for you - doing the blog - going to dental colege then doing an OSU post doc program.
We are proud of your achievements.
Perhaps if you allow or ask for help from the long time readers
the blog work will be easier.
I'd be willing to be responsible for one post a month - I bet Bruce, WVJanis, Mountain Rita (all caps) Kissin Kate, and many otherw would welcome the chance to monthly send photos or write about what they bought or are selling.
Just a suggestion.
My wife and I faithfully read the blog, and are encouraged always by your devotion to West Virginia and Blenko.
Another suggestion is a monthly update about the factory ? Perhaps ask Walter or Katie to provide each month.
Bob

chitrakahn said...

Oh Joy!
Comment are being allowed.
Its a great New Year!
Happy New Year to everyone.
Blenko Blenko
Blenko long live Blenko!

Anonymous said...

This says for 2 years - - I've been following the blog for 4 years or more? Whats with the 2 years?
Just curious.
Blenko Blenko Blenko
Blenko Tina

Anonymous said...

While I'm asking questions
whats the story with the Blenko
Collector group?
Tina

Anonymous said...

50 year old lamps.
Hillary post the photos.
Tina