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.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Chesapeake Flea Market(Flea Market)1/4 mi. east of downtown on Old Rt. 52, Chesapeake740-867-6355
Central City Cafe(Eatery)529 - 14th Street West304-522-6142
Bus Barn Antiques Mall(Antiques, Collectibles Sports Memorabilia, WV Glass)402 18th Street West, Huntington304-429-3485
Central City Market(Farmers Market, Amish Market)555 14th St. West, Huntington304-525-1500http://www.centralcitymarket.com/
Adam's Avenue Antique Mall(Antique Mall)1460 Adams Ave.304-523-7231
Memories of the Heart Antiques(Antiques, Vintage, Jewelry, Folk Art by Vonnie)617 14th St. West304-697-5301
Old Central Auction(Auctions, Antiques)1404 Adams Ave., Huntington304-544-4880
Antique Center, Inc.Brass Masters Metal Polishing(Antiques, Quality Restoration)610 14th St. West304-523-7887 firstname.lastname@example.org://www.blackcatantiques.com/
Grandmother’s Attic(Antiques)444 W. 14th St., Huntington304-525-4880, Open Daily
Laredo Steaks & Seafood(Restaurant)2134 5th St.304-697-4810
Hattie & Nan’s(Antiques)521 W. 14th St., Huntington304-523-8844, Open Daily
Blenko Glass Visitor Center, Factory & MuseumFairground Rd., Milton304-743-9081 /
Monday, January 29, 2007
Beginning Feb 1 we will post daily ' made in WVa gifts' for V-Day!
Someone told me Jeff Fetty made a glass bear w/heart in honor of Valentines' Day that will go on sell at the Fenton Gift Shop this week. I'll try to get a photo and post.
The BLENKO GLASS gift shop has a big selection of red glass. Angie and Diane have decorated the gift shop with hearts, Ruby Glass is my favorite - its more expensive for Blenko to produce ruby glass. . .but Blenko's red glass is unique and the most vivid you will find. Again I'll ask for photos to post. hjh
Friday, January 26, 2007
Wow! What a project! I will be glad to contribute a little if you want..... My mother got me started in collecting Blenko, and most of my pieces are "seconds". However, back in the 50's she got a picture of herself and her classroom in the "old" high school published in the Journal of the National Education Association, and she was very proud to display some pieces of Blenko in the classroom that her former students had made and given her. She loved Blenko, and also, another small glass maker from Culloden called "Bischoff", which I have a couple of pieces. I don't have most of her old collection of Blenko, that passing on to my brother and his wife Kay. But my wife Beverly has enough on hand to have to "rotate" the pieces on display in the house, because we don't have a house full of display cases.....
Let me know if this could help.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Skip reports that he and his daughter Julia collect and display vintage Blenko along with new pieces that they buy from the Visitors Center.
Skip describes the 'Wayne Husted' designed BLENKO items pictured as his daughter Julia's favorite pieces of BLENKO/ West Virginia Glass . hjh
Friday, January 19, 2007
BLENKO GLASS COMPANY located in Milton, W. Va. phone 304 743 9081.
Blenko Glass Visitors Center gift shop is open daily - BLENKO GLASS at reduced prices!
Think Valentine's Day Gift,
Birthday Gift, I'M Sorry Gift,
I am a PRINCE NOT A FROG gift, Blenko is always the appropriate gift. When you purchase Blenko you are buying a piece of our heritage, a piece of West Virginia. hjh
Thursday, January 18, 2007
This item was limited in number to less than one hundred fifty and each piece is signed by WH Blenko and Don Shepperd. hjh
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Blenko and West Virginia Glass collectors and people who are interested in West Virginia Glass come in all sizes and all ages, sex isn't an issue, both women and men collect West Virginia and Blenko Glass.
The men who collect to be very knowledgeable about origin, value and history, while women who collect often collect a particular color or style/designer (most of the female collectors I know are also informed about all aspects of glass, but often focus their collections to their favorite era etc).
NOTE: These observations were made by a non -psychology major - - I should have consulted my friends Kate and Lindsey (both Psych Majors) before making behavioral comments.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
The basket (some call this a ladies bonnet) is crystal with a blue ribbon. At our home we use this basket to float fresh cut flowers - placed in the center of our table for special occasions. hjh
Sunday, January 14, 2007
These very collectible items can somtimes be found at estate sales, occasionally private collectors will offer a piece for sale, and some 'lucky' people find them in flea markets, garage sales etc. Become familiar with these pieces and if you see one, consider buying it. There are four known complete collections 1980-2006.
Blenko Glass Company Museum (upstairs of the Visitors Center) has a display of about a dozen. The 1983 Birthday Piece pictured here was designed by Don Shepperd and sold at the Diamond Department Store. . hjh
Saturday, January 13, 2007
"Growing up in the shawdow of the Blenko Glass Plant/A feeling of Family
I have such a deep love and respect for our Blenko heritage here in Milton, West Virginia. My family moved to Milton, in 1957 from Sissonville, and we moved into a house on Dry Creek, about five hundred feet from the Blenko Visitor Center. Our neighbor, Clyde Scott worked at Blenko Glass, and during those days family members were allowed to fish in the Blenko Pond. Soon I found myself fishing on the Pier at Blenko, with the Scott family. At that time I met Mrs. Marion Blenko, and she took me under her wing, and would call me "her boy". So as a twelve year old boy, in new surroundings, not knowing anyone in this area, the Blenko crew became my first friends in Milton. Many days I would go over and just stand and watch the glass craftsmen at work and the whole process amazed me. After returning to Milton after my four year stay in the United States Air Force, and a year in Vietnam, I had a horrific automobile accident and was in a hospital bed in my living room for over a year, Mrs. Marion Blenko heard of my accident and sent me a Blenko Glass, "to drink my milk from", that will help heal your broken bones, she said.
I have a large family of cousins, we all grew up like brothers and sisters, and they are scattered all over the United States, we all promote Blenko Glass and most of us are collectors, my house looks like a Blenko Gift shop, and I promote Blenko at every chance I get, as I feel that we are so lucky to have Blenko in our backyard and this is an art form, that just cant ever be lost.
In 2004 our Milton High School Class, had our 40th Reunion at Pumpkin Park, across the road from Blenko Glass. Bill Blenko was our classmate for several years before he enrolled and attended Military School. I wrote Richard Blenko and told him about our upcoming reunion, and ask if he could provide a few pieces of Blenko Glass, for awards to be given to our faculty members, and he was so gracious and supplied not only awards for the faculty members but several pieces to be given as door prizes.
During my years in the Military service, I have traveled all over the world, and every where I go, I see Blenko Glass. On my way to Vietnam, we landed in Japan for refueling, and while in the airport, I walked into the gift shop and there was a shelf devoted to Blenko glass, for an instant I felt like I was near home. From where I stand, the Blenko family has been truly Ladies and Gentlemen.
Thank you Dale for the photos and letter. hjh
Other than driving to Columbus or another larger city - you might never be this close to something so very beautiful again.
In my limited experience these pale in comparison to the object of art created by Chihuly for the Huntington Museum of Art. Teachers, Parents, Friends, it is never to early to expose your children, or your significant others, to great Glass Art.
The Museum of Art Gift Shop has small affordable Chihuly pieces and books.
On this icky, rainy day - load the kids or the significant other in the car and drive up / down to the Huntington Museum of Art. You will not be disappointed.
PS: There are also excellent displays of West Virginia, American, and French Glass - and for the Blenko folks there are a number of 'older' , and many one of a kind pieces.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Believe me - I understand your fear, until last Christmas I refused to use my credit card on line.
With the blog site - you can comment / without registering . . .it just shows up as anonymous - and its OK.
Emails are welcome and I will continue to try to address the concerns/ questions in the blog or a return email.
Take a chance - Comment on the blog instead of sending the email! hjh
Note: click on photo to increase size.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Richard Blenko has spent his entire life working at and for BLENKO GLASS COMPANY, Milton, W.Va.
In honor of Mr. Blenko's birthday - which is Saturday - I am posting photos of some lovely BLENKO glass, these photos were taken by a Huntington collector..
Richard has a history of designing glass, he promotes BLENKO daily as he travels across the country - signing glass, giving speeches about WV and American Made Glass.
Mr. Blenko's hobbies focus on Marshall University, the State of WV, the community, the arts, and his love of cars and film. BLenko is a film maker, he is also responsible for a number of films on BLENKO GLASS. See the www.blenkoproject.org website for a list of films. Many are available for purchase at the Blenko Visitors Center in Milton. Happy Birthday Mr. Blenko! Note: Blenko Glass fans have a club - its called the BLENKO COLLECTORS SOCIETY - joining for $50 intitles you to a quarterly newsletter, the group holds anual meets in Milton.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Maggie knew it was BLENKO, and that it was beautiful - thought because of the # it was a limited edition - she did not know it was one of the very ' special' WV Birthday Pieces.
Maggie reports she is now on a mission to find the other 26. With time and patience, she may very well. The first six seem to be the most difficult to find, so she has a great start with her #3. To learn more about the WV Birthday Pieces and other BLENKO collectibles check out http://www.blenkoproject.org/ or any of the other BLenko inspired websites. hjh
Monday, January 08, 2007
Blenko Glass Company in Milton, W.Va. phone 304 743 9081. The Visitors Center has four or five tables marked clearance. Prices marked down up to 60%. A wide variety of colors, a limited number of Holiday Items -
Diane and Angie have several tables of RED GLass and Red Lamps ready for the Feb. 14th Holiday! Blenko Glass will graciously accept your check, charge or pcfs debit card. hjh
Everyone in my family made a new year resolution to avoid sugar - this is a yearly occurrence and the abstinence usually last until 1/10/07.
We (my friends and family) love Chocolate. . .most especially GODIVIA Chocolates. . or home made desserts. and I love getting flowers. . . .BUT another favorite Valentine's Day Gift is RED GLASS or GLASS shaped Hearts! Fenton Glass, Blenko GLass and sometimes Fiesta all do special things in honor of St. Valentine's Day. There are no calories in GLASS.
If you need to give the sweets - give them on a Made In WV GLASS bowl or container, or insist the Florist put your ROSES or FLowers in a BLENKO VASE - the cost is just a bit more.
With more than 36 days until V -DAY you have lots of time to think about the way in which you will use BLENKO or Made In West Virginia products in your Valentine's Gift.
Suggestions / links/ photos welcome. hjh
Note: Photo of Red VelvetCake baked by John Homburg
John Nickerson was a Blenko Glass Company Designer from 1970-74. The above piece was made during his time at BLENKO. It is thought to be a 'one of a kind' It is signed, the story goes (remember, with most unique Blenko items there is always a 'story') this item was made for Mr. Nickerson's landlord - it was a gift. This item is currently part of a unique grouping Tammy Fowler of Trophy Hair - Virginia St. Charleston, WV has available for purchase. We have written to John Nickerson to ask him about this piece. Its beautiful, this photograph does not allow the true beauty of this piece to come forth.
The designers for BLENKO GLASS are a very talented group, most after leaving Blenko, became very successful industrial designers, &/or opened their own studios.
Many 'collectors of Blenko' will collect a particular designer - I personally love John Nickerson's designs. Check out his current work at Nickerson GLassworks a link is on the BLENKO PROJECT website http://www.blenkoproject.org/ . Nickerson's work is still affordable, although rapidly increasing in value.
Occasionally when we find a 'studio piece', Nickerson did while at Blenko - it gives cause for pause.....and a a a ah's. His work has a quiet beauty. John is a perfectionist. His strength is the ability to combine color, form, texture.
If you own a nice Nickerson piece - new or old - send a photo and we'll share. HJH
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Ronnie is a very modest, unassuming man, he says " I learned most everything I know working here at Blenko, if something needed to be done, I have always tried to do it. . . .reading manuals, learning by trail and error I have learned to tear and down and rebuild most every piece of equipment we have. My job is to keep everything 'up and running' to make certain the buildings and the equipment are in good order."
Ronnie reports that he does NOT collect Blenko, he does have some special pieces that friends have made especially for him over the years (as he said this - - in my mind I knew what pieces he owns would be very nice). While he has no favoirte designer or design - he does admire the designs Winslow Anderson made, he likes the fact that they are still in the line. One gets the feeling Ronnie's technical/ mechanical thought process would attract him to things made well and lthings that 'Last".
Ronnie is married to one of the attractive blondes (Carol) in shippping. Their children have attachments to both MARSHALL and WVU so Ronnie and Carol attend and cheer for both Universities. They enjoy traveling to DC and other parts to visit with adult children.
Ronnie likes to spends what free time he has outside -hunting and fishing. He loves the outdoors, he appreciates nature and all things of beauty. When ask what one thing he wanted to say about Blenko. Ronnie said: " I have two things to say, I am very grateful for the experiences Blenko Glass has provided me with, I have learned so very much over the years, I appreciate the Company and have enjoyed my time here. Coming to work is not something I dread, but something I look forward to almost every day. The other thing is BLENKO GLASS is an artform, many local people don't seem to realize, this is 'art glass' the men who work here are factory workers but they are also artist. . . . .Glass is a beautiful living thing. " "Blenko Glass imakes some of the most beautiful glass in the country. " HJH
FIRE AND ICE can be purchased at the Blenko Glass Visitors Center - gift shop, the Blenko Glass on line shop, and of course at DIXIE's. Somehow those Texas folk seem to know about and acquire samples of all 'new' and some very nice vintage Blenko.
This color combination is terrfic, however, I must confess I hold dear most blue/gold combinations.That the color combination can represent WVU, WVSU and our State (and hence make great gifts!) hjh.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Tamy Fowler is a beautician, an artist, a very successful businesswoman, an appraiser, a collector of Victorian furniture, wicker, and GLASS. She is very knowledgeable and willing to share her passion and knowledge. Tammy conducts four or more estate sales each month. Looking for the unusual, the specific, a very unique GIFT, then TROPHY HAIR on VIRGINIA STREET in Charleston, W. Va. is the place to go. Tammy is available by phone, I often call to tell her what I'm looking for and she'll help me acquire the item. On a recent trip to TROPHY HAIR the following Blenko items were on display. PHONE 346 3907
Friday, January 05, 2007
Thursday, January 04, 2007
For the last year "Weddings" seem to happen in my circle almost as frequently as birthdays . Finding the right gift for each Wedding has been for me much more difficult than shopping for birthdays. Giving something that I can 'afford' yet. . . tasteful, and meaningful to the bride and groom. . . . the process can be laborious. My gift is most often WV Glass, and 99% of the time its BLENKO GLASS. Blenko offers a great variety of style and color. Many of my friends are using the Blenko vase/ water bottles (in their wedding colors) as little gifts for some of the extended wedding party. The Mothers are asking their florist to use Blenko in the table flower arrangements. Adding a bit of WV and our heritage. BLENKO adds so much to most any occasion. One of my Mother's best friend Clara West is getting married Feb 3rd (she 's a young 70), to say that both the bride and groom already have everything they need is an understatement. Gift buying for this Bride will be difficult. My plan is to spend most of Friday searching for the perfect gift at the Blenko Visitors Center. I'll let you know what I find. Thank you for the photos of your Christmas class - later this month or early next month I'll publish some of the photos. Note: The photo is of a WV BIRTHDAY PIECE # !, many people have write to ask about this collection - the photos of all 27 WV BIRTHDAY BLENKO are available at www.blenkoproject.org and also on the Blenko Collectors site. Blenko Collectors Society. HJH
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
On this the beginning of a new year - I am repeating the 1st post from this blog. I get emails frequently asking if I sell Blenko, if I work for Blenko Glass Co., and if I do appraisals. I did a disclaimer in the initial post. I am NOT a Blenko employee, I am not an expert in any field. I have a great appreciation for handcrafted and made in WVa. most especially made by BLENKO GLASS Co. items. 9/2006 BLOG- 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.
posted Hillary J Homburg NOTE: Photo taken Huntington Museum of Art 12/27/06
Monday, January 01, 2007
Today at 1 o'clock Ms B and I, along with friends, family from all over WV will be 'watching' the Gator Bowl. The game is nearly SOLD OUT! ' West Virginians' are known to travel and support their teams - Marshall and WVU have incredible supporters. The Game is telecast live from All Tel Stadium in Jacksonville, FL. at 1 PM. We will of course start by listening to "Hoppy" for hours before game. Most of my family watches TV w/ radio earphones. We may be called 'addicts'. This year BLENKO GLASS Co. of Milton, West Virginia has produced a new line of West Virginia University inspired 'tableware'. Homer Laughlin's FIESTA . also has WVU inspired tableware. BLUE & GOLD made in West Virginia tail gate parties . . . . it should be a great day in Jacksonville and in all of West Virginia. Coach Rod has taken his WVU team to five (5) BOWL GAMES! ALL WEST VIRGINIANS AND WVU ALUMNI SHOULD BE PROUD. Note: Photo of BLENKO GLASS Co WVU Items and Tableware taken 12/2/06 by H. Homburg
Thank you for your interest in BLENKO, your emails and comments. After this week I return to being a full time dental student - so the post will again be no more than three per week. Your photos, emails, and comments make writing the BLOG a pure pleasure! HJH
MISS B and I wish you all a Very HAPPY NEW YEAR!