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.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


"You have to know about the past to understand the present." Carl

It doesn't have to be a choice. I think both OLD and NEW! Buy what you like.

Blenko has a new design team. If you didn't see the WV Birthday piece (this blog or the BLenko Website) You may not know about the 'new' design team. We were fortunate enough to meet them during break and to view some of the new designs. They are unique, a few are retro, many are very classic, all are very clean and beautiful. The Birthday piece is a great example of the work this team produces.

This is a great time to start 'collecting' NEW Blenko! The 'OLD' is terrific, and a lot of the molds are still being used. I recommend checking the Visitors Center often as the merchandise changes frequently. Look under the tables, in the corners for 'terrific' unique finds. Ask Diana and/or Tammy for help if you don't see what you are looking for, or if you have questions about an item or color.

When the NEW line is available for public viewing I'll devote a couple days to photos of NEW BLENKO!

The photos today are of OLD BLENKO - These photos are from the BLENKO MUSEUM they were taken by Damon Crain who is often writes and speaks about glass art. The Blenko Museum Web site (http://www.blenkomuseum.org/) is a great place to visit, if you want to learn about BLENKO . The photographs like the ones above are some of the most beautiful . hjh photos of JOEL PHILIP MYERS WORK AT BLENKO GLASS COMPANY photos taken by Damon Crain of Blenko Museum.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

West Virginia Day at BLENKO Glass - Your Photos

We ask for Photos from the WVa BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION AT BLENKO! It's an annual event....Plan to attend JUNE 20 2008!

These two gentlemen were #1 Barry Copley of Charleston, W. Va. and Elmer Gale Copley of Williamson, West Virginia in The Blenko Birthday Line ( Gale in the blue Chair).

Thanks to everyone who sent photos....hjh

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


These photos are from the Glass Art Society Conference (Transformational Matter, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 7-9, 2007)

The annual GAS Auction offers conference attendees and the public the opportunity to support GAS by donating and/or purchasing beautiful works of glass art.
Below are some of the beautiful and unique items that were available for auction:

For more on the Glass Art Society, visit their website at www.glassart.org and read about my time at the GAS conference in Pittsburgh.


In Response to Your Requst - Photos!

Each day I sign on to LOOK at your
Blog - hoping to see pix of beautiful
girls in convertible or at least beautiful
colored WV Glass.
Stop writing so many words. I don't have
time to read before my assignments.
Paul Jordan
Looking back I have used quiet a few words the month of June.
For you today photos of Beautiful Girl 'B' in Convertible and lovely
BLENKO glass. I'll do more photos and less talk.
Thanks for reading.
Good luck with your assignments. Wishing you a safe
return to WVa.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Images of Kemp Center BLENKO!

These great photos were sent by the wonderful TEXAS BLENKO COLLECTORS
2nd Photo is of the BLENKO GLASS Chandelier

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Intuition - Some have it.

“You must train your intuition - you must trust the small voice inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide”. Ingrid Bergman.
Note: Ingrid Berman, Clark Gable, and many famous film stars of this era were BLENKO customers.
Mr. WH Blenko has great stories, and some interesting photos.

The following was a News Release from WVU Foundation on 6/22/07

WVU Dental Student Donates Blenko Glass Collection
In hopes of spreading interest in hand-made West Virginia glass, one dental student is donating her 27-piece West Virginia Birthday Blenko Glass collection to West Virginia University. The Blenko Family will also make a gift each year of the collection’s new collectible piece.Hillary Homburg, a third-year dental student and Charleston native, said her collection is one of only four known complete collections in West Virginia. It will be housed in the University’s new art museum, currently the Erickson Alumni Center. WVU plans to convert the center to the museum once the Alumni Association moves into its new $14 million facility currently under construction.
“There are four things in my life that I hold very dear. Blenko glass and West Virginia University are two of the four things.” Homburg said about her decision to donate her glass collection to WVU. “My grandfather was a WVU graduate. Homburgs have a long and very happy history with WVU. Blenko Glass is very near my home in Charleston, and I have been a visitor to the factory since before I could put together whole sentences,” she said

“Hillary Homburg's donation of her Blenko WV Anniversary glass is a major donation to a very worthy Academic institution,” said Richard Blenko, 4th Generation President of Blenko Glass, founded 1893. “Hillary is an avid Blenko collector and as well as profound advocate for the State of West Virginia. She routinely has promoted Blenko, and the state in a professional manner and her enthusiasm for our state makes her a national ambassador for all West Virginians.”“The College of Creative Arts is so very pleased to receive this wonderful gift of Blenko Glass which celebrates the heritage of our State. These beautifully crafted pieces of glass will hold a place of honor in West Virginia University's Permanent Art Collection,” added Dean J. Bernard Schultz. Although Homburg said it was a difficult decision to donate her collection, she hopes people from all over the country who visit WVU will be able to see Blenko Glass and its importance to West Virginia.“The idea to give the glass came to me while I was a student assistant helping with New Student Orientation. I realized that thousands of people visit campus each summer and each year. If Blenko Glass were displayed, perhaps those people would develop an interest and want to visit the factory or buy some glass and take it home as a souvenir of their trip to West Virginia.”“This particular collection, The West Virginia Birthday Collection, is especially appropriate as it was designed and produced solely to honor West Virginia,” she said.
Blenko added, “These art glass pieces represent a variety of Blenko designers who were major figures in the American Glass scene. Don Shepherd was a designer of organic shapes and textures; Hank Adams was influenced by industrial shapes and with a rough texture. These items represent decades of design and color.”The Blenko Glass Birthday pieces began in 1980, and since her birth, Homburg and her father have been in line waiting for their Blenko glass every year on West Virginia’s Birthday.

2007 Collectible“My dad bought the Birthday Collection for me before I was born - in 1985 I was in person in line – and every year there after,” she said. As part of her WVU Foundation scholarship, Homburg used her stipend to create the Blenko Project, an advocacy devoted to making people aware that Blenko is in West Virginia making glass the old fashion way. She hopes that her project and web site will make people aware that they can buy quality West Virginia glass instead of just quantity, she said.She also writes a weblog for The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, called “Heart of Glass.” Homburg posts three or four times a week about West Virginia glass issues. Her website, The Blenko Project, can be found at www.blenkoproject.org, and her online blog at .Blenko Glass Company is the only company other than Tiffany that makes stained glass for churches and blown glass for consumers, according to Richard Blenko. “William J. Blenko worked for Tiffany in 1920 for $50.00 a week. Blenko has supplied gifts to past clients like: Carole Lombard, Irving Berlin, Rudi Vallee, Cary Grant, Ellenor Roosevelt, Maime Eisenhower, and George Bush Sr. Our stained glass can be seen in The Canton Football Hall of Fame; Harkness Library at Yale; The United States Air Force Academy Cathedral; Washington Cathedral and The Mormon Temple, Washington.”Blenko Glass Company has been featured in four PBS Television documentaries and Richard Blenko has appeared in over 262 US cities and has over 2500 broadcasts and helped raise over $27,000,000 for PBS.The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, a private non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University and its non-profit affiliates.
West Virginia University Foundation, Inc. One Waterfront

BLENKO GLASS - City of Grapevine

The following news from Texas:

The people of Wichita Falls came out to support the Kemp Center, the Viteks and of course Blenko Glass. My rough estimate of folks there would be 150-200 folks. A good sign was that all the Blenko Glass in the gift center was sold out. The event was so successful that the staff at the Kemp are hoping to have a yearly Blenko event.

The Viteks won this custom made grape chandelier at the Grapevine, Texas Grapefest Festival a few years ago. Over sixty glass grapes make up the chandelier. They are hoping to return it to the City of Grapevine later this year.

The Blenko Collectors Society has a very active group in Texas, they meet weekly, the eat together, shop together, attend lecturers together, and as a group they attend and support most all BLENKO GLASS COMPANY events in and around TEXAS.

This group performs the mission of the BLENKO PROJECT they support and promote BLENKO GLASS.

Richard Blenko travels extensively promoting Blenko, but one person can't do all. It take a

'Village to teach us about Hand Crafted Made In WV Glass', The Texas Collectors take pride in their role as advocate, educators and supporters of Blenko and West Virginia Glass. . . . .Blenko Glass is made here in Milton, West Virginia.
GREAT PHOTO of this chandelier to be posted later!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Your questions RE: June 20th

The West Virginia Birthday Glass was sold at BLENKO. To answer your question, I wasn't there - Dental School was in session. I don't have photos.

Several friends were at the Visitors Center. Jedi Jawa who is a WV BLOGGER was there took photos and blogged about the day. Check out his blog and photos. He is a newbie to BLENKO COLLECTING...but I think perhaps the Blenko bug...bit him.


May I also suggest you frequently check the Blenko Company website for photos and updates about Blenko. hjh

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


West Virginia is 144 years old Today - June 20th 2007.
Most everyone I know in Charleston got up very early this morning to stand in line for purchasing the BLENKO GLASS - 2007 Birthday Vase, the vase is beautiful, the size is perfect! I hope everyone I know was 'lucky' and was able to purchase one. Each year there are a few disappointed shoppers who arrive late or don't realize the vase is limited in number.

For me, this isn't a holiday - I'll be at the Health Science Center thinking about removal partial dentures, screenings, and how to increase my patient load.

If you are in Milton this day - send photos, or stories, there are always interesting people in the 'line' to buy the vase.

A 'special ' HELLO to my Uncles, my Dad, Eppie and John Boles, Renita Williams and her Mom, Steve and Margie Bair and my other "Birthday line buddies". hjh

You Respond - Photos of Favorite BLENKO!

These photos were sent by Staff of ST MARY's HOSPITAL in Huntington, West Virginia. If you have a favorite piece of BLENKO GLASS or a BLENKO GLASS story that you want to share. Email us at THEBLENKOPROJECT@aol.com. hjh

NOTE: We reverse the right to subsitute a similar or photo of the same item if the photo doesn't download properly.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Blenko Kemp Center for Arts in Wichita Falls, Texas

Tim Alonzo a Texas Collector reports:
The Kemp Center for the Arts in Wichita Falls, Texas is holding a Blenko Glass exhibit from the private collection of Glenda and John Vitek.

The exhibition will run from June 21 through July 28th and will feature 90 pieces, including a glass chandelier that was auctioned off at Grapefest in Grapevine, Texas. The event opening is this Thursday, June 21 from 5:30-7:30 PM. Richard Blenko will be in attendance on Thursday. . For more info check out their website:http://www.kempcenter.org/index.php

We hope Tim or Richard or some kind soul will be sending photos of the chandelier and of the event for the blog - and those of us locked in West Virginia. hjh

All cases are unique and very similar to others - TS Elliot

Can you properly identify the BLenko swans?

'The remarkable thing about the computer is it allows a million people to laugh at a joke at the same time . . . .a still feel very lonely.' quote of Steve - My webmaster. TS Elliot some time earlier wrote: ' The remarkable thing about television is that it permits several million people to laugh at the same joke and still feel lonely."

Originality is not a new concept - I often hear there is nothing new in the world. . .and in the world of glass art we seem to reinvent our selves often. BLENKO GLASS Company in Milton has been making fine tableware - glass art for nearly 100 years - often copied - never duplicated! Fine craftsmanship is visible to the naked eye, take time when you are ready to purchase, look for the pontail mark, look for a Made In USA or a Made In WV or a BLENKO label. Buy quality. Support your local economy.
Someone once told me everything ends with a 'whimper' . . .I'd like to see the Glass Arts
Industries come back with a big BANG! We can revitalize this industry one purchase at a time. Become a savvy shopper. Shop for quality not quantity.
NOTE: Wednesday at 8 am the West Virginia Birthday Vase will be available for purchase at BLENKO GLASS. Limit one to customer. Price $144 plus tax. hjh

TS Eliot said: ' All cases are unique and very similar to others' . . . she wasn't speaking of art or design, but the concept is also true for art and design.

I often complain that the shelves in Target, Walmart, and even Macy's and Dillards hold more glass from India, Mexico, and China than Made in the US. The reason has little to do with quality. The quality of US and especially the handcrafted made in WEST VIRGINIA glass can not be matched. The cost, the final cost to the consumer is the 'key.' People want to feel they are getting a lot for their money.

It is less expensive (don't ask me why) to purchase Made in China glass at the Target, Tuesday Morning, Walmart, than to buy Made in the USA or BLENKO GLASS. These stores do not carry MADE IN THE US GLASS - I checked last week and couldn't fine one made in the USA glass item. Macy's does carry Fiesta ware and some other Made in USA GLass.

Remember before you purchase - to ask what is the origin of this tableware.

I am posting photos of glass from readers - Thank you for photos
Carletta Blevins, and Cookie Ross. hjh

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Blenko Marks #144 West Virginia Day

Blenko Glass Company and Homer Laughlin both are doing piece to mark West Virginia's Birthday.
Blenko Glass has collaborated with Bayliss Design Team for its annual (since 19o80) piece. The ocean blue vase with clover wrap stands 11 1/2 inches high.
In a news release, team leader Arlon Bayliss said, " We wanted our first design for BLENKO to be very special. Not only is it an honor to work with this great WEST VIRGINIA company, it's an additonal honor to design a piece that specifically celebrates this beautiful state."
Blenko glass workers have made 144 pieces. They will go on sale for $144 plus tax at 8 am (note: people arrive 6-12 hours prior to get in line) Wednesday at Blenko's Visitor's Center in Milton. Sales are limited to ONE per person.
The 2007 Fiesta vase will go on sale for $60 at 9am Wednesday at The Mole Hole, which recently moved to Trace Fork shopping center.
"This piece is the first in a series that will feature a range of ever - popular Fiesta colors and state symbols," according to the Sunday Gazette-Mail.
For more information, Call The Mole Hole at 925 - 4060. Call Blenko Glass at 304 743 0547.

Note: Photos of the 2007 BLENKO BIRTHDAY PIECE and other Birthday Pieces are available on this Blog, on the Blenko Collector Society website and BLENKO GLASS COMPANY website.
questions or comments - send an email. hjh

Friday, June 15, 2007

Cure for the SUNDAY BLUES?

How To Relieve the Sunday Blues?

The author of WORRY CURE Robert Leahy states: People get depressed most of all at the end of a weekend, because they feel like something good is coming to an end, and the stress of work week is about to start.

Leahy suggest: (1) Limit yourself - limit the amount of time you allow yourself to brood to say ten minutes then NO more negative thinking.

(2) Take Action - Be proactive, go shopping, take the DOG for a walk, visit a museum, get out of the house.

(3) Reach out to Friends- meet a friend for coffee or wine, focus only on the POSITIVE.

(4) Remember the Good Times - make plans for a mid-week chat or get together with a friend.

(5) Plan your workload. Don't fret about the upcoming week. Make list, plan all work and pleasurable activities.

You are probably thinking how will she make a BLENKO connection?

Well my conclusion after reading Leahy's book was:

BLENKO COLLECTORS probably avoid and SUNDAY BLUES and may never suffer from the SUNDAY BLUES.

Blenko Collectors are always thinking POSITIVE THOUGHTS about the treasures to be found. They are proactive; they shop, have coffee and wine with friends, they even occasionally walk dogs, and they LOOK FOR BLENKO - they multi task.

Blenko Collectors 'love' to remember the GOOD TIMES - most collectors have many stories about the great BLENKO they found or received.

BLENKO COLLECTORS always plan their workweek- AFTER ALL they need to complete their work in time for an early departure on friday.

Blenko Collectors have no need to read Leahy or research cures for SUNDAY BLUES!

They are active, connected, positive thinkers!

Join Us?

The Blenko Collectors Society

The WV Museum of Glass


STAR WARS Blenko Visitors Center


Chess Set - 2nd Floor Blenko Glass Museum

A Work of Art - Dedicated to STAR WARS

Designed by Don Shepperd and Created by SHORTY FINLEY of Milton

This week I am sending the story of Shorty Finley's Chess Set and photos to the STAR WARS Production Company after all - 'its never too late to be what you might have been!'

To all who know him Shorty Finley is a friend, an excellent craftsman, teacher and a good honest man. Harry Hepner said: " Once we discover how to appreciate the timeless values in our daily experiences we can enjoy the best things in life." Everyone who knows my friend, Shorty Finley, will tell you he has the ability to enjoy all of life.

The CHESS SET is located at the Visitors Center on the 2nd floor - Shorty recalls being so excited and inspired by the Star Wars movie that he ask Shepherd to help him create a 'big' chest set with 'space creatures.' Shepperd drew several designs before he and Shorty agreed on the final creatures.

Its a giant chess set - designed for Shorty Finley by his good friend Don Shepherd. Shorty blew each piece and contracted with a wood worker in Roane County to build the chess board. The board cost Shorty $70 a large sum in the early 80s.

The CHESS SET was often on display and was available for purchase. While at the Huntington Museum of Art the price tag was $3,500 - no one bought it - Shorty ask Mr. WH Blenko if he could store it at Blenko - since he had no room for such a large item in his home. Mr. Blenko agreed and the CHESS SET found a home on the second floor of the Visitors Center.

With the recent anniversary of STAR WARS and the renewed interest, I thought its time the news of Shorty Finley's chest set became public knowledge. It is a find tribute to STAR WARS, its a wonderful piece of art, its BLENKO GLASS, its an example of what these Factory Craftsmen can do. . . .they are truly artist. . . it requires a great deal of artistic ability and skill to attain the tittle of blower or finisher at BLENKO.

When you are next at the BLENKO GLASS Company, walk up stairs to view the chess set. I'll be interested in your thoughts when you see it....let me hear from you. hjh

The following remarks I took with permission from my friend Chris' Blog - THIS IS NOT MY BLOG - Chris is one of the many talented WV Bloggers. Google- WV Blogger -and then spend the afternoon reading, or as I do often, an evening looking at RICK LEE 's photographs. West Virginia Bloggers!
On this day, May 25, in 1977, Memorial Day weekend opened with an intergalactic bang as the first of George Lucas' blockbuster Star Wars movies hit American theaters.The incredible success of Star Wars--seven Oscars, $461 million in U.S. ticket sales and a gross of close to $800 million worldwide--began with an extensive, coordinated marketing push by Lucas and his studio, 20th Century Fox, months before the movie's release date. "It wasn't like a movie opening," actress Carrie Fisher, who played rebel leader Princess Leia, later told Time magazine. "It was like an earthquake." Beginning with--in Fisher's words--"a new order of geeks, enthusiastic young people with sleeping bags," the anticipation of a revolutionary movie-watching experience spread like wildfire, causing long lines in front of movie theaters across the country and around the world.With its groundbreaking special effects, Star Wars leaped off screens and immersed audiences in "a galaxy far, far away." By now everyone knows the story, which followed the baby-faced Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) as he enlisted a team of allies--including hunky Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and the robots C3PO and R2D2--on his mission to rescue the kidnapped Princess Leia from an Evil Empire governed by Darth Vader. The film made all three of its lead actors overnight stars, turning Fisher into an object of adoration for millions of young male fans and launching Ford's now-legendary career as an action-hero heartthrob.Star Wars was soon a bona-fide pop culture phenomenon. Over the years it has spawned five more feature films, five TV series and an entire industry's worth of comic books, toys, video games and other products. Two big-screen sequels, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and The Return of the Jedi (1983), featured much of the original cast and enjoyed the same success--both critical and commercial--as the first film. In 1999, Lucas stretched back in time for the fourth installment, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, chronologically a prequel to the original movie. Two other prequels, Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005) followed.The latter Star Wars movies featured a new cast--including Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen--and have generally failed to earn the same amount of critical praise as the first three films. They continue to score at the box office, however, with Revenge of the Sith becoming the top-grossing film of 2005 in the United States and the second worldwide.Thanks to my friend Paula for reminding me and sending me the write-up.Personally, I've seen all six of these in the theater when they were first released including being at the midnight premiers of the remastered original trilogy as well as the prequel trilogy. It was quite a thing to behold and I've never seen the movies the same way after seeing them with a packed theater full of enthusiastic people who truly reacted to the things on the screen including the iconic moments of the original trilogy. If you haven't seen these movies then all that I can ask is "what the hell is wrong with you? ... Go see them immediately!" :-)
# scribbled by jedijawa :

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Glass Notes by Henry Halem

Now in its fourth edition, in Glass Notes Henry Halem and other experts in the field demonstrate in easy to understand language and illustrations all about building and maintaining a modern glass studio.
Written especially for the glass enthusiasts, this complete illustrated guide covers many applications including mold making, enameling, casting, building furnaces, glory holes, batching glass, annealing and much more.
Glass Notes has been the glass studio bible since 1996.

(And yes, that is Blenko's own Everette 'Shorty' Finley on the bottom left hand side of the cover!)

You can order Glass Notes online or directly from Franklin Mills Press. For more information visit www.glassnotes.com

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Henry David Thoreau - Blenko

Photo of BLENKO HUSTED designer
'Things Do Not Change We Do.' Henry David Thoreau

Perhaps this is the story of BLENKO GLASS. Blenko Glass Company continues to make glass, just as they did eighty years ago. Small batches, individually compounded, each step is manual, no electrical machines, just a team of craftsmen. A team of experienced quality craftsmen who make GLASS the old fashioned way. Unique, fine quality, hand made in the United States of American glass.

We have changed. We have become less aware of the origin of our tableware, less aware of concerned with the quality of our tableware....we seem to focus more on quantity instead of quality.

Blenko Glass Company located here in Milton, W. Va has not changed. If you haven't visited the factory or the visitor's center in awhile, plan to do so.

Then before you purchase your next gift of glass - ask your self - who made this?,

where did it come from?, quality? Consider giving a gift made in West Virginia.

Check out the TAMARACK CENTER in Beckly, and the WEST VIRGINIA SHOP on Quarrier St in Charleston. BUY handcrafted, and buy made in West Virginia. hjh

Photos OF West Virginia Birthday Pieces 80-2000