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, March 30, 2008

A Rare Hare - Blenko Glass

This is a photo of a PINK RABBIT! If you follow the Blog - a while back, a reader 'wished' for a PINK RABBIT to gift her grandchild.

Blenko wasn't making Pink Rabbits - but the wonderful Rodney Wade, and Randy Rider were listening and a PINK RABBIT appeared - actually there were 3 Pink Rabbits.

Our reader bought this one for her grandchild and was kind enough to pass along a photo!

BLENKO GLASS Milton, West Virginia. I strongly recommend you visit the BLENKO GLASS Visitors Center (gift shop) everyday you will find one of a kind items - unusual items - not in the catalogue items - like this Pink Bunny! HJH

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Luxor Hotel - last words on Vegas

If you like Egyptian - and what lady doesn't....the LUXOR is your kinda place, its 14 years old - so by VEGAS standards definitely not 'HOT and NEW'!

However, my Mom and I were treated very well, our room was large almost l,000 sq feet and (except for the lack of coffee maker - about which my Mom daily complained) 2 queen beds, a sitting area, a soaker spa style tub, separate shower, large TV. It was an exceptional bargain for the week!

The staff- beginning with the front desk - who allowed me due to my Moms age an early check in - represented the Hotel and Las Vegas in a very grand and generous manner. I'd return to the LUXOR. However, I think if you go to Vegas more than once staying each time in a new place would be for me a great adventure - I don't gamble - and I do love the thought of traveling and where besides Vegas can one go from New York to Paris to having a gondola ride in the rivers at the Venetian.

VIVA LAS VEGAS.....I wish I'd gone sooner, and I will return.

RE: BLENKO IN LAS VEGAS - I must report I saw NO BLENKO in the shops - WE DID SEE West Virginia Glass in the Bellagio Buffet Dining Room - squares of Wismach (see photo).

The Bellagio is also the home of some gorgeous Dale Chihuly glass sculptures. (photos below)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Elton John - The Red Piano at Caesars Palace

Elton John's finely honed stage presence, a winning factor in targeting his tunes straight into the heart of America, is excess incarnate. In The Red Piano, the showy costumes are replaced by incredible video imagery and stage props, yet the end result is unmistakably classic Elton John. The show was conceptualised and designed by the acclaimed photographer and David LaChapelle. The larger-than-life set is complete with Elton's iconic red grand piano, dripping inflatable ice creams neon vegas signs and videos including two that feature Justin Timberlake as a young Elton John during "Rocket Man" and Pamela Anderson performing a pole dance during "The Bitch is Back."

The theme throughout is love, symbolised by the colour red and played out through state-of-the art effects and high-end imagery. During the show, audiences will be treated to live performances of the phenomenal back catalogue of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, including hits such as Rocket Man and Candle in the Wind.

Beach balls were dropped into the audiance, confetti flew, and a few lucky VIP even got to get up on stage and boogie around the piano! We had to settle for dancing in our seats, but we had a fantastic time!

The Red Piano is a visual extravaganza, a collage of all the outrageous and beautiful images Elton has been responsible for in his career. Bette Midler will be takeing over Caesar's Colloseum stage at the begining of April, but Elton will be back again for a short stint in June, so book your tickets now!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Las Vegas Side Trips - Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona averages 4.7 million visitors annually. Over 3 million will visit the South Rim. Nearly 750,000 will enjoy the North Rim. And 500,000 will visit the newly discovered West Rim. Also, 500,000 will fly over magnificent Grand Canyon on an Air Tour from Las Vegas.

The Grand Canyon is more than a great chasm carved over millennia through the rocks of the Colorado Plateau. It is more than an awe-inspiring view. It is more than a pleasuring ground for those that explore the roads, hike the trails, or float the currents of the turbulent Colorado River.
This canyon is a gift that transcends what we experience. Its beauty and size humbles us. Its timelessness provokes a comparison to our short existence. In its vast spaces we may find solace from our hectic lives.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hoover Dam

It is worth the price of an airfare to Vegas to see the Hoover Dam We did the four hour Guided Discovery Tour Line Trip.

The 'Hard Hat Tour' which is a hands on underground tour, has been closed since 9/11 but will start again in July - returning for this tour is a new goal for me.

Hoover Dam facts and my photos of the Damn are below....your comments are welcome.

Hoover Dam, also known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada. When completed in 1935, it was both the world's largest electric power producing facility and the world's largest concrete structure. It was surpassed in both respects by the Grand Coulee Dam in 1945. It is currently the world's 34th largest hydroelectric generating station.
The dam, located 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Las Vegas, is named after Herbert Hoover, who played an instrumental role in its construction, first as Secretary of Commerce and then later as President of the United States. Construction began in 1931 and was completed in 1935, more than two years ahead of schedule. The dam and the power plant are operated by the Bureau of Reclamation of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981, Hoover Dam was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.

Thank you to my friends Jigna, Jessica, Ravi and Joanna R. for recommending the Hoover Dam experiance.

The Rat Pack is Back in Vegas!

The Dali Lama is often given credit for saying: " If you can recognize illusion as illusion it dissolves. The recognition of illusion is also its ending."

The Rat Pack Is Back - This show was a blast! - the illusion was not broken. The group performed at the Copa room of the Plaza Hotel and Casino in historical downtown Vegas We opted for the Dinner - ticket, to have the old Las Vegas show experience. If you like music from the Big Band era this is the show for you. Not only are the performers vocal impersinations spot on, but the show is full of classic jokes and gags that will make you feel you are really watching Frank, Dean and Sammy.

( No Visible BLENKO GLASS at the Plaza, however, during the era of Sinatra, Martin and Davis art deco styled BLENKO GLASS could be found in the finest department stores.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blenko in Columbus OH

We spent Friday eating and shopping in Columbus, Ohio before an early Saturday morning flight to Las Vegas. My own family loves Columbus. For more than 30 years we’ve stayed at the Clairmont, a small family owned hotel on High Street in German Village - Columbus, Ohio (recently Clairmont was bought by a large Corporation - more about this at another time).

My family has a routine - we visit FRANKLIN ART GLASS located in German Village, KATZINGER’S DELI also in German Village and BOOK LOFT. We walk around German Village admiring the Glass and the Gardens then on to the Art Galleries on the Short North then eat at TASTE OF THAI or Indian Resturant in Kenny Mall, we also shopp the Eddie Baurer Outlet Store before leaving Columbus.
Columbus Ohio is a short drive from Huntington and Charleston also has great theater and makes for a great weekend roadtrip. I haven’t been but I understand the SEARS AND PENNYS OUTLETS are located in Columbus.

The Blenko Glass website lists four locations in Columbus that sell BLENKO GLASS.
This Morning I ask the Manager of the COLUMBUS AIRPORT about BLENKO GLASS he proudly pointed out 2 pieces of "BLENKO GLASS" in his space - I took the above photos - we’ll have to wait for Tim Alonzo or Tammie Kosla my Blenko experts to comfirm they are BLENKO, but you will agree it is beautiful glass.
When you read this, we are in VEGAS searching for BLENKO, Rest, Relaxation and
perhaps some great shopping.
Note: Written Saturday March 22

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bellagio Hotel - Chihuly Glass

Where will we be staying ? At the Bellagio Hotel , with a view of the 'fountain'?
I'll let you decide if we chose this hotel with the Chihuly Glass in the foyer and
the Blenko Glass in the gift shop and Cirque du Soleil.
Photos etc to appear after Saturday.

Cirque Du Soleil Store

Suspend the disbelief of “O” by Cirque du Soleil®

The Search for BLENKO in Las Vegas...starts Saturday!

What does handmade - handcrafted West Virginia Glass (Blenko) have in common with the Las Vegas strip?
Well both are unique, exciting, and . . . . . well I'll finish this post at the end of my mini vacation to Vegas.
One goal is to find ' Blenko' in Vegas. If you know of a collection, or a shop that sells Blenko in Vegas. Share this information with the Blog...after all I want to check out Bett's shop, and have some free time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Baskets, Eggs, Bunnys, THINK BLENKO!

Easter Baskets - Easter Gifts - Collectibles!
Blenko Glass, Milton, West Virginia.
The Visitors Center is open daily - unadvertised 'specials' are on many tables.
Clearance glass at prices you will not believe.
IF you are a DISCOUNT SHOPPER or someone who likes to visits FACTORY OUTLETS Blenko Glass Visitors Center Gift Shop is a place you'll want to add to your list of SPECIAL PLACES. HJH

Monday, March 17, 2008

EASTER fill the basket with West Virginia Glass!

OK I'm becoming like the commerical for BLENKO....but it's almost EASTER and the very nicest gifts are BLENKO GLASS.
At Blenko you can purchase a glass Easter Basket for your table - then fill it with BLENKO Glass eggs, or you might purchase a Glass Easter Bunny for your favorite niece or nephew.

Blenko Easter Baskets are a long term purchase. Mine is over a decade old, I brought it to my college dorm room in 2002 - and since then it comes out of storage each April. The original cost was probably $25-30. My BLENKO GLASS Easter basket ( I have the bunny also) continues to increase in value each year - and it brings joy to me - also it serves as a conversation starter, as people will often comment on the 'beauty'.

IF you haven't started shopping at BLENKO GLASS http://www.blenkoglass.com/ (online shopping is encourage, often you will find coupons on their truly AWESOME website) EASTER Is a great time to start. Lovely pastel colors, baskets, bunnies, eggs....BLENKO HAS IT!

Buy Made in the USA always and when possible BUY MADE IN WEST VIRGINIA. Support your neighbors - your local craftsmen. BLENKO GLASS, Milton, West Virginia 304 743 9081.

Dental Health Articles receive awards

Two national news writing awards have been won by Gazette health reporter Eric Eyre, both for his series " State of Decay- W.Va's Oral Health Crisis.

As a dental student who is very much interested in Rural Dental Health - I found the series to be very interesting and reprinted parts with Eric's permission for the BLOG.

The Eyre's are my neighbors. Eric Eyre , his wife (a very active educator), and son moved into our neighborhood (Edgewood - Charleston) when I was beginning high school. The Eyre's bought 'The Reber House' a wonderful vintage brick home custom built for Jessie Reber's family - in a time when custom built meant something.

Now like most everyone on our street they spend all their free time taking care of the vintage house and the yard that came with. If you didn't read the post on Oral Health Crisis - check the older post for this blog.

It is a great honor for the state when any writer wins a National Award. Eric Eyre keeps winning awards, since I've been in college - it seems several times a year my Mom is sending clippings about Eric's journalism awards. An article in the Gazette says he has won 20 national awards.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Friends - Blenko Collectors and others...

"Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget"

We acquire friends all through out our lives - Dental and Professional Schools seem to bind people in life long friendships, other friends we simply choose.
(pictured above me with one of my 'best' dental school buddies TIFFANY BROWNING)

Tiffany and I have a many things in common - we both grew up in West Virginia, we both have a passion for rural dental education, we both love the state, and we are both 'only children'.

Tiffany collects FIESTA WARE if you are a regular blog reader - we've done several post about FIESTA WARE. Awesome colorful tableware made in WEST VIRGINIA!

Have I influenced Tiffany with my crusade 'to buy Blenko'? Well...its true that I now own several FIESTA items but to my knowledge Tiffany hasn't been shopping at the BLENKO Store. Before we graduate I do believe she will make the pilgrimage - after all collecting should not be limited - and BLENKO colorful glass blends very nicely with FIESTA WARE.

Being a BLENKO COLLECTOR or a Friend of Blenko - for me will be a lifelong goal after all "A friend is someone who understands your past (see the www.blenkoproject.org to understand Blenko's past) believes in your future (Join the BlenkoCollectors Society www.blenkocollectors.com) and accepts you just the way you are. (handcrafted with air bubbles and occassional tool marks). I aspire to always be a Friend of West Virginia Crafts and the West Virginia Craftsmen and I hope you will consider joining the Blenko Collectors Society or the West Virginia Museum Of Glass or a similar group to begin supporting West Virginia Glassmakers.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

ST Patricks Day! NO St Patrick's Day celebration would be complete without
BLENKO GLASS. BLenko has a complete array of GREEN GLASS. Every shade
of GREEN (well a couple three shades of GREEN) are now available at the Visitors Center.
Glasses, bowls, plates, containers, vessels for flowers. All the decorating GREEN GLASS
you will need for an awesome party. When you buy BLENKO you are buying quality items that will last a life time.
The shamrock outside my door, heavy glass was made in the 80s . . .the green salad bowl set
I'll use was made just last year. Blenko is handmade glass - its heavy, and its made to last. Quality sometimes cost a bit more.
Buy Made in the USA whenever possible and MADE IN WEST VIRGINIA when its available. Support local craftsmen. hjh

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Magazine Article - BLENKO

http://www.stylecenturymagazine.com/ Blenko article . . .lots of beautiful photos
and a very informative article. Read and comment please!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blenko Connection - Through a Glass, Deadly

Sheila Connolly is the author of Through a Glass, Deadly - and Pane of Glass (Blenko Glass is mentioned in Pane of Glass) -

Ms. Connolly had this to say about the Blenko Connection and her books:
I've been fascinated by glassblowing for years, which is one reason I jumped at the chance to write the Glassblowing Mystery Series for Berkley Prime Crime. I live near two long-established glass centers, Pairpoint Glass and the Sandwich Glass Museum, so of course I I've spent a lot of time at those, as well as visiting a lot of the smaller studios on Cape Cod. I even took a class recently, from one of them.

I first learned about Blenko Glass when I took a stained glass class in Berkeley, many years ago. When I was passing through West Virginia after my nephew's wedding in Kentucky, I made a point of detouring to Milton and touring the visitor's center. It's always wonderful to watch glassblowers at work, and Blenko's glass colors are so rich and vivid.

Sheila Connolly, writing as Sarah Atwell, is the author of Through a Glass, Deadly (Berkley Prime Crime, March 2008). The sequel, Pane of Death, will be released in November 2009. For more information please see her website, www.sarahatwellwriter.com

Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN 978-0-425-22047-4
Paperback, $6.99

Click here: BOOKSAMILLION.COM (BAMM.COM) - Search and Browse
and other bookstores now.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Bill Blenko Drive

It's Official - At 7:20 last evening the Senate approved the House Bill to create BILL BLENKO DRIVE. The road leading to Blenko Glass will have an official name change - BILL BLENKO DRIVE.
This proposal passed without a negative vote or debate. Great Idea! Blenko Glass Company has been located in Milton for close to a century .

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Snow . . Ice.... these things don't stop the serious Shoppers! Recently I read the price of vintage Blenko is down. Personally I have not seen any of the items on my "MUST HAVE" list at reduced prices. However, if the prices are LOW this is the time to BUY Vintage Blenko. Or you might just drive down to Milton and buy NEW Blenko and wait for it to age (smile). Buying quality and handmade in any market is a good Value. check out ebay - the Purple Moon on Capitol Street in Charleston, The shops along the main drag in Milton, The Milton Flea Market.....Taylors Books, DIXIE"S ON LINE, if you have other special places or on line shops - let me know and I'll add them.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Dreams . . .

"Dreams are like stars . . you may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny" author unknown

For many of my friends from High School the choice of Business and / or Business Management as their career path, was based on the dream of one day being a CEO. Perhaps it was the TV we watched : the CEO's flew in private jets, ate out a lot, and seemed to have a life of leisure. The one CEO I know - works very hard. . his personal motto seem to be - " what is not started today will not be finished tomorrow." Richard Blenko is always on the go and always promoting West Virginia, West Virginia Glass Industry and his own BLENKO GLASS

Being the CEO of BLENKO GLASS (Milton, WV) http://www.blenkoglass.co/. seems like a dream job. After seeing the schedule you may think NOT!
I'm going to share with his schedule for March, which he described as a 'slow' month.
Someone said ' To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan but also believe.' Richard Blenko is an example of one individual working well with others to make a dream continue.

march 2 arrive Des Moines Iowa
march 3 IPT television 4:30-6pm reception/broadcast 6:30pm
march 4 Las Vegas
march 6 Vegas PBS 6pm reception/broadcast 7:30pm
march 7 Fresno
march 8th reception 5:30/broadcast 7pm
march 10 orlando
march 11 broadcast 8-10pm
march 12 Grapevine arrive 10:10 am
march 13 Witchita Falls, texas Kemp Center event
march 16 san francisco lv 10:50 am dfw
march 17-21 sales calls / meetings w/ reps
march 22 Charleston return
march 27 Grapevine
march 28 Ft Worth American Diabetes Assoc; Ft Worth Club
march 30 Charleston return

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Beautiful Blenko Photo


Blenko Art Glass Show and Sale returns to Kemp Center for the Arts

A gala evening is planned for A Trail of Glass, March 13th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Kemp Center for the Arts. The Blenko Glass show and sale will be in the Great Hall along with two exhibits, Blenko Stained glass panels and Blenko Silk Screens portraits. The NorthLight will feature an exciting collection of Blenko Glass from a major Blenko collector in Vashti Texas. Bruce Specht and his wife Debbie have amassed a stunning collection of over 800 glass studio works and will be sharing numerous pieces from their collection in the NorthLight Gallery from March 13 through April 19, 2008.

The Blenko Glass exhibit, show and sale at the Kemp Center for the Arts last June was one of the highlights at the Kemp. Richard Blenko, President of Blenko Glass of West Virginia, was so pleased with the reception he received in Wichita Falls, he asked to come back. This year he is also bringing a Stained Glass Exhibit and a Blenko Silk Screen Portrait collection from the Blenko Glass Museum, which will be exhibited in the Great Hall. The stained Glass exhibit was most recently seen at the West Virginia Art Museum.

Blenko Glass Company is shipping 120 Blenko glass works to the Kemp which will go on display in Local Color, The Kemp Gift Shop beginning February 26th. The Kemp will pay the tax on any glass purchased before the Gala ,March 13th . Richard Blenko will be available on the 13th to sign any glass purchased. Additionally he is bringing a glass vase
which will be given away at the end of the evening. There is no charge for the Trail of Glass Gala and no charge for the drawing, but you must be present to win!

For more information about the Trail of Glass please call the Kemp Center for the Arts at 940-767—2787 or go on line at www.kempcenter.org. The Blenko Glass will be on sale at the Kemp beginning February 26. The Trail of Glass gala is open to members of the Kemp and guests.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

We Need Your Photos of BLENKO GLASS

The HEART OF GLASS Blog wants very much to hear and share your personal stories of BLENKO COLLECTING and if you have photos - or just stories about the factory. Write: theblenkoproject@aol.com HJH

Monday, March 03, 2008

Regal Necklace - Wayne Husted

Thursday Feb. 28th Terry Tomabari hosted a celebration party to honor the opening of an exciting new building.

Wayne Husted - Designer Extraordinaire - who has a Blenko Connection - as his very first job after graduating ALFRED University was at Blenko Glass.

Wayne was kind enough to send a photo and the following information, which I'm sharing with you all. Isn't this amazing work?
This is a photo of the finished lobby “Regal Necklace” That is finally up and the fountain running (That is copper fountain beneath the hanging disks.).. Glass disks are so big that we had to make a larger glory hole to heat them in. Bronze plaque at right says “Regal Necklace by Wayne Husted” A heck ofa time getting my signature made in thin Bronze!First floor is all Medical..like a hospital without overnight stays. Plus psychiatric offices. All of second level has large Real Estate firm (70 agents) and a first rate conference auditorium like meeting room.The builder/Owner, Terry Tombari.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

BLENKO - The People - Hinton 'Jarfly' Richmond

"Jarfly" Richmond is described by those who worked with him as gentle, but big, a person who went out of his way to be helpful, a colorful figure and a large part of the 'Blenko' history. Mr. Richmond worked at Blenko Glass when the very elite Glass Artist such as Marvin Lipofsky, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvin_Lipofsky - 17k , Henry Halem www.clevelandartandhistory.org/HTMLPages/artists/Hartists.htm and Fritz Driesbach www.askart.com/askart/d/fritz_dreisbach/fritz_dreisbach.aspx - 28k - were 'exploring factory glass work'...invited by Mr. WH Blenko and Joel Myers.

The Putnam Post April 30, 2004 had the following to say:
HINTON "Jarfly" RICHMOND(Apr 30, 2004)HINTON "Jarfly" RICHMOND, of Huntington, loving husband of Emma Jean Richmond, departed this life on April 28, 2004. at St. Mary�s Medical Center after a short illness. He was born November 26, 1926 in Milton, W.Va., the son of the late Hinton and Bessie Ball Richmond. He was retired from Blenko Glass Company with 48 years of service as a glass blower and Plant Manager. He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Emma Jean Richmond, also three children.

Richard Blenko - CEO at Blenko Glass wrote the following about Hinton " Jarfly" Richmond.
Jarfly Richmond came to work before WWII and joined the Army and was stationed overseas in Japan as a cook. He was 5'7'' tall and weighed about 230 pounds. He was one of the best glass blowers in Blenko's history and enormously strong, which helps in manipulating glass. No task was too heavy, too complicated for Jarfly. He also had strong work ethic peculiar to the pre and post war employees. It was an earlier time of surviving the war and hard living and drinking. No matter how late the night was the day before, these fellows always came to work on time and performed. Jar was part of this group that was very intelligent and highly skilled. To have someone produce more glass than you was an affront to their abilities. No one could outwork Jar or work harder in his blowing skills. He was a good problem solver and worked with all the Blenko designers from 1947 to his retirement in the late 1980s. I used to spend hours talking with Jar in his office and always found him to be a confidant and father figure: when there were personal problems; he was a perveyor of sound advice and always supportive. When he left Blenko, we were never quite the same and the end of an era. He was a bulldog of man and in fear of no one or in awe or wealth or skill; he often told me, he came into this world with nothing and there was nothing he wanted or needed. As men of this era were, he was a dapper dresser with wavy hair and a soft voice which belied his enormous physical strength; he had an infectious smile. When he died I lost a friend, a collaborator and the type of fellow that will not be seen again.
Wayne Husted - Designer and Glass Artist living/working in California - Former Blenko designer who worked with "jarfly" remembers
"... I feel sure that you have found that the reason all the guys called him “Jarfly” was because he was always like a fly in a jar... buzzing around continuously. He was always very busy and on top of things - I thought he was a carry-in boy when I started at Blenko and progressed to either finisher or blower. He later moved into management I think, he was very well liked by everyone at Blenko.
Note: The photo used in this article was provided by Tammy Kosla Blenko Collector Society President
We hope to post some additional factory photos of 'Jarfly' Richmond.
If you knew Mr. Hinton "jarfly" Richmond please leave a note or send photos, we want to share the stories and your memories. Thanks HJH
Note: Thanks to Tammie Kosloa President Blenko Collectors Society for photo of 'Jarfly' with Don Sheperd who was a designer for Blenko.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Vintage Water Bottles with Handles

This photo is of water bottles with handles - a part of the wonderful collection belonging to Tim and Karin Alonzo of Texas.