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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Yes, We Can!

Yes, we can make a difference by donating our money to support the West Virginia Museum of American Glass in Weston, WVa.
This would be a very special item, for an anniversary, birthday, special event or graduation, special person etc.
Fundrasing Project for MAGinWV. A new program to support the capital campaign for the new building has been launched. A member purchased a selection of glass bricks from BLENKO GLASS made specifically for an architectural application for a made to order client. Some of the overrun production of these large glass slabs now resides at the Museum. They are approximately one inch thick and the size of a standard block in all other dimensions. They are a honey amber color and will allow light to pass through them in a pleasant way.
The project will create a wall of these surrounding a major front window at the MUSEUM. Bricks will be laid up in a manner like clay bricks, but with their largest dimensions facing the viewer. On these donors of $100 may add up to three lines of print. The print will be sand carved into the bricks by glass artist Kelsey Murphy and Ben Bonkamp. The text can be just your name, your business name and location, a memorial or a dedication to someone else, or anything you can fit on three lines of about 20 -25 characters per line. For $125 a carving of a glass worker will enhance your brick or simply a logo may be added.
Money should be sent to the Museum with a memo of GLASS BRICK on the payment line. Calls inquiring about this are welcome at 304 269 5006 .
Above info from 'All About Glass' - WVMAG VolV No4

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Major Installations that contain BLENKO Antique and Slab Glass

Several people have written to ask where they can see examples of BLENKO at use in buildings, or Blenko windows.
I see to spot Blenko frequently in Stain glass works of art. Below is a list provided by BLENKO GLASS (304 743 9081) it is not all inclusive - if you know of others - and you want to share - please write.
Air Force Academy, Denver CO
Norman Temple, Washington, DC
Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, OH
Washington Cathedral, Washington DC
New York Hall of Science, New York World's Fair 1964
St Mary's Cathedral, San Francisco, CA
Westminster Abbey Church Benedictine
Heinz Chapel, University of Pittsburgh
Colonial WIlliamsburg, Williamsburg VA - used for Colonial House window repair

Monday, April 28, 2008

Another Monday. . . Random Thoughts...

This is exam time at the WVU Dental School - a mere 15 days and the semester is over. My class will very soon be 4th year Dental Students - this is both exciting and frightening. WVU is a great school and we are certainly very well prepared to assume the senior role, but health care on any level is a tremendous responsibility.
Daily I become more in awe of my own family dentist, the large practice he maintains with such ease and grace, my former pediatrician Dr. Magmundar (who reared her son and worked full time), and ...well, the list goes on.
We tend to assume our 'health care provider' will always be available and do a marvelous job, bill our insurance more most all the cost and that he or she won't notice if we have gained weight, returned to smoking or are very late with our yearly check up. WE often assume everything will always be the same - - and taken care of by someone else.
My Grandad often use to say " Ya get what you pay for, look for quality in everything!"
Blenko Glass (304 743 9081) continues to make daily in their factory hand crafted glass items - quality items. As consumers we often just 'assume' handcrafted made in WVa glass will always be readily available (and I certainly believe it will be) - but with all things - our health care providers, our factory workers, our health, our well being . . . we must be proactive.
Make wise choices, informed choices in all areas.
If you aren't using WV Glassware in your home - ask your self - "why not?" if you aren't giving 'gifts' Made in West Virginia - again, "why not?" We have some of the finest craftsmen in the world. Visit the TAMARACK CENTER - investigate
your options. BUY Made In the USA and when possible Made IN WVA. hjh
Note: The BLENKO GLASS FROG was I believed designed by Don Shepperd in the mid 80s. Corrects are always welcome!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Day in Time

Note: Photo of Everette ' Shorty' Finley - Milton, W. Va. - Retired Blenko Craftsman, Milton City Councilman, life long resident of Milton, West Virginia taken April 26, 2007. photo and history info from Steve Rowe - Webmaster.
Today is Saturday, April 26, the 117th day of 2008. There are 249 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On April 26, 1607, English colonists went ashore at present-day Cape Henry, Va., on an expedition to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere. (They later settled at Jamestown.)
On this date:
In 1785, American naturalist and artist John James Audubon was born in present-day Haiti.
In 1865, John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln, was surrounded by federal troops near Bowling Green, Va., and killed.
In 1937, planes from Nazi Germany raided the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
In 1945, Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France's Vichy government during World War II, was arrested.
In 1964, the African nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.
In 1968, the United States exploded beneath the Nevada desert a 1.3 megaton nuclear device called "Boxcar."
In 1970, the Stephen Sondheim musical "Company" opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York.
In 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union.
In 1993, Conan O'Brien was named to succeed David Letterman as host of NBC's "Late Night" program.
In 2000, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean signed the nation's first bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions.
Ten years ago: Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera, a leading human rights activist in Guatemala, was bludgeoned to death two days after the public release of a report he had compiled on atrocities during Guatemala's 36-year civil war.
Five years ago: A Soyuz rocket carrying American astronaut Edward Lu and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko blasted off for the international space station. .One year ago: The Senate joined the House in clearing legislation calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq to begin by Oct. 1, 2007, with a goal of a complete pullout six months later. (President Bush vetoed the measure.) Eight Democratic presidential hopefuls gathered in Orangeburg, S.C., for their first debate of the 2008 campaign, during which they heaped criticism on President Bush's Iraq policy.
Thought for Today: "Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called." — John Stuart Mill, English political philosopher (1806-1873).

Saturday, April 26, 2008

WVU - Marshall Fans

BLENKO GLASS (304 743 9081) The Marshall University and WVU Waterbottles are Back in Stock - phone today! You don't want to miss getting this collectors item - they make great graduation gifts.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mother's Day Holiday - Blenko Connection

Mother's Day is fast approaching! This is one of the MOST important Holidays - this year may we recommend in addition to the usual ' Dinner or Breakfast Out' bring yourMother or Mother in law or just any special 'lady' Flowers in a BLENKO GLASS container.
In honor of Mother's Day BLENKO GLASS in MILTON has many beautiful baskets, vases, and other containers at reduced prices. ALso available are some high end designer limited edition signed items - The Blenko Glass Visitors Center in Milton has one of the most unique collections of BLENKO GLASS and other items made in West Virginia.
Note: The following is general info about Mother's Day. The United States celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. In the United States, Mother's Day was loosely inspired by the British day and was imported by social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American Civil War. However, it was intended as a call to unite women against war. In 1870, she wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. Her idea was influenced by Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mothers' Work Days. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors. In parts of the United States it is customary to plant tomatoes outdoors after Mother's Day (and not before).
When Jarvis died in 1907, her daughter, named Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother's Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, on 10 May 1908, in the church where the elder Ann Jarvis had taught Sunday School. Originally the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, this building is now the International Mother's Day Shrine (a National Historic Landmark). From there, the custom caught on — spreading eventually to 45 states. The holiday was declared officially by some states beginning in 1912. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.
Nine years after the first official Mother's Day, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become. Mother's Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States.

Thanks to Steve Rowe - Web Master for the info.

1993 - BLENKO - West Virginia Birthday

Another Hank Adams design. The color is amber and a purplish blue - its awesome with the sun shining nearby. The texture, the design. This one and the 94 its partner must be seen up close to really appreciate their beauty.

1992 - BLENKO- West Virginia BIRTHDAY

This vase has texture, depth, color and great form. I recently learned it is one of Mr. WH Blenko's favorite vases. In 1992 this item was chosen to be the WEST VIRGINIA BIRTHDAY PIECE. Another large vase. Highly collectible.

1991 - BLENKO - June 20th Birthday

This is another classic design. Crystal with cobalt. Timeless design.

Blenko at its best!

1990 West Virginia Birthday - BLENKO

Hank Adams designed this Birthday Piece. The Blenko name for the color is _____, I honestly can't remember. Its between a dusty rose and a purple pink. Beautiful color and texture. The vase looks most beautiful in morning light. Owning a HANKS ADAMS design for some is the treasure, they could care less that this is a WV Birthday Blenko. It's a signed Hank Adams.

This is another very special - vintage BLENKO item.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sinatra w/ WV Symphony at the Clay Center

Well actually its a tribute to Frank Sinatra featuring John Pizzarelli a New Jersey native who is multi talented. Eon and I saw him awhile back where he performed on Mountain Stage. This is a concert you won't want to miss. FRIDAY NIGHT 8pm.
The West Virginia Symphony is always AWESOME! Have I told you - I played trombone with the Youth Section of the West Virginia Symphony (see - I do have some secrets).
Tickets are available cost is $17.50 to $51.50
Check out the GIFT SHOP - they have a large selection of BLENKO GLASS www.blenkoglass.com 304 743 9081.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

West Virginia Glass Makers

Can you identify the maker of these two items? Are they by the same person/company?
Clue#1 They were made in West Virginia. Clue#2 They were not made by Blenko Glass Co.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

EARTH DAY www.earthday.net

Blenko Glass, Fenton Glass, Wismack, most all Glass Companys recycle leftover glass often they sell these piece to smaller shops or crafts people who might melt the proudct to produce beads or small glass objects.
When you buy BLENKO GLASS or any GLASS product you are protecting the environment - a glass product has life - can be reused for ever (well almost forever) - - - plastic (OH WHY did we ever think PLASTIC was the answer?) grows ugly with age - and paper must be consistently replaced...While GLASS- well it must be cleaned, and can be broken However GLASS, looks and feels so nice!
I like drinking my soda or water from GLASS!
Doesn't it give you a warm feeling to know your glass is made in the USA! RECYCLE REUSE BUY WISELY. . . .Bring your own Coffee cup...USE GLASS daily in your home. Buy your glass locally.
Walk instead of driving. . .just for today
Think about the EARTH!
At BLENKO GLASS for nearly 100 years they have been recycling- reusing - thinking about being more Earth Friendly.

What is Custom Glass Casting?

On 4/17 we wrote about BLENKO Glass's ability to do Custom Casting work for your home.
Don Lemley in the Antique Glass Department (who is also an artist and does Stain Glass Classes) tells me BLENKO can and does do this frequently for contractors whose clients want the very best.
Solomon wrote to ask 'what is custom casting' we thought a photo of 2 custom cast tile might answer the question - if NOT Solomon, please write again. BLENKO GLASS - Milton, West Virginia. phone 304 743 9081.

Monday, April 21, 2008

T- Shirts New Supply at the Blenko Glass VC

Readers Margie and Cullon have written several times to say " Blenko Glass T- Shirts - everything is a size XL or XX Help" Well now they have a new shipment - Children sizes SML
Adult Sizes SML XL XX XXX. Note: If you are a small adult Female - May I suggest trying Child's Medium. Cost $ 18-24.

Reader Tidbits - Words by Great Personalities

Thanks to Blog reader Bridgett for these Great quotes.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Surprises - Upstairs at Blenko

Blenko Glass located off I - 64 in downtown
Milton, West Virginia.
This small factory, in business for nearly 100 years, is still making glass the old fashion way with many wooden molds, many teams of glass workers, excellent craftsmen working hard each to produce hand crafted ' Made In the USA GLASS ' -For those of you who love shopping and or a bargain / there is a little gift shop next to the factory called the VISITORS CENTER see http://www.blenkoproject.org/ inside the Visitors Center you'll find wonderful isles of glass and many one of a kind items, the upstairs contains vintage Blenko and a history of Blenko Glass and many tools of the trade and the walk way to the 'self guided tour' where one watches the workers making the glass. The upstairs also contains many - more than a dozen beautiful stain glass window panes. Some of the panels are shown in Richard Blenko's latest documentary. Learn more about the role Blenko plays in the world of the arts.
Blenko glass in the 1950s became the first company in the US to produce dalles utilizing a process bought to us by the French. Blenko Dalle de Verre is available in 54 standard colors plus 2 crystal. Blenko...just when you think you know...everything....you discover there is so o o o o much more - 100 years is a lot of history.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

1989 Blenko West Virginia Birthday

The 1989 BLENKO Birthday is a large vase often used to hold long stem roses. Another very large piece. It is blue in color, the design is simple. This vase was My Grandmother Fran 's(Francis Homburg - Wheeling, WVa) favorite of the Birthday Pieces - she thought this vase to be very useful for spring floral arrangements. hjh

Friday, April 18, 2008

Appalachian Film Festival This Weekend in Huntigton!

Now in its fifth year, the Appalachian Film Festival , host by the Huntington Regional Film Commission, is presenting 34 films "for us, by us," to be shown this weekend (Friday April 18 through Saturday, April 19) at downtown Huntington's historic Keith Albee Theater.

Along with cash prizes, the filmmakers are competing ' Appy Awards' hand-blown Blenko Glass apples handed out at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at an awards ceremony held inside the Frederick Hotel.

Admission to the film fest is a $2 suggested donation at the door for an all-day entry, $5 for non competing films.

A Full Schedule can be found here
(be sure to try and catch Johhny Boy, a feature some talented friends of mine worked on, at 1:30 on Friday!)

FEATURE FILMS: "Tattered Angel," "Crash Gordon," "Elizabeth Gunness," "Stomp! Shout! Scream!" "Grilling Bobby Hicks" and "Johnny Boy."

DOCUMENTARY FILMS: "Mountain Top Removal," "Devil's Oven: The Fire in the Heart of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds," "Kilowatt Ours," "Moving Mountains" and "Change Comes Knocking: The Story of The North Carolina Fund."

SHORT FILMS: "Joe Mover" "Gravida," "The Church of the Good Thief," "Meter," "Spring 1386," "Doors," "What Ana Left Behind," "Nothing but Net," "Steak Dreams," "Trouble Sens," "In Silent Spaces" and "Playdate."

YOUNG FILMMAKERS: "Anthropophobia" and "Speaking Truth to Power: The Story of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee."

MICROFILMS: "Fashionable: A Music Video From Quiet Co.," "Inside," "Simulacra" and "Spiral Bound."

Admission to the film fest is a $2 suggested donation at the door for an all-day entry, $5 for non competing films.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Custom Casting

Don Lemley of Antique Glass at Blenko sent the following reminder: " BLENKO GLASS can custom cast glass to your exact specifications. Our years of experience in casting allow us to efficiently pour glass to achieve the most suitable texture and depth of color.
Blenko custom castings have been used in notable installations such as the RAINBOW ROOM in Rockefeller Center (New York, NY), Thomas Jefferson Hall Library at the United States military Academy (West Point, NY) and the Veltri Bell Monument, City of Plantation Firefighter Memorial (Plantation, Florida).
Abilities include:
Squares from 2x2 to 24'x24'
Circles from 1 3/8' up to 26' diameter at l' thick
And much more. . . .
Blenko's skilled craftsmen custom fabricate molds to our customers exact specifications. Our master welders can turn your idea into reality. We have numerous standard molds in stock and ready to use to complete your custom cast job.
Examples: Custom Pavers from 1" to 6" and larger these have been used in sidewalk restoration in Boston, New York and Washington DC.
Custom Cast Tiles for Kitchen and Baths, and Windows.
Custom semi rounds for home or garden accents.
Your ability to create is unlimited with BLENKO!
Contractors and General Public Welcome 304 743 9081 "

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

1988 Blenko West Virginia Birthday Pices

One piece is made for each year of statehood starting in 1980. The pieces are an extremely limited production of how many years West Virginia has been a state. Example -1980 only 117 pieces were produced. All are signed and number. West Virginia was the 35th State of the Union and was Incorporated, June 20,1863.

The 1988 Birthday Piece is between a light purple and pink color with a hint of blue - the shape is that of a very large plate/bowl. It is often used as a centerpiece. It is quiet large, and most difficult to display. The 1988 does not fit properly in a china closet. This item we've seen sell for up to $650. Its one of the less expensive older pieces.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

1987 - Blenko West Virginia Birthday

The Basket - Sometimes Called Ladies Bonnet (don't ask me why?). This is one of my favorites. It is very simple. Crystal glass with a cobalt blue ribbon. These are difficult to find, as the handle was broken, and also because people liked and used them.

1987 Blenko West Virginia Birthday simple, elegant, functional.

Reader Tidbits - Blenko Foot and Frogs!

Some whimsical pieces from the collection of reader Holly Shivel, who calls Blenko collecting 'a family affair'!

The Blenko Foot has a hollow back. I found it about two years ago at the Outlet and love the dark blue color. I saw the hands there but they were, for lack of better words, uber creepy! :) Holly wrote. The trio of bullfrogs! The stickers are on the other side. Like most collectors I like to have the stickers on the pieces!

Monday, April 14, 2008

1986 - Blenko - West Virginia Birthday

1985 West Virginia Birthday - Blenko Collectors Item

This item is perfect for floral arrangements - it has been described as the most functional of all the Birthday Collection. The color is vivid, the form very unique. HJH photos from blenko collectors - thanks

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ms Phyliss's Blenko Collection

http://www.blenkoproject.org/ see Ms. Phyliss's collection.

This collection along with many other pieces not shown on the http://www.blenkoproject.org/ website will be auctioned off next Saturday. If you are a Blenko collector, or really a collector of anything - this will be an auction - not to miss. Phyliss and Red Powers were known to buy high quality items, Phyliss was an artist, she loved art and often befriended other artist. Red spent his life working at Blenko. Together they had one of the finest BLENKO GLASS collections and a multitude of other collections.

The list is below. Phone the auction house - if you need to phone bid.
The Estate of Phyllis Powers, Teays Valley, WV.
Mountaineer Auctions is proud to offer to the public the Estate of Mrs. Phyllis Powers, Putnam County former business owner & long time resident. This auction contains an extensive collection of a retired 50year BLENKO employee along with quality glass, china, & furniture groupings to include…
many scarce & rare pieces including Artist Proofs - Yellow, green, & blue signed Wayne Husted Artist Proof 1 of 1 Blenko carafe; Extremely rare 2pc crackle & threaded center bowl with epergne vase center; Pink crackle #8434; Ruby decanter w/amber string thread; Approximately 70pcs Colonial Williamsburg – crystal air twist stems, vases, old fashions, tumblers, etc.; Crystal & amethyst vase signed Wayne Husted Artist Proof 1 of 2 Blenko; Graffiti pitchers; One of a kind 2pc crystal vase & bowl inscribed “Nancy Reagan on the Inauguration of Ronald Reagan Jan. 1986”; Crystal & blue vase #7723; Crystal State of WV decanter w/threaded top; Crystal free form candle holders #3015; Hurricane globes; Super amberina #6525 figural decanter w/smiley face stopper; Jack Daniels decanters, pitchers, & unusual large cowboy Hat; Crystal & green signed Husted water bottle; One of a kind amber & blue signed “Thanks Phyllis Wayne Husted 2/03” water bottle; Yellow & green double signed Wayne Husted water bottle #32/200; Amberina Sun Face water bottle signed Wayne Husted Artist Proof; Yellow & green signed Blenko 2004 Wayne Husted Artist Proof vase; Signed millennium vases; Powers/Donohoe/Husted pewter & crystal stem w/State of WV seal; Amber & Blue vase signed Richard Blenko 61; Green & cobalt Wayne Husted Artist Proof Blenko 2003 & Rick Blenko signed bird pitcher; Cobalt & teal signed Wayne Husted Artist Proof bird pitcher; Tall crystal & blue threaded vase; Ruby berry bowls; 2 & 3 light hanging chandeliers with hurricane globes; Crystal Colorado plate; Crystal cheese tray; Ruby & blue water bottle whimsy signed Wayne Husted; 4 Bicentennial crystal mugs; Crystal low candlesticks; Amber & blue Wayne Husted Artist Proof 2004 bird pitchers – signed; Amber paneled crackle table lamp; Amber square vase, jugs, over handle basket, etc.; Amethyst water bottle; Cobalt & crystal signed Husted Artist Proof pitcher; Crystal & red 2003 signed Wayne Husted Artist Proof water bottle; Amethyst signed Wayne Husted glass blower water bottle; Blue, green, & yellow signed Wayne Husted Artist Proof sunburst water bottle; Crystal heart vases; Amber Colonial Williamsburg flask; Crystal Milton WV covered bridge book ends; Amber & blue threaded ruffled bowl; Teal Jack Daniels bottle; Rhododendron footed cake plate & whimsy turned edge plate; Crystal & blue over handle threaded basket; Cobalt #6424 vase signed WH Blenko with iridescence; Cobalt threaded over handle basket; Cobalt pitcher w/Seal of the Governor of WV; Pink #8112M vase; Blenko stopper bowl; Crystal & Blue penguin; Pink crackle vase #C64B; 2 crystal USS Nitro For the City of Nitro May 27, 1984 mugs Crystal & amber large vase signed WH Blenko; Amber & teal vase signed WH Blenko & more…

http://www.auctionzip.com/WV-Auctioneers/5073.html Mountaineer Auction Gallery Clendenin, West Virginia.

Blenko Man - Museum of American Glass

Blenko Man at the Museum of American Glass in Weston, WVa.

Blenko Man, a sculpture assembled from colorful Blenko glass vases and other glass forms, was dedicated on October 19, 2007 during the grand re-opening celebration of the Museum of American Glass in West Virginia. The near life-sized cowboy resides in a sidewalk display window of the museum’s new location in Weston.
Blenko Man is the idea and gift of Rock Wilson, of Pennsboro, WV who has been collecting Blenko Glass Co. glass for almost 20 years and was drawn to Blenko because “Blenko glass is fun and I love the odd forms, vibrant colors and fantastic size….some pieces are 3 to 4 feet tall.”
Because Blenko made vases shaped like heads and ashtrays shaped like hands and feet, Wilson thought that a man could be created. As a friend and business associate of Dean Six, founder and director of the museum, he wanted to contribute to the museum yet wasn’t sure how to put it together. Then last fall, fate intervened when internationally recognized sculptor John Zidek moved to Pennsboro and a partnership was born.
John Zidek has exhibited at Art Expo NY and has pieces in the collections of such well known people as Kenny Rogers, Waylon Jennings and Ross Johnson, former CEO of Nabisco. In addition he was an invited Artist at Planetfest 1997-NASA Celebration of Rover Landing on Mars and has a large installation at the Fox Cities Children’s Museum in Wisconsin. He has worked with several materials, but currently is focused on copper wire sculpture which works so well for Blenko Man. Thus Zidek took on the project eagerly.
Mr. Wilson provided 18 glass objects from his personal collection noting that it was hard to give up the piece that forms the right arm as it is signed by Richard Blenko, fourth generation president of the firm. In selecting the glass to be used, Wilson tried to include as much variety as possible in color, size and shape as well as age including pieces from the 1960’s until the present time. A problem arose when he had only one hand and one foot, but the Blenko factory graciously made a special production run of hands and feet that were originally made in the 1970’s. (The hand represents the company’s outline logo indicating that the products are handmade.) The only minor glitch was that the glass molds are only for left hands and feet, yet the Blenko Man proudly lifts aloft his right left hand.
A western theme was selected to use the glass cactus, steer heads and cowboy hat available in Wilson’s collection. Originally the cowboy hat was to be of clear glass, but his two year old son made a move that caused a shift to a rare ruby colored one instead. The hats are currently in production in clear and topaz.
Adding to the western style, Blenko Man sits surrounded by sand and cactus creating a little bit of desert in West Virginia.
Showcased inside the museum is beautiful American made glass arranged by form and or by company. It is amazing to see how many glass houses once operated in the region of Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Once a thriving industry, there are only a few handmade glass companies still in business and one is Blenko which began in 1893. Located in Milton, WV its colored glass for stained glass windows and architecture has long been widely used. And the lovely shapes and colors of its decorative and utilitarian wares can be found in homes throughout the country.
The Museum of American Glass in West Virginia is open year round noon to 4:30pm daily except Wednesday, Sunday and major holidays. Admission is free. It is easily accessible off I-79 exit 99 onto US 33 West for two miles to Main Avenue. A left turn onto Main and the museum is on the left at 230 Main Avenue. Begun in 1992, the Museum relocated to its present location in 2007 and occupies 12,000 square feet with nearly 7,000 pieces of glass on permanent display. More information can be found at http://wvmag.bglances.com/. Questions about programs or the museum can be directed to 304-269-5006.
Note: Thank you to Dean Six of the Museum of American Glass for providing this information.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

1985 West Virginia Birthday - Blenko

This one is often described as a 'shell' or 'clam' it's blue and gold of course for the state colors. The 1985 is not as difficult to find - I think perhaps because people fail to see the beauty of this piece. Another Don Shepard design. Photo from Blenko Collectors see Blenko Collectors Four web site for additonal photos and lots of info about BLENKO.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Clayton Lunsford - Blenko The People

For me the 'best' thing about BLENKO GLASS has always been the 'people' who work there. The ladies in the office, the gift shop, and the wonderful men in the shops.When I see a piece of BLENKO GLASS while I admire the color, style, and beauty - I also think - who was the chemist, signer, the blower, what team worked on this item.

BLENKO - The People is our attempt to allow you to learn about the men and women who are a part of BLENKO, past and present.

Richard Blenko, CEO and 4th Generation BLENKO, graciously contributed this Memorial commemoration of Clayton Lunsford.Clayton Lunsford came to work at blenko around 1939 and went to WWII; several Blenko employees lost their lives during the war but Clayton came back to Blenko to work post War. He was about 5' 9 inches tall and weighed about 150 lbs and very well groomed. He was an extremely talented glass finisher and in spite of some health problems late in his career, continued tot be a fine glass blower. . He was of that class of individual who was always on time, at work and performing well day after day for 40 years. Most people do not realize how demanding it is to work in the heat of a glass factory. Clayton was always smiling and like those pre and just post war employees, very intelligent and had a great work ethic, that is impossible to find these days. I always remember he dressed well, had an air of cologne and was telling stories. He was in that group of employees that Blenko built their reputation on finely made glass and easy to work with in a demanding environment.He was master of blown Williamsburg stemware. He tirelessly waited for his wife, Mildred our office manager every day and every day for many years I spoke with him on the shop floor. He had two sons that I knew growing up in Milton and like their father, fine people. It is important that we remember these fine West Virginia craftsman and not forget them or forget their great skills. Their greatest legacy is that of fine people.

*Photo graciously provided by www.blenkocollectors.com

1984 West Virginia Birthday - BLENKO GLASS

This beautiful bowl in an apricot color with Don Sheperd's interpertation of the State Flower in the base is simple, yet it compliments Wedgewood Runneymede
China beautifully.

Another of the 13 most difficult to find. Hjh

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Reader Tidbits - Photos of Chihuly in St Louis

Photos of Chihuly Glass in St Louis - From Ravi
who in another life could have been a professional photographer.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Reader Writes - Question about Myers'

I'm hopeful that you can help me with some info on a Joel Philip Myers vase that I have. It's an abstract female-form in crystal with applied tangerine arms and breasts. The thick rim is crimped to give the appearance of a tall hair-do. All I know about it is that it's a Joel Myers design, and I saw one in crystal with green arms and breasts in a photo from the Blenko Museum. Do you know it's number, and if it is referred to by anything other than that number? Since I haven't been able to find much on this piece, I'm assuming it might be relatively uncommon. Any guidance is greatly appreciated.

Mike - I know this item

I own it in Ruby, Let me look for the photo and number
I'm thinking its a 7047 Joel Philip Myers but need to confirm.

in the mean time perhaps a collector will come on line

and answer these questions before I get back to you!

If NOT look for the answer some time next week - along with my Lady's photo.

Reader's Question - Safe Ebay Sellers?

Several readers have written to ask if we can recommend EBAY Sellers of Blenko.
As a student with no money - I can't recommend. I did ask Tammy Kosla the President of BLenko Collectors and she gave me the following list.
glasslanding plus she has a website http://glasslanding.com/
Note: My Mom has purchased for me many items from danddkcollectibles - Dream and Keith Wood know Blenko, and are knowledgeable sellers.
If you know of other sellers or vendors - pass along the info.


Send your photos of glass (Blenko or other WV Glass) for sharing on the Blog.
If you want to share your favorite 'glass shopping place' or you own a glass shopping place and you want us to know about your shop. Send photos and
tell us about your GLASS.

1983 - West Virginia Birthday - BLENKO

Blenko Glass - 1983 - West Virginia Birthday. Item signed and numbered. Sold at Diamond Department Store
Charleston, West Virginia in June of 83.
This item designed by Don Sheperd shows the beautiful West Virginia blue sky with mountains of gold in the bottom.
The Blenko silver label of hands is sometimes found on these - sometimes not as the ladies who purchased these bowls used them to hold fruit, flowers, as center pieces or sometimes as a display piece on a side table.
This bowl can be found in limited supply (less than #150 were made in 83) and has been sold for between $l, OOO and $350. You may be 'lucky' enough to find one at a 'tag sale' for less. Often times the seller doesn't have knowledge - if you as a buyer KNOW the item - and check to make certain its signed / numbered/ and it is indeed a WV Birthday you may be able to get a great bargain. I recently heard about a buyer who picked this item up in South Charleston for $350 - which I consider a great bargain. HJH
The 2008 WV Birthday BLENKO will be sold at BLENKO GLASS Milton, WV in June. The cost will be under $200, it will be a signed, limited edition, collectors item. Plan to start you collection of WV Birthday with 2008, or give this item to a newly wed. What a great wedding gift! HJH

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

1982 - Blenko Glass - WV Birthday

1982 - Blenko Glass - WV Birthday

A photo of the 1982 Blenko Glass - West Virginia Birthday

This was designed by Don Shepard who was at the time the Blenko Glass designer.

The item is crystal with a swirl of cobalt blue at the top (to represent the water in WV)- it has the mountains in the bottom to represent the mountains of West Virginia

Many people think this simple piece is one of the most lovely. hjh

Reader Info - Tidbits

We ask for photos of the Blenko Zodiac from the 70s and this reader was kind enough to send photos of her collection which includes a couple.
Thank you.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Readers Info - Tidbits

Ram Grung an engineer from Maryland who frequently makes comments and has began to collect Blenko is on extended vacation with family in Solan, Himachal Pradesh which is near to Shimla a tourist place . Ram reports he is surrounded by mountains in this part of India and they often get snow. I'll have to check with the Blenko Collectors Society - Ram may be our
most distant Blenko Collector.

West Virginia Birthday - Blenko 1981

1981 Blenko Glass - West Virginia Birthday.

This photo is of the West Virginia Birthday Piece 1981. This item was designed by Don Sheperd, who was the Blenko Glass designer. It is shaped somewhat like a ginger jar - the vase has "mountains" in the bottom to represent the WV Mountains.

This piece is very difficult to find - actually, most of the early 80-90 are difficult to find. All Blenko - Birthday Pieces (are less than #200 each in number of produced) keep the photo, and during your weekend travels or trips out of town, be looking for these early pieces. We've heard of people paying up to $1,800 and as little as $200 for West Virginia Birthday - Blenko.

It's a great collection - If you haven't started collection Birthday - Blenko. The 2008 will be sold is June at Blenko Glass Visitors Center. I'll post a photo of this beautiful item sometime in late May. As always the 2008 will be limited number and the lines are long plan to arrive several hours before the Blenko Visitors Center opens.

RE: West Virginia Birthday - Blenko
One piece is made for each year of statehood starting in 1980. The pieces are an extremely limited production of how many years West Virginia has been a state. Example- 1980 only 117 pieces were produced. All are signed and numbered. West Virginia was the 35th state of the union and was incorporated June 20, 1863.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Blenko GLass - WV BIrthday Collection 1980

This is a photo of the FIRST in a collection (the 2008 will be sold in JUNE at BLENKO GLASS) of Blenko- West Virginia BIRTHDAY.

Mr. WH Blenko recalls the concept for this collection began in New York, he was having lunch after a trade show with Diamond Department Store (Charleston, WV) buyer and GM. She suggested Blenko produce an item to honor West Virginia's Birthday that would be sold exclusively at the Diamond - and would be limited - signed and numbered. "It would be nice it could sit in the center of the table and hold fruit or a compote" she said to Mr. Blenko.

Don Shepard was the Blenko Designer at this time. Working in crystal glass he created several prototypes and the above bowl with four feet was chosen. This bowl is difficult to find, as it is now over 27 years old and less than 120 were made. It is the first in the Blenko- WV Collection. HJH Note: (1) While I said it is difficult and expensive to acquire this bowl. Sometimes, the careful glass collector will find one in an estate sale or yard sale for less than $200 (where the seller doesn't know value). This item when purchased at the Diamond in 1980 cost less than $50.

(2) BLENKO GLASS, Milton, West Virginia will be selling the 2008 in June at Milton -store opens early this day- the cost will be less than $200 exact cost will be posted when we know. This is a great item to give for a wedding gift, or a one of a 'kind' special gift for a loved one.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

West Virginia Master Gardeners State Conference

Gardeners and Glass Collectors have a great deal in common!

West Virginia Master Gardeners State Conference
April 4-5
Charleston, West Virginia
Native Plants is the theme. Nearly 250 men and women, all highly skilled trained master gardener volunteers who have completed a series of classes sponsored by WVU.

A State Master Gardener will be named. Lectures on a variety of tops - the days are planned from 8 am until 8 pm wit little free time. While I'm not certain when I began to admire beautiful gardens or feel joy in the presence of 'daises' as my own family as always loved to ' play in the soil'. Being surrounded with flowers and colored glass from an early, one grows to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Recently Damon Crane, author, photographer and the curator of BLENKO MUSEUM LINK mentioned his love of gardening led him to discover Blenko - - while looking for something to display and photo his plants. This year my parents plan to have BLENKO brick at the auction - for Master Gardeners from the State along with photos of my Dad's Blenko brick garden beds. Many of the 'Gardeners' in this group enjoy colorful glass in which to display their spring and summer flowers.

Eckart Tolle (Oprah Book Club) A New Earth -Awakening To Your Life Purpose had this to say about flowers.

* " As the conscious of human beings developed flowers were most likely the first thing they came to value that had no utilitarian purpose for them, that is to say , was not linked to their survival.

Flowers provide inspiration to countless artist, poets and mystics. Jesus tells us to contemplate the flowers and learn from them how to live.

The Buddha is said to have give a "Silent Sermon" once during which he held up a flower a gazed at it. After a while, one of those present a Monk called Mahakasyapas, began to smile (that is to say, Realization) was handed down by twenty -eight successive masters and much later became the origin of Zen."

Seeing Beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature.

* Eckhart Tolle - A New Earth _ Awakening To Your Life Purpose.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


"Remember that what you have now was once among the things you only hoped for" Epicurus (c.341-270BC)

Collecting Blenko has become 'easier' with the use of Internet - a click of the mouse and you can view Blenko in over 50 states...I was sad the first time I saw a duplicate of my 'prize' Blenko listed on EBAY.

The one important things I have learned from listening to 'COLLECTORS' is go slow, educate your self, and to know your seller.

A while back, a I was gifted with the book GOOD KARMA -How to Find and Keep It JoanDOliver. The following passage from this book - is very appropriate for collectors...

' Slow down and pay attention - don't gobble up things and experiences without noticing
or appreciating them. It's like being served a Delicious, beautiful meal and wolfing it down,
in stead of savoring each dish.'

EBAY - and other quick fixes are nice - but nothing is as nice, as a weekend 'glass hunt' with friends and family. hjh

Blenko Identification

A photo of BLENKO (aka Miss B) with an architectural Brick (made by BLENKO GLASS).

BLENKO IDENTIFICATION -A number of people write they bought glass labled Blenko and - after some investigation found it was not BLENKO. Know what you are buying, IF you purchase from BLENKO GLASS, Milton, WV this won't be a problem. I recommend buying only from BLENKO or a dealer you KNOW. Also if you join the BLENKO COLLECTORS SOCIETY a small group of very friendly folk, who love BLENKO and WV Glass, who share freely their knowledge and experiences, your learning curve will rapidly improve. The annual meeting is in August (more about this later) - but consider joining - if you have questions I can answer write to theblenkoproject@aol.com and if I can't answer your question about the group (also they have an online site BLENKO COLLECTORS SOCIETY ) I'll put you in contact with people who can. The cost is about $50 per year and the benefits are numerous. This is a real bargain.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

BLENKO GLASS - WV Birthday Collection

The West Virginia Birthday - Blenko Glass Item will be sold again on June 20th at BLENKO GLASS in Milton, West Virginia.

The design has not be unveiled - so it remains a secret until early June - then BLENKO will allow photos to be shown. I'm suggesting you mark the date on your calendar and make plans to be in line early - these one of a kind vases sell out within 2 hours of the store opening - and the line starts forming sometime before 6 am.

If you don't know about the WV Birthday Pieces check out http://www.blenkoproject.org/ or the Blenko Collectors sites.

Blenko West Virginia Birthday Pieces
One piece is made for each year of statehood starting in 1980. The pieces are an extremely limited production of how many years West Virginia has been a state. Example- 1980 only 117 pieces were produced. All are signed and numbered. West Virginia was the 35th state of the union and was incorporated June 20, 1863.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy Birthday !

Today is April 1st - known as April's Fool Day!
We won't try to 'fool ya' BLENKO Visitors Center has reduced prices on three tables with prices that are less than 60% of retail.
Today is also the 'birthday' of my Dad. John - who was born on April Fools Day.
Let me today say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Dad, Uncle Remmas and everyone born in April! All you Aries birthday people.
Blenko Glass for a very long time in the 70s made sun catchers with zodiac signs - if anyone has a collection or even ONE I'd like to post a photo. HJH

The Ram March 21 to April 20
TraditionalAries Traits: Adventurous and energetic Pioneering and courageous Enthusiastic and confident Dynamic and quick-witted
On the dark side...Selfish and quick-tempered Impulsive and impatient Foolhardy and daredevil