Title

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.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blenko - West Virginia Birthday

Barry Copley of Charleston once again was number ONE in line. He is a new collector - this is only his third year of collecting Blenko, he has less than one hundred pieces and less than ten Birthday Pieces. He reports, He took early retirement from Coke, he is Singe, Under Fifty, and looking for other Birthday Pieces, and Vintage Blenko. He's intersted in Blenko Collectors Groups.
Today people came from Arizona, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, Washington DC, (anywhere else?) . . .These are the addresses listed by the first 75 people in line. More than 30 people spent the night at BLENKO in Milton and at day light over 66 people were in line. At 8am when the store opened the line was very long. Reports were more than 80 people LEFT WITHOUT A VASE! The Vases SOLD out within 15 minutes of the opening.
If you arrived after 7:30 am to BLENKO in Milton you were TOO LATE - more than one hundred and forty five people were in line with their check books ready.
The last two years have been very relaxed, often people have been able to purchase two vases, today it was much more NORMAL - you had to be there early and the vases sold out very quickly. I would expect next year to be even a bigger crowd. The Bayliss - Blenko Birthday pieces have been beautiful now too big, very well designed and the prices is very affordable.
People often double and triple their money immediately after buying the item.
I will be publishing photos of this day at Blenko the remainder of the month. IF you took photos or have a BLENKO BIRTHDAY story please write:
Did anyone see WVJANIS? Was she lucky enough to get a Birthday Piece? I hope so - I told her to go at 8am - UGH - now I am feeling terrible if she didn't get a vase.
Thank you
Hillary

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hilly
I didn't get the vase, my secretary
had breakfast at Granny K's first
got there at 8:15 and was # 315
she came back very angry.
Sol

Dr.BOB said...

My wife and I drove down
we also returned empty handed.
Spent the night in a lovely Barbousville hotel, next year we will camp out on Blenko grass.

westvirginiajanis said...

Hillary:

Not to fear, I returned with a vase! I met your wonderful parents, talked at length to Mr. Bayless, and saw the wonderful Blenko workers again. The waiting in line was fun. I arrived at 7am and was #104. Very nice people surrounded us. The overnighters were fabulous. One Milton woman ran home to get blankets for the cold campers and even opened up her home for people to use the bathroom. (They need to get a port-a-pottie next year)!

The 2008 Birthday piece is even more beautiful than pictures do justice. Your website generated this turnaround interest. I hope you are patting yourself on the back.

More from me later. I took over 600 pictures of my fabulous homecoming to WV. The Greenbrier bunker tour, interview with the Greenbrier's historian, Beckley exhibition coal mine tour, Tamarack Arts and Crafts Center visit, Blenko Birthday piece pursuit, and Huntington Museum tour-- all done in 3 days-- made me proud to be from West Virginia. I'm going to try to put together a blog or at least a FLICKR site to share the beauty of our state.

Please strike while the iron is hot and generate some message traffic about the Blenko Collectors' Society and their meeting/Blenko piece!

West Virginia Janis

ironcheftvdinner said...

We received our pieces like usual and had a great time on line over night. There were really only ten or so people who were on line before midnight.

However, there is one thing that doesn't make me too happy. It is those who abuse the "spirit" of waiting on line. They put a chair on line planning to leave and return later. Two people placed chairs in places two and three on line and then returned to the comforts of their homes ony to return at 3:30am and 6:00am to take their chairs. There were at least two other empty chairs when we arrived to take our spot on line. This is completly rude and disrespectful to those who brave the elements and stay on line the whole time.

Going to the store or McDonalds is one thing and can be accepted, but going home to relax in your own bed is completely out of line.

Anonymous said...

iron chef
I dunno how long U have been collecting but I have 23 pieces
and for 23 years I have come at 10 or 12 the night before gone back to get my hubby off to work (he leaves at 3) come back to the line left again to get my kids off to summer school and returned to the line. My fellow collectors know this and were very nice to accomodate me. This year I didn't come as I had a broken hip. My kids are now grown and my hubby died but for years I was one of those you are Complaining about! Maybe they were 'sleepin' maybe not
Milton isn't close for some of us -Charleston for me was a long drive.
Margie Hale

Anonymous said...

Iron Cheif
I rambled and did not say
Everyone left me keep my space
or a space in line so I could get a vase, as they knew I came early and made an attempt.
I wanted a vase, #1 didn't mean anything to me, I just love the people who came.
We only saw each other once a year.
No one was ever rude.
Margie Hale

ironcheftvdinner said...

Ms. Hale,

I can understand those who need to leave to do the things that you needed to do.

What I am complaining about is those who take advantage of the situation and disrespect the others who are in line. Those in chairs two and three did go back to the comforts of their home. The husband did the same thing last year when it started raining.

If one needs to leave to take care of their family or something of that nature, I can give them a pass. But if you want to be at or near the front of the line, then you don't "need" to go back to the comforts of your home while everyone else stays, no matter what happens with the weather.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say that #146 spent almost as much time on line as one of the two at the front. The sad thing is that #146 didn't get a Birthday Piece.

I hope that your hip heals well!

bridgett said...

my comment is for ironchef and his comments about people in line, I didn't come for this and so should not comment. However, I have tried to do a story about the Blogger Hillary my friend writes for a magazine, time and time again Hillary says, the Blenko must be the focus, otherwise NO I won't. The Blenko isn't the focus and she has refused. People this all should be about your beautiful state, that glass factory, and promoting a state where the people are an access, the glass the workers, the workmanship. It was West Virginia Day! Be proud for your State and Blenko.
Perhpas next year Blenko can pretend WV is 300 years old(work on this Hillary!).

lewisdvmphd said...

Ironchief
I got there shorty after 2 and saw Hilly Mom delivering bottled water and doughnuts to the group
in a robe. Everyone seemed very peaceful to me.
Did this one year for my Mom at Stone's and thought I'd be killed
Ironchief let me say You would not have survived Stone's IF this bothered you.
Blenkoglass did a great job. People policed themselves the line was orderly, long, quiet, in need of porta potty and coffee but very peaceful, well received. No OSU or Marshall- WVU Jokes. Nice orderly
older group.
After 6am it did start to get a bit louder as the group quickly grew to more than 135 - so after 7 I think it was no possible to get a Birthday bowl.

Hillary J Homburg said...

The Greenbrier bunker tour, interview with the Greenbrier's historian, Beckley exhibition coal mine tour, Tamarack Arts and Crafts Center visit, Blenko Birthday piece pursuit, and Huntington Museum tour-- all done in 3 days-- made me proud
West Virginia Janis, My family always take visits to the Greenbier bunker tour, Tamarack, Blenko and Huntington Museum now go back and do the Beckly Coal Mine tour and you've hit all the 'hot spots' isn't it wonderful. The bunker tour has been in several major magazines in the last five or six years.
HMOA has great WV Glass collection.
hjh

ironcheftvdinner said...

Lewis,

First off, Hillary's mother was nowhere to be found on the Blenko property anywhere near 2:00am. This can be seen in the WOWK video that was shot shortly after 2:00am.

Secondly, the line was very orderly the entire time. Things have changed a great deal since the Stone days. If the line wants to proceed like the Stone days, then that is fine with me. But in recent years at the Clay Center and at Blenko things have been very orderly. People, those spending the night, have shown respect for others and their place in line. However, the past two years have seen some trying to take advantage of the other's by not show the same respect that the rest of us are giving each other. It is disrespectful to the rest of us when someone leaves the line to relax in the comforts of their own home and then return to their place in line when they want.

Like I said to Ms. Hale, I can live with someone needing to leave the line to take care of matters that can't be helped. It becomes a problem when people begin to take advantage of the rest of us by leaving to rest in their own bed and be out of the elements while the rest of us stay the entire time.

The bottom line is that there are a few who have no respect for the others who abide by the spirit of waiting on line for something. I just can't understand how someone could have so little respect for the others and their love for the Bithday piece.

Anonymous said...

About 7:30, I counted my spot in line for the Blenko Birthday Piece as I knew that over 100 people were in line before me. As a first timer, I had this fleeting thought that at 8:00, when the doors opened, dozens of people would jump out of parked vans and squeeze into line and I would be left without a piece. This did NOT happen.

Once inside, when I got my number, it was the same as it was when I'd counted earlier. All was orderly and well orchestrated.

I, too, found people in line to be charming. Many talked about their collections, why they loved BLENKO, and how they incorporate their collection into their decorating. One woman told me of her husband's collection of 600-700 pieces of glass when they first met. He was passionate about Blenko and she finally came on board. I'm sure he made it clear before they were married, "Love me, love my Blenko." (Likely, Hillary has the same motto).

#60 in line had the nicest smile.

#101 arrived from Charleston on a motorcycle. Originally, he hadn't planned pursue the birthday piece. He said that he woke up at 3am, couldn't get back to sleep, decided that it was a lovely day to ride his motorcycle, and came to add the birthday piece to his collection. Likely, his was the only birthday piece to ride on a motorcycle that day.

One of the college students waiting in line for a piece had a father who was a member of the West Virginia house of delegates.

Housewives, hospital workers, retired professors, teachers, students, lawyers, people from all walks of life were in line for the Blenko piece this year.

Also, a big thank you to the Blenko Project people who worked on the grounds. The property looked the best it has in a while. Nice landscaping and a spruced up visitors' center send the message that BLENKO is in good shape. Please pay attention to these details as first impressions are important!

Anonymous said...

In response to Bridgett's suggestion to produce 300 pieces next year--

I, too, have been thinking how more pieces can be produced without compromising the "State's age=number of pieces produced" formula. Perhaps Blenko could produce some extras, not actually numbered as birthday pieces, but signed and given as honorary pieces to people and collections of importance. This system would be a way to send a piece to the governor's office, to continue to add to the public collections of the birthday pieces (like the one Hillary donated to WVU), to give a piece to the designer and to the Blenko workers who blew and finished the piece, to keep at the Blenko visitors' center, and to give to the people who volunteer 100+ hours a year to the Blenko Project.

Some such system would ensure a piece for the deserving, WITHOUT compromising the #146 we are all expecting in 2009.

Anonymous said...

About 7:30, I counted my spot in line for the Blenko Birthday Piece as I knew that over 100 people were in line before me. As a first timer, I had this fleeting thought that at 8:00, when the doors opened, dozens of people would jump out of parked vans and squeeze into line and I would be left without a piece. This did NOT happen.

Once inside, when I got my number, it was the same as it was when I'd counted earlier. All was orderly and well orchestrated.

I, too, found people in line to be charming. Many talked about their collections, why they loved BLENKO, and how they incorporate their collection into their decorating. One woman told me of her husband's collection of 600-700 pieces of glass when they first met. He was passionate about Blenko and she finally came on board. I'm sure he made it clear before they were married, "Love me, love my Blenko." (Likely, Hillary has the same motto).

#60 in line had the nicest smile.

#101 arrived from Charleston on a motorcycle. Originally, he hadn't planned pursue the birthday piece. He said that he woke up at 3am, couldn't get back to sleep, decided that it was a lovely day to ride his motorcycle, and came to add the birthday piece to his collection. Likely, his was the only birthday piece to ride on a motorcycle that day.

One of the college students waiting in line for a piece had a father who was a member of the West Virginia house of delegates.

Housewives, hospital workers, retired professors, teachers, students, lawyers, people from all walks of life were in line for the Blenko piece this year.

Also, a big thank you to the Blenko Project people who worked on the grounds. The property looked the best it has in a while. Nice landscaping and a spruced up visitors' center send the message that BLENKO is in good shape. Please pay attention to these details as first impressions are important!

Anonymous said...

Ironchief
I hope the three of you enjoyed
the overnite stay at Blenko
and we will look for you next year.
The glass certainly is an improvement over many of the ones I have.
Margie Hale

Hillary J Homburg said...

RE: BLENKO GROUNDS
The BLenko Project does have a volunteer project to assist in keeping the grounds looking nice - we're always looking for volunteers (www.blenkoproject.org)
BUT the BLENKO STAFF does more than 90% of the work, Mary, Sue, Diana, Doc, Mickey and many others but the people mentioned above weekly take care of the grounds often on their own time because they 'like us appreciate BLENKO the beauty of the grounds, and want you to enjoy the area'. Blenko Glass is located on a very beautiful site - a great lake, a glass garden, IF you haven't been to BLENKO bring children, the hubby, and drive down. Phone first to make certain the observation deck is open so you can observe this 'wonderful glass' being made IN West Virginia by West Virginians.
BUY MADE IN THE USA and when you can BUY MADE IN WEST VIRGINIA.

lewisdvmphd said...

Hilly,
U all are on EST so make that
about 3am.
IronChief I have photos of everyone tell me what ya look like.

Hillary J Homburg said...

Lewis,
It's called a blog - we're all
tall -brilliant - and handsome or beautiful.
No cheating by exchanging photographs.
Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

Hilly,
I am again confused.
Does it matter what # a person gets?
Is one more valuable than another?
If so what #s are most valuable.
Sol

Hillary J Homburg said...

Solomon,
I was told the most valuable pieces are #1 and the last piece each year. To be honest, I think it doesn't matter at all.
Except to Ironchief perhaps.
My Dad collects and he has numbers from 1 to 140 and he doesn't care, my Mom does not collect, but will often get a piece for another who does collect but can't attend. I'll ask my friends who have the entire collection (3) if it matters to them and let you know.
I'll also ask the appraisser (sp) and post the response.
HJH
note: my own collection no number One and many were #s higher than 100.

Anonymous said...

Ironchieftvdinner
LMAO from your comments
either 2 - 3 came at 3am and 6am
or else they spent less time
than #146 can not be both.
WVJanis got there at 7 she reported with #107
#147 must have come much later.
My Secretary came at 9:15 as last year, at 10am the glass was still available.
Get a Life , its a cheap less than $200 piece of glass.
Sol
Enough of this - Man if someone offends you with their behavior speak to them.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say thanks for saying the grounds around Blenko look good. I know that Hillary's Mom and myself have spent some hard working times planting flowers and washing the glass that is in the flower beds out front. Our Kay should be given a birthday piece for her caring ways of the Blenko grounds. The employees do a wonderful job and are great, only Kay I feel adds the little extra that the flower beds and grounds around the lake need. She may not collect like Hillary and her Dad do, she cares for the Blenko that they collect and that in itself is a job. It gets dusty and glass is not pretty dusty. Hope to see you soon. Hillary, Sage danced very well at her first on stage performane at the Palace Theater in Myrtle Beach. Love ya, Roxie

Anonymous said...

You got twenty comments. Go Hillary! Had to say something people need to keep that up even if it is just to say hello to a Blenko collector everyday, who is going to be a Dentist here in a year. Hope and pray they keep up the good work of sending you blogs.You know it does not hurt one little bit to let one of my favorite young ladies know you love Blenko too. Keep up the good work. Roxie

Hillary J Homburg said...

Roxie,
Thank you for coming to the WVU Dental Clinic, for your growing interest in Blenko, for volunteering in the garden.
Thank you also to Sol and his office staff for volunteering in the Garden, and if I miss anyone let me know.
Blenko Glass the lake the visitors center, the glass blowing demo, are all free, they charge nothing for these experiences. Blenko Glass Co and staff have a long history of service to the community and to the State of WV.
hjh

andreerods said...

In August, I plan a trip down to Va. how do I volunteer for the afternoon?
What is the factory schedule?

nick said...

Hilary
Your concern for others
sets you apart from the
group.

nick said...

Like andreros I want to know more about the factory hours, exact location, may I order by phone and is there a color chart?

sweetdoc said...

No comment!