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, July 13, 2008

Mystery or Micracle On Craig Street

For several years we have admired a couple 'steel entry doors' on Craig Street the doors are very well designed - older - colorful - and have what looked like BLENKO rondel in the middle. The doors were a mystery, a beautiful mystery that beckoned each time we have occasion to walk Craig Street. Saturday while walking and deciding where to eat, a gentleman was standing in front of the door - he was taking measurements of a window. We started to talk about the 'entry doors' he told me" he grew up in Weirton, West Virginia, played football -perhaps he knew my grand dad as he said he was friends with a HUMMY Homburg from the Island- ,he married the love of his life (who recently passed) he has 2 wonderful daughters, terrific grandchildren, loved Pennslyvannia - particularly Pittsburgh, and Somerset. Mr. Cantini showed me photos of his many artist creations - gave me the addresses in Pittsburgh to see his work. I told him about Blenko Glass and the wonderful vivid colors, he told me he was familiar with HUNT GLASS in Pittsburgh. It was a 'Magical Meeting', a mystery solved, I felt like a Miracle Took Place On Craig Street !
NOTE: The following is from webmaster Steve & Wiki about my new friend Virgil Cantini

Virgil D. Cantini
Italian-American,U.S. Resident since 1930
Enamelist, Sculptor
Manhattan College,Carnegie Mellon University,PhD, Duquesne University
"Man" sculpture (1965)
Time Magazine "Hundred Leaders of Tomorrow" (1953)Guggenheim Fellowship (1957)
Virgil David Cantini (1919 - ) is an enamelist,sculptor and educator. He has many large scale works throughout the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Professor Cantini has been a long time member of the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, formerly chair of the Department of Art,[ now Professor of Studio Arts, Emeritus.[ As an artist, he is known for innovation with enamel and steel. He has received both local and national recognition for his work, including honorary awards, competitive prizes and commissions, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1957.

My camera died on the way home from PA, so it may be a few days before I can get my personal pics of Mr. Cantini uploaded. Here are a few images of his works around pictures taken from the web.

Joyful People Fountain in East Liberty section of Pittsburgh

Outside Law Building Univ Of Pitt
Mr. Cantini dedicated this sculpture, titled Space, to Chancellor Litchfield, who served from 1956 to 1965.
Duquesne University
In the late sixties Mr.Cantini traveled to Ecuador to teach artwork as a means for people there to support themselves. While there, Cantini had the people make this tapestry and others like it (there is one of a bull in his home) using his designs.


Anonymous said...

U seem to attract older than 80 men all the time. Read this blog, the highlights of your life are
all over 80.
U need a life. I recommend a Vet who is getting closer to 40 all the time. Like you recommend aging your own Blenko you could keep me until I turn 80 and you become interested.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this story.
My vote is for miracle.
Margie Hale

Anonymous said...

The Karmic forces surrounding you
are unique.
Hearing of these men, their gifts to the arts brings me joy, and I learn and increase my desire to learn about new things via this.
Thnx again for adding to my knowledge of glass world, and Virginia.

sweetdoc said...

Karmic Forces / like the word Awesome is an overused phrase.
My office also enjoys when Hilary writes about her personal life but not everything can be awesome or karmic.
Like Nick I am not being a critic as I enjoy - just critical of some comments after the blog.

Language's hardly about originality or creativity nowadays.

WHEN you say 'stunning' to describe the meal you've just eaten, the latest shades your friend's wearing or a movie you saw last night, you know you've run out of words. Everywhere you go, people seem to be saying the same thing, but for different experiences. Anything from a music concert to a party could be 'rocking'. Awesome, right?

"People use words like awesome, rocking, cool or stunning probably because they're hip. It's one of those things people say to fit in."

Writer Anita Nair believes we're becoming a race with a limited faculty of words. "Anything from a home to baked potato is stunning; it's not even an adjective that's typical to describing the experience." Anita says she seldom hears people use words like 'astonishing', 'great' or even 'marvellous'.

"Those are all old-fashioned, I guess. Now, everything is awesome. It's rather irritating, and when my son uses that word, I ask him to try harder and use another word instead. Everything cannot be contained in 'awesome'."

Hair expert Prathana Pradutt tries to say something different everytime she's gives someone a new look. "Sometimes, you see these people week after week. You can't keep saying the same thing to them. But we all have our favourite words." Prathana admits to saying 'it's very you' quite often.

But finds it extremely annoying when people she meets after long say the cliched, 'let's meet up'. "The trick is to be spontaneous. When you walk out of a movie hall, try talking about how crisp or clean the editing is instead of saying the same old thing, she says.


bridgett said...

AWESOME! Awesome photo
and if "sweetsdoc" has a better
explanation for your encounter, I want to know these words.

saltonannu said...

google Karma
its a simple concept

Dr.BOB said...

This artist I was a bit familiar with. Given your affection for tri state and local artists surprised you had no knowledge of this outstanding accomplished
Pa Artist.

Dr.BOB said...

Wait, I am here to see photos of older than I am cars.
Where are the car photos? Don't tell me, in the broken camera?
Blenko or the Herald should cough up enough dollars for a nice camera.

bridgett said...

Question here. Why is there no link on the Blenko Glass website to this site?

Anonymous said...

Nothing is predestined: The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings. One of my favorite quotes by
Ralph Blum
Thought you might like it Hilary

Hillary J Homburg said...

Dr Bob
There wasn't enough time for the CAR SHOW after I left Mr. VC,
it was time well spent. Car Shows happen yearly. This wonderful artist opened his home and studio to me and I wanted to fully listen to him.
Perhaps next year.

Anonymous said...

That mural doesn't hang at Dusquene university, it's in the HILLMAN library at the UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH!!!!

Hillary J Homburg said...

Please if you know more about this gentleman
and his current status
email me:
I'll make the correcton and I appreciate the information.

Anonymous said...

Just discovered this post, Dr. VC was my professor and friend.
He died in 2009 May.
Thank you for this tribute to him.
Donald Switzer
ps I will learn more about Blenko. I recall him telling me of making new friends who were admiring his door.
I'm betting this was you.
Thank you for giving him a happy day.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cantanni left you a small wood carving in his studio.
I believe its now in the custody of his son.
You might want to contact them.
Patricia Wells