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, August 08, 2008

GLASS CLASSES - BLENKO - August 22 -23

At Blenko Glass in Milton, WVa. The factory workers are skilled craftsmen. 'The Antique Glass Man ' Don Lemley , is not only a good business manager, he is an Artist and a Art Educator - bar none. Doors that he designed are on display in the Antique Glass office, Don works with
glass the way you might put together a small puzzle - or your grandma might have piece together a beautiful colorful quilt. he makes it look very easy!
Don has worked at Blenko most of his adult life, he knows all the trades and knows his customer base, he is well versed in the Glass Arts, he has taught at TAYLOR BOOKS and for the Boards of Education, He also offers classes at Blenko Glass.
For the FESTIVAL OF GLASS the following special low cost very short classes will be offered. This is your opportunity to 'check out' a glass class from a Master Teacher at a low price. Phone now as the class size is limited. 304 743 9081.

Casting Class ($40.00 12-up)
This is a wonderful chance for everyone who has ever wondered what it feels like to work in a glass factory to try it out. The 2,000 degree furnaces, the bustle of the factory floor, and the sheer weight of the ladle in your hands is an unsurpassed experience. During this class you will learn to cast some of Blenko’s animal figurines. Each person will get to take home two of their creations! The items will be available 4 to 5 hours after created or can be shipped to your home.
Dalle Chipping Class ($100.00 12-up)
Turn your artistic vision into a work of art by chipping away at a slab of glass. This class offers you the opportunity to learn the techniques involved in faceted glass art. A fun filled class that is 3 hours long and will allow you to experience the art of glass. Each person will get to take home their own faceted glass art creation. The item will be available 4 to 5 hours after created or can be shipped to your home.
Glass Mobile Class ($40.00 12-up)
Create a wonderful display of art that can hang outside your home and show the beauty from your artistic side. This is an opportunity for you to get your hands on some Blenko Stained Glass and create your own glass mobile. Each person will be able to take home their own colorful glass mobile immediately.
Carved Glass Sun catcher Class ($50.00 12-up)
Work with Mendy Miller and see how she creates her wonderful pieces of carved Blenko. Her designs are displayed and for sale at the Visitor’s Center at Blenko Glass Company. She will show you how to carve into glass and create a piece of art. She will sandblast what you have carved and it will be available for pick up on 8-23-08 or shipped home for you. Each person will be able to take home their own carved glass sun catcher.


Anonymous said...

Don Lemley is a very talented and nice person, as with all Blenko employees. If you haven't seen his work, I encourage you to seek it out on your next trip to Blenko.

Now to add my two cents concerning different items from recent discussions. I will try and be as concise as possible.

Recently married Katie Trippe, the Marketing Director at Blenko does know her stuff and is working hard to get Blenko out there into more of the public's eye. However, even the best marketed and best made products are not guaranteed to be successful. There are other factors that contribute to the success of a product. One of the things that make it hard for Blenko, like most other American made products, is that it cost more than the imports. Why does Blenko cost so much more than its imported competition? The higher cost of Blenko can be attributed to, among other things, higher employee wages, higher insurance cost, EPA and OSHA standards, and the high cost of natural gas. Many countries that are importing glass to the US, like China, have little or no EPA and OSHA type standards and are subsidizing natural gas cost. Imports that are porduced at a much cheaper cost, therefore, sell much cheaper. Blenko, like many other American companies face this battle daily. In the retail gift world it is darn near impossible to be successful if your product is made in the USA. Don't believe me? The next time you go to your local gift shop do a little survey for yourself. Pick up several items and see where they are made. I'll guarantee you that only a small percentage will be US made. And those US products will be more expensive than their imported counterparts relatively speaking.

Many know that Fenton was on the verge of closing. But do you know that the majority of their sales now comes from imported wares? I admire Blenko for sticking to its roots and not cheapening its product by going overseas.

Like Hillary and others have said, buy Blenko, give Blenko as gifts, and tell everyone who will listen about Blenko. Word of mouth, is the cheapest and best form of advertising. Another way to help is to ask the owners of your local gift shops about Blenko. Encourage them to look into adding Blenko to their stores. The more places that open their dorrs to Blenko the better. More people that gain the passion that we have can only help the company. Even if not everyone develops our kind of passion, they can see it for its value as a piece of American history and add a little to their life or the life of a loved one.

I find it hard to believe that Blenko would turn down Cracker Barrel for water bottles. The 384, aka water bottle, has to be one of the most profitable items that Blenko produces. It is made rapidly with little loss.

Concerning the quality of items in the Visitor's Center. For much of its history the VC has been stocked with mostly seconds. They are mostly priced accordingly at or below the wholesale cost. The items that are not perfect and therefore can't be sold to wholesale buyers are sent to the VC. That is not to say that some first quality pieces don't get sent to the VC, they do and are priced as first quality. With a little patience and searching you can find many high quality items in the VC at very reasonable prices. As the VC page on the Blenko web site states, it is a "Factory outlet" and like most factory outlet stores, first quality items are hard to come by. I love to spend time in the VC hunting for pieces that meet my expectations and desires. It is pleasing when I find a piece that I must have. Just remember that with many of the pieces in the VC you have to know glass to find what makes it a second. And there are pieces that it doesn't take much looking at to see what makes them seconds. But then again, not everyone is in search of the "perfect" piece of glass.

I guess that is all that I have for now. Happy hunting and remember we can all be ambassadors for Blenko. Spread the great word about American made Blenko.

Anonymous said...

ironcheftvdinner: Best marketed
knows her stuff
how much experience in glass
or marketing?
Just wondering.

sweetdoc said...

Will you post photos of what people make? Then next Blenko collectors we will have a good idea what the classes are about?

Christy @ Blenko said...

I will send Hillary some examples of what the classes will be. Just so you have a bit of an idea. The classes we are offering are very unique and give people an opportunity to get "hands on" with Blenko in unique ways.

saltonannu said...

These prices are very low.
The materials would not be covered by this cost.
If you live near enough to take advantage of this offer. Do not hesitate go immediately to sign on.
Amazing offer.
My own class is $56 per lesson group of 8.