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, September 17, 2008

Blenko Project Website, Blenko Future?& How Do I Find Great Vintage Glass?

The two most frequent questions I receive are : #1 ) "Why does it take you so long to get things on your website? http://www.blenkoproject.org/ and why don't you update it at least monthly."
The answer to this question is, I am a full time dental student, my webmaster is a professional and I'm his only freebie, he is kind enough to 'work' on the Blenko Project when he isn't traveling, dealing with his own family, or working on one of the many projects that bring $$$ to his family. If a budding web designer is reading this and has desire to asist. We WELCOME you. Otherwise until after summer of 09. This is the way it is.
Question 2) Is actually a two part question - a) " I heard Blenko is closing, are they? b) How do people find this beautiful vintage glass, where should I look?"
Answer is: a) I certainly hope BLENKO GLASS will be functioning for another 200 years, and IF you all buy BLENKO (new) and tell your friends what wonderful items they have - BLENKO will continue. Blenko like most all family owned business is feeling the crunch of gas prices and the slow economy....but this Family is strong willed and determined to keep the Factory open. b) WHERE TO FIND THE BEST BLENKO ? My answer is to buy new and 'age' it yourself. Next suggestion is the check out BLENKO MUSEUM website to see whats available and what you want to look for - so you KNOW when you see it that its BLENKO. If you have real money to spend, I'd phone Damon Crain and ask him to search.
Most everyone has "special places" where they find BLENKO. My own family collects together - we believe families that share hobbies will stay close. Collecting BLENKO is a wonderful way to teach your children about quality, and the need to buy locally, and buy Made In USA.
A recent note from a Texas family their glass was recently added to http://www.blenkoproject.org/ collection page wrote the following about 'finding' glass. NOTE: THE Specht Family LIKE MOST OF THE 2,000 people in Blenko Project survey first learned of BLENKO GLASS from PBS special. Many people believe the PBS Films are much needed form of marketing for WV GLASS.
Greetings from North Texas.
The Specht's have referred to the farm we live on as the old homeplace since 1918. I have included a picture of my family that you are free to use on the Blenko Project web page as well. From left to right sitting on the fireplace hearth is Kayla, Debbie, and Bruce with Katie sitting on the floor.I should add that this is in our new home that we are just completing construction. This has lots of areas to display what has turned out to be quite a large collection of Blenko. We got started, as most people who haven't had the pleasure of living in West Virginia, when we caught the broadcast of "Hearts of Glass " on PBS. For some reason it just "clicked" with me since I grew up in a large Methodist church that had incredible stained glass windows. Now I would like to be able to say that it was Blenko Glass in those windows, but I have no way to know. The colors reminded me so much of the panels that depicted the life of Christ and the clothing and other details that it touched me on a very emotional level. I had already assembled a large collection of Southern Highland Guild Pottery from the likes of W.J. Gordy and Charles Counts and this just connected with the whole handmade or handcrafted nature of items that my family identifies with. Debbie and I set out to research and try to start a collection. After reading Leslie PIna's book "Blenko: Cool Glass of the 50's and 60's" we set up an Ebay account and jumped into the fray. We learned real fast that Ebay is unlike any auction we had ever encountered. Lots of different strategies we had to learn before we ever won our first auction, but learn we did, so that now I can say Ebay has been great.
But that only accounts for a little over half of our collection. Since I was originally raised in Georgia and still have real estate interests, family and friends there, we have found ourselves making the thousand mile trek several times a year. So what better way to take a break from the road than to do a little antiquing. We have also made trips annually to South Dakota for my daughters competition in National Pedal Pulls and south Florida to visit other family. Of course we have made, at last count, three separate trips to Milton to watch the craftsmen at work in the Blenko factory which was an incredible experience for the girls to see. My youngest daughter, Kayla, has definitely got the Blenko "bug". She has studied all the Pina books as well as the Eason Eige reference book and is a real lifesaver when it comes time to searching the antique stores and estate sales we frequent. She has more than once popped up behind me with a great big grin and holding up a piece that the rest of us overlooked or stopped me with the dreaded words of "Dad, that's got a crack". Many of our best pieces in the 600+ piece collection are finds in small out of the way places we stopped at during our trips.
Two goals that I set for our collection was to complete a set of '36-37 "Cobweb" vases and a complete set of Gump's decanters. The first we met this spring (2008), and just in time for an exhibit of part of our collection at the Kemp Center for the Arts in Wichita Falls, Texas. Several of the pictures are related to that exhibit, or were made in preparation of a catalog of the pieces that were on loan. I am sure that with a little luck and time we will eventually be able to complete the Gump's collection as well.
Our collection spans almost every year of Blenko's production, and rightly so, since it all reflects the beauty and craftsmanship distinctly Blenko.
Thank you to the Specht family for allowing us to share their photos http://www.blenkoproject.org/ . Happy Hunting! Share your photos and your stories of BLENKO and American Glass send to theblenkoproject@aol.com it doesn't have to be a massive collection, we all enjoy seeing photos of BLENKO. hjh


Anonymous said...

What a story.

Hillary J Homburg said...

Note to Margie Hale
I copy and pasted the note you sent me with your complaints about the new look of the online Herald.
Thank you as always for your comments and for reading the blog, and buying BLENKO.

lewisdvmphd said...

May I suggest.
Asking a university student or high school student to help, we pay $10 per hour to local student and he keeps our site up and running.
Other suggestion is Rest - you already do too much. Relax - so what if your site is slow, you provide a totally free service, one that would cost blenko considerable change.

bridgett said...

Having people say Blenko is closing hurts sales.
Having employees say this is extremely bad.
These rumors must stop.

Hillary J Homburg said...

My folks tell me they heard the rumors before my birth - so ignore them.
TELL everyone you know to BUY
IF we work hard to PROMOTE BUY MADE IN USA