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.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Message from BCS - President Karin Alonzo

Hillary,Can you post this, since there still seems to be a lot of confusion:The Elephant in the RoomLet me help clear some confusion of the goings on at Blenko

Recently Richard Blenko's responsibility at Blenko had been in a marketing position. He often told how the traveling had long ago lost its allure. Richard is a dear friend and has been quite open about his limited responsibilities at Blenko. It is very unfortunate that the company no longer felt he was part of their future, but I have no fear, Richard will be okay.

As for pieces signed by Richard and his father William and his grandfather Bill. Unless it is a rare or beautiful vintage piece signing has a nominal effect for collectors and on value. I should mention there are many pieces "etched" with Richards signature, these have virtually no effect on value or collectibility.

As to who will sign that depends, perhaps William, Walter or Don could sign, but I should add a piece signed by the designer is more desirable to collectors than that of a company executive.
As for William, Walter or Don's age, I don't think that's relevant to how Blenko is run. Blenko's greatness had always been that the youthful trends came from the various designers and employees. I am sure there are several Blenko shareholders ready to step up if it became necessary. Remember Blenko family has been running their company for over 100 years.

Katie Trippe is not a Blenko, but there numerous employees who work at the factory who not Blenko family members. At the recent Festival of Glass Katie was a very integral part of the events success.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

SINCE SIGNING MEANS SO LITTLE VALUE WISE, I AM CERTAIN YOU MS ALONZ HAVE NOT HAVE YOUR GLASS SIGNED. DO YOU? WHAT %?
THE PLACES I SHOP, SIGNED GLASS COST 30% MORE AND SOME OF THE SHOPS DON'T HANDLE GLASS THAT ISN'T SIGNED OR WITH SALES RECEIPT.
RE: SIGNATURES - I LIKE THE WORKERS SIGNATURES AND MR BLENKO,
MOUNTAIN SUE

sweetdoc said...

I don't buy glass that isn't signed, unless I am at the factory.
It is my rule, broke only once when I bought the Regal set but it was sandblasted as were the 5949s.

sweetdoc said...

So who runs Blenko daily w/o Wade, Weekly or Richard?
U always say call Rodney Wade, so who do we call now?
Is Diane still a 'call'?
Tell us if we have to change what you told us to do.
I for one do it.

annu said...

"Ekam sat, viprah bahudha vadanti"
"There is a single Truth but
the wise call it by different names."
Rig-Veda 3000+ BCE
Focus on the important my friends.

Blenko Glass Company said...

When you call the company for something specific please let the person answering the phone know what you need. We will get you to the right place!

Thanks,
Katie Trippe
Assistant Vice President

Anonymous said...

Blenko Glass Company said...
When you call the company for something specific please let the person answering the phone know what you need. We will get you to the right place!

Thanks,
Katie Trippe
Assistant Vice President

KATHIE TRIPPE I DUNNO HOW LONG YOU HAVE WORKED AT BLENKO - OR IF YOU ARE READING THE BLOG, BUT THIS SYSTEM WAS NOT WORKING SO WE ASK HJH WHAT TO DO.
SHE THEN GAVE US REAL PEOPLE TO ASK FOR WHEN WE ORDERED.
MOUNTAIN RITA

Blenko Glass Company said...

Mountain Rita,
It would all depend on your needs as to who you would need to talk to. Not one person handles everything here at the factory. Mary is now handling the shipping department like Rodney was. Diana and Mendy both work at the Visitors Center. Tammy, Connie, Trista and Jenny all handle calls and would be more than happy to help you with your needs. And if you would like I am available at any time to work with you or help you with your needs. Feel Free to call (877) 425-3656.

Thanks,
Katie Trippe
Assistant Vice President

Anonymous said...

Asst Vice President Wowee.
When you add Walter Blenko's vitae
to the company website please also
add your own
I want to learn about the companies you worked at prior to Blenko Glass. Not many left in the US. Blenko is fortunate to acquire someone youthful and experienced. Good hiring is fundamental to success! I feel much more confident with this information.
Margie Hale

andreerods said...

Interesting and odd statement from a leader about the value of signature on art.

Anonymous said...

Great information from Karin Alonzo, current BCS President. For Mountain Sue, collectors have always been able to have their glass signed at conventions, so I'm sure Karin has many signed pieces.
Signed pieces from glass companies, whether Blenko, Fenton, Waterford or others, is usually most sought after if the designer or blower, signs it. Shops that charge a huge amount more for signed glass are generally marketing to those only interested in "names" to impress others. If a shop only handles "signed" items, I would expect them all to be "one of a kind" pieces, not many copies of the same design.
It's, are you buying an original oil painting or a textured print of the original? One has more value than the other, just know which you choose.
Car Girl

Hillary J Homburg said...

NOTE: ANY ERRORS ON THE BLOG ARE MY OWN.
I may have mistyped something Karin sent.
Karin and Tim Alonzo are among the small group of the people I go to regularly with all your questions about glass - not just BCS questions. These two people know about glass and Blenko.

Hillary J Homburg said...

From now one - can we stick to Blenko - our glass, our likes etc.
and leave the 'management to management' I appreciate that you care, and you can email me theblenkoproject@aol.com with any negative comments. I will listen, but lets keep the HEART OF GLASS postive we want new people to feel welcome! OK!
Be honest, if this is a problem, I want to discuss your views - - otherwise lets avoid hirings, firings, and management issues.
hjh

Dr.BOB said...

OK with me. Must admit I at times like the gossip and back bites.
Agree we can do nothing. We should come up with a plan to assist in some way.

bridgett said...

Some of this depends of your view of Blenko.
If you see Blenko as glass art, signature is important.
If you view Blenko as factory item it is not.
Identity has always been a problem with Blenko, they can't decide who/what they are.

susan said...

Can we hear more from the President about signing vs. non signed and value?

mismgr said...

As a retailer of American made glassware both vintage and new, I find that Artistic glassware that is signed is more desirable than non signed to the collector. Blenko charges a $10.00 fee for a sandblasted signature. I think that a 30% markup for a signature is excessive, but if the seller can get it then its not too much. We all have our preferences. I would prefer every piece in my store be signed by the artist, the designer, and a member of upper management. Many of the pieces of glass and porcelain art in my store meet two of these categories. Maybe Blenko will be the first say a Bella Bocca pitcher signed by Bayliss, Randy Rider, and William Blenko. Maybe I need to special order something like that. Buy American. Larry from TX
http://serenityantiques.com
larry@serenityantiques.com
214 724 5081
americanglass.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

EVERYONE HAS A PREFERENCE I PREFER SIGNED.
HILARY WILL YOU SIGN MY GLASS? i WILL EVEN DRIVE TO MONTGOMERY, WV.
MOUNTAIN RITA

Anonymous said...

Katie Trippe is not a Blenko, but there numerous employees who work at the factory who not Blenko family members. At the recent Festival of Glass Katie was a very integral part of the events success.
Well then Thank you Katie Trippe, I enjoyed the Festival of Glass almost as much as the other sales etc events for nearly 15 years I have been in Milton. Blenko has had over the years. Wait, the difference was the people selling food and the porta potty. Genius to think of this, you did great work.

Anonymous said...

'bout a month ago I was in South Charleston Antique Mall and man who use to be the Blenko Collector President said: " You can't trust the Blenko signature, doesn't mean a thing, Rick Blenko would sign anything anyone gave him."
After hearing this I decided to stop, buying older Blenko.
Della B.

mismgr said...

Della; I believe that your reason for not buying old Blenko is flawed. There are some very good books available by Leslie Pina published by Schiffer books and some by Eason Eige and Rick Wilson. Buy the books or go to a library or book store and study. If you are relying on Ricks or anyone else s signature or even a sticker you are missing a very large percentage of the available older and vintage Blenko. Being a true collector takes time and study along with some cash. There is a payoff beyond the satisfaction of a rare find, and that is finding pieces worth thousands of dollars on the collectors market and paying very little for it because the dealer didn't do hie or her homework. I have and have had some of these wonderful pieces of American glassware some which reside in museums such as Fostoria, Tiffin, Morgantown. None of these pieces were signed. Moral is Study, buy American, make mistakes, Get lucky and Have fun supporting the heritage of American handmade glassware. Larry from TX
larry@serenityantiques.com
americanglass.blogspot.com
serenityantiques.com
214 724 5081

Hillary J Homburg said...

Mountain Rita
I WON'T sign your glass, my signature will add no value. This dicussion is very old. I don't sign glass, I have signed items made for Blenko Project board members.
HJH
Diane and Mindy are still at the Visitors Center Gift Shop.

Anonymous said...

For Della, Minor correction. As a Blenko Collectors Society member since the beginning, we have had only 2 presidents. Both ladies. I double-checked my Club directors list and noted that there are/have been many gentlemen on the Board. I'm sure the gentleman you spoke with was a former or current Board member.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Read on another website that blenko isn't making cobalt blue or marshall green any longer. Is this true?
If so why?