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.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Montano's Antique Glass Repair
c/o The UPS Store
828 S. Washington Ave #128
Emmett, ID 83617
Outside of Idaho Toll Free: 1-888-998-8722
Cell Phone: 1-760-475-7867
The time is 12:00 Christmas Eve we finished the last minute shopping, and on our way home, actually 2 blocks from our home , w h e n we were involved in a car crash. Someone slowed to turn left on to Beach, as a car suddenly& quickly drove down Edgewood Drive and drive #1 had to stop, then driver #2 a van applied breaks and driver #3 applied breaks - all in all three cars were damaged. My Dad's 2008 Benz a Holiday gift from a year or so ago was badly damaged - the Benz just crumpled, my Dad couldn't open his door, fluids were coming from the car by what seemed like buckets. My Dad who is 60+ had never been involved in an accident before this, not even a fender bender. He was just 'in shock', my Mom and I veterans of accidents were a little more calm, this one happen so quickly, we were going less than 25 miles per hour and the car crumpled.
The good news is other than having my glasses broken, and a scratch between the eyes. NO ONE was hurt. Everyone kept cool, no one was happy to have this be their Christmas Eve, but all three drivers and the passengers were pleasant to one another.
As our car was being towed away - - - - My Mom was dialing the phone for help, I learned even the Airport Car Rental Stores close at noon on Xmas eve? My Mom then called our State Farm Agents office to report the accident and was told by Marylin (an office worker) to call back after 5pm and the voice mail would take her directly to State Farm 800 number, she (Marylin) didn't know the number! The time was 12:15! We later found humor in the State Farm office workers response, h o w e v e r, I doubt that I'll be a lifelong State Farm customer. My parents have been insured by State Farm Insurance for almost 35 years ( car accident free), the response to this accident from Marylin or lack of response . . . well . . . .I expect either to be connected to an 800 number or to have the 'person' respond with some compassion & or information.
Several hours later as my Dad read our Christmas Story . . . . I thought about the people without electric power, my Mingo County family who has been without electricity for 9 days, the homeless, the unemployed, the soldiers away from home, those without family or faith.
Today let us all rejoice in the reason for the season, and be compassionate, giving and kind to everyone. Wait, can we try this for the entire year of 2010? Let us resolve to be patient, compasionate, giving and kind to everyone.
A Late "Merry Christmas To You And Your Family!"
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
odd as my parents shopped all year for this Holiday!
Yet somehow Uncle Skip always gave the very best gifts, enjoyed the Holiday even more than most adults, and never seemed stressed.
Now I'm not suggesting you wait until 12/24....however, if you haven't completed the shopping or you want to shop its not too late.
This year I'll continue to make 'cookies and cakes' for friends. I've never enjoyed shopping. To be honest, I don't like spending money, but I do enjoy walking around shopping centers, watching people, enjoying coffee or a meal with friends.
If you haven't made arrangements to attend a midnight mass or church service this week, check your newspaper for local services.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
To learn more about Blenko and WV Glass check out http://www.blenkoproject.org/.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Here is a Christmas Card to share with my friends at Heart of Glass. Everything in this photo was purchased in WV. Most of the glass was made in WV. I love the way the deer [made in Japan] are peeking around the Fenton and L.E. Smith vases.
As the year comes to a close, we can be thankful that Blenko is still blowing glass, the Museum of American Glass and the Marble Museum are both located in West Virginia. We can be thankful that West Virginia's economy has suffered less than the economy of many states. Reading about the glassworkers was enjoyable.I've enjoyed learning about Bruce's fabulous finds. Seeing the artwork of Elizabeth Steinbach was delightful. It seems like you've picked up some new readers. I hope your blog continues to grow in positive directions.
Happy Holidays anyone who celebrates anything this time of year!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Blenko Glass www.blenkoglass.com you'll find 'just what you need' at Blenko Glass.
The vase pictured is about $112. plus shipping and handling.
Blenko Glass online www.blenkoglass.com is open 24/7 gifts ordered now will NOT arrive before Christmas. My suggestion is drive down to Milton, WV and shop the Outlet - Gift Shop. Many shelves are marked down and there is a clearance shelf in the rear of the store.
Monday, December 21, 2009
This year make your Christmas a Made In the USA Christmas. Shop Local when possible.
To learn more about Blenko Glass check out www.blenkoproject.org.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
We live in Mineral Wells and collect Blenko and Harmon glass. Every other weekend we are out there at estate sales or flea markets searching for newbies for our collection.
Last year we decided to join the Blenko collector group w/o success can you update us on this group or make suggestions for glass groups we can join?
Harvey and Jane D.
Thank you for reading Heart of Glass and for collecting Blenko Glass. I have no new information about the Blenko Collectors Society - Sweetdoc has a group of about 20 people that meet the first Wednesday evening of each month, Doc Bob in the eastern panhandle belongs to a group of 50 people that collect American glass, Chitra belongs to a group of 15 or so - there are small groups of serious collectors.
Perhaps we should decide to proclaim a date and time and "meet" after June 30th I'm available. While I won't have time to be responsible for a group I'd love to be involved in a Blenko or American glass group.
* photo is # 2040 Snowmen from the Blenko Glass http://www.blenkoglass.com/ website.
$5 on each 25$ coupon is available at this site.
Any other groups? Our readers may have more info about the BCS, if you have info about BCS or suggestions for Harvey and Jane (a glass group) please leave a comment or if you want to protect your address email firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll forward the email.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
What is your fave item in the 2009 catalog? I want to buy Xmas items and need suggestions.
Every item in the 2009 catalog is a favorite for me. Depending on your budget there is something for everyone.
Not in the catalog but on line - are the medallions, angels, snowmen, and ornaments these would make delightful gifts or filler for a Xmas Stocking.
The 2009 item my parents bought to use as Xmas gift is the green decanter also available in several other colors.
I'll post a photo - the price is about $60.
Try to get down to Blenko on a day someone will be signing or ask that your glass have a sandblasted signature (a small charge for sandblast). This small touch makes the glass much nicer. HJH
You wrote about a place in Bluefield or Becky that had Fenton, Blenko , other American glass and coins etc. We will be in Lewisburg for a vacation 23-1st. Can you provide a link and an address so we might visit this shop?
If you'll send an email to email@example.com I'll send a list of shops I'm familiar with in this area. Several great places in Lewisburg. The shop mentioned in the post to which you are referring was The Bronze Look - Princeton, West Virginia. www.thebronzelook.com
Bronze Look would be an exciting way to spend a day. Drive down the state park while you are in the Princeton area. Email and I'll provide more info. Or just phone Randolph at the Bronze Look.
They have items from $5 to $750. Unique, handmade, West Virginia Glass. Don't see what you need or want, 'ask' the shop ladies when this glass is again being made.
Currently many items have been marked down an additional 10 - 25%. The clearance table (located in rear of ste) has been filled. Its a great day to shop BLENKO!
Check the website for times the 'observation deck' is open, bring your camera take photos and include the photos in your gift bags. Most all Blenko glass can be personalized, check out 'Touch of Glass' Hurricane, WV. www.westvirginiaglass.com
Monday, December 14, 2009
I was blessed to have her in my life. So lucky to have her in my life.
Ann Wood, 90, of Charleston died December 9, 2009, at Hubbard Hospice House following six months of illness.
She was the daughter of the late Dimple and DeForrest McMillion, born May 18, 1919, in Dundon. She was the loving wife of James D. Wood of Charleston, who died in 1976.
Surviving her are her daughter, Judith Bartley of Charlottesville, Va.; her son, Jim and his wife, Barbara, of Princeton; and her son, Richard of Loma Mar, Calif. Her grandchildren include Jimmy Wood and wife, Lucy, of Moorefield, Richard Cadieux of Alexandria, Va., and Callie Bouchard and Andre Cadieux and wife, Genny, of Charlottesville, Va. Her great-grandchildren include Abigail and Autumn Wood of Moorefield and Samantha Cadieux of Charlottesville, Va. Ann is also survived by her loving friends, Charles and Jenny Spann, Kay and John Homburg and their daughter, Hillary, and Janet and Bob Simpson of Charleston.
Ann Wood was a kind, gracious and generous woman who loved to read and study the history and geography of West Virginia, as well as world history and current affairs. She dearly loved to walk through the neighborhoods of Edgewood, near her home and, earlier in her life, the state parks of West Virginia. She had extremely fond memories of her youth in Widen. Ann Wood was a bright, wonderful spirit and loving mother who will be deeply missed by her family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Hubbard Hospice House, 1001 Kennawa Drive, Charleston, WV 25311.
Sometimes along with sadness, great loss can bring with it a renewed appreciation for what, and who, we have to be thankful for.
Today, Dec 14th, is my mother's (40+) birthday.
I could not have asked for a more loving or supportive parent.
Happy Birthday Momma Kay,
I love you.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
For 18 months now I am asking where is Rick Blenko? You don't respond. I went to the Holiday Sale, saw Mr. Bill and Mr. Walter but it ain't the same with out Rick.
What is he up to, is he healthy? Is he in WV? I can not be the only person asking you these questions. Is he making glass? Is he promoting other glass? Or is he involved with PBS? What is he doing? Blenko Glass without Rick or a Blenko at the helm doesn't seem right.
You are not alone in asking about Richard, although you are the most persistent in asking questions. Richard stays very busy traveling, spending time with family and friends, involved in community affairs and working as always on many projects. Last weekend his family was at the Huntington Mall supporting a family friend during her book signing.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Tell me where to buy vintage Blenko?
I buy very little glass, but those 'who shop' tell me (1) estate sales (2) find a good shop and ask the owner to search for you (3) ebay (4) The places I am familiar with are Kissin Kate's in Hurricane and Purple Moon of Charleston, WV
Purple Moon has a large selection of furniture and all things modern. Kissin Kate's specialty is WV and American Glass.
My thoughts are if you are new to collecting - buy only from an established dealer, buy books, search websites and acquire a base knowledge before venturing into ebay or estate/tag sales.
Have you visited the www.blenkoglass.com website or gift shop? Many 'vintage' reproductions are available . . .the Bayliss line has a retro feel.
Need more info, or have additional questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Yesterday I was rinsing out my very, very favorite purple vase that belonged to my grandmother...and most stupidly I ran hot water into it. The bottom popped out having cracked from too quick temperature change. Literally it made me sick to my stomach and tears were free flowing. Anyway, I have obsessively searched Blenko books in antique stores today (somehow I sensed it was a Blenko) and found the exact vase, #6712, designed by Joel Myers in 1969. It is the barbell shape, 11 1/4 " tall with the applied spiral in the middle. Mine is plum glass. Luckily the break was clean and at the bottom of the vase where the purple is dark and the glass is thick. I did glue it back together, but knowing I've basically ruined it kills me.
I am desperate to find another one just like it. Is it ridiculous to think I might be able to locate one? I might consider other colors it was produced in. I realize it is highly collectible after my research, though I never would have sold mine. Knowing its high value does compound my grief, but it was really priceless to me. Any help or suggestions you have will be so appreciated.
I am truly heartbroken.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
While I attempt to filter every comment, on occassion something will slip by.
In January and February 2010 I'll be on my Operating Room rotation, my time will be very limited. Please send many photos and stories during this time.
Otherwise the blog will go down to 3 post per week.
Heart of Glass appreciates your comments, your photos, your stories.
New collectors often have little knowledge of the great 'vintage Blenko' when they see your Blenko, read your stories etc this increases their desire to collect and also aides the sale of new Blenko Glass. Thanks to the West Virginia, Virginia, Calif, Texas, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina and Ky Blenko Collectors we have photos of unique glass nearly each week.
Our goal is promote WV Glass. All West Virginia Glass. While
Blenko is in my neighborhood and is the glass I most often purchase, Heart of Glass Blog
wants to provide a place to share knowledge of all West Virginia Glassmakers and the art glass they made/make available.
WV Glass is a very narrow topic, specific set of information, yet our readership grows each month. Its my belief we have more new collectors than old - many more. Together we can make a difference.
Remember to BUY MADE IN THE USA - and to buy LOCAL whenever possible .
DR. Hillary, I was finaly able to get photos of the airtwist cane that Harry and Charly Gibson made. The only way to discribe it is THE ULTIMATE AIRTWIST. Harry prided himself in being able to make these canes he gave most of them away, There are only two left that I know of. Thanks Larry T.
This year Buy Made In USA and when possible buy local, support the tri - state merchants.
*fill in the blank -
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Blenko Glass www.blenkoglass.com online shop is open 24 hours a day and the Gift Shop in Milton, WV 304 743 9081 is open 7 days a week.
This year buy Made In The USA.
Support your Local Merchants.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Here is my Blenko story and two images.
Hillary Homburg asked me to share my Blenko story.
My first visit to Blenko was in 1995. I was on a nine day bus tour with fellow members of the William Morris Society of Canada. It was a spontaneous detour, because we were well ahead of our schedule. And what a delight. Not only had we been visiting Midwestern visionary communities, but also many buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, so our appetites were well whetted for glass. What I think surprised most of us, after seeing so much minimal use of color in Wright's prairie style, was Blenko's riotously bright and vivid colors, stacked in dazzling assortments of rainbows, which indelibly scarred our retinas. I don't think anyone left there without purchasing at least one piece. Mine was a four inch diameter by 14 inch tall purple vase. Because we were in the visitors centre, and time was short, I did not realize that Blenko even had a stained glass factory, producing sheet glass, rondells or dalle de verre. I love my vase because it was what I had imaged at the time, small sheets of hand made glass would be made from.
My second visit to Blenko was in 2007. This time with great purpose. I had just finished taking a course on dalle de verre in France. When I got home I did some Internet searching and Blenko kept coming up as a supplier of dalles. Faint memories of the visitors center came to mind, but I could not remember seeing the stained glass supply area. So I wrote an email and got introduced to Don Lemley and the mythic dalle barn. I must admit it was all a bit too laid back for me, there weren't really any codes to correspond to specific colors, so I was concerned I wasn't going to get delivered what I anticipated and I wasn't convinced that the shipping costs weren't going to be problematic. So somewhere in those email conversations I decided to take a week off work and drive to Milton myself.
I am so glad I did. Don was a sweet heart and let me loose in the dalle barn, which seems to only get bigger every time I think about it. As a stained glass artist, it is always important for me to hand select my materials, because hand made glass has a wonderful transitional or variegated quality, that helps direct how it wants to be used. And I want to respond to that quality. Don was very generous with his time and local information. I selected dalles most of the morning. Wrapping up for a late lunch in town, I thought it crazy not to go back and select some sheet glass and some rondells. So loading up my little car with far more than I had originally planned on, there were some prayerful moments as I negotiated the West Virginia hills, back home.
And here we are in 2009. I was equally devastated even here, in the Canadian north when I heard the news that Blenko was suspending it's glass production, There was evidence of factory closures when I had made my personal trip, the two years earlier, but I had never thought it would effect Blenko. I called Don hoping to hear that perhaps it really wasn't that bad. But it was. Artistically I was horrified that I might not get any more Blenko dalles and sympathetically I was deeply saddened that another area of the creative and artistic world was being shut down.
I decided then and there, that I had to show some support. I chatted with many of my stained glass colleagues in an effort to encourage some Blenko sales. I scrambled myself to find some money to have an dalle order sent. Everything was up in the air. I was worried that nothing would happen and that the Blenko doors would be closed without fanfare.
Blenko is part of the American fabric that is as old as the hills the factory lives in. It was an idyllic spot to create the “glass hut” family owned style of glass manufacture, that was very prominent in Europe. Plenty of inexpensive fuel, cool summer days to mitigate the long hot hours in front of the furnaces. Blenko had a unique mix of both blown glass ware and art glass from the beginning, also being one of the earliest manufacturers of dalle de verre, which was born out of the Second World War.
West Virginia probably had the highest concentration of skilled glass blowers in the country. This is not insignificant. So to hear that Blenko was shutting down production, not only meant yet another business shutting down, but also the loss of a very particularly skilled group of individuals were losing their livelihood, probably forever. There is such a hue and cry for the rain forest, the loss of animal species to extinction and yet the lives of artists are not seen as valuable. I suppose it is assumed that we can adapt, that we can find other jobs. Noble it is to look after places and animals far away requiring our assistance, but when it comes to the arts, music, dance and glass, despite its huge cultural impact, these are the programs usually first to go.
We marvel at what previous cultures were able to create. The Egyptians, Greeks or the Celts for example. What evidence of their lives to we find at museums? Hand made pottery, glass, jewelery and statuary. Beautiful and functional and handmade. Artists were an integral part of the community. Blenko's artists really need every one's support, from the simple first time guest in the visitor center who buys a small keepsake to the state of West Virginia, who could find creative ways to save a piece of its heritage. Bravo to the Blenko project and Hillary, for initiating it.
By the way, I did get about 70 dalles this year. There are designs sketched out and new work under way. I'll keep you posted. Thanks Hillary for this opportunity.
Orrville, Ontario, Canada