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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, January 19, 2009

Your Blenko Memories

We have been asking you to send in your personal stories, memories, and pictures of Blenko Glass to share.
The following was sent in by a long time friend, artist
Glen Brogan.

"First I need to confess that I am a collector of many things, but glassware has yet to be something that adorns the shelves of my apartment. I’m writing this because it’s a story that means something to me and also happens to have a tie to Blenko Glass.

A year or two ago my friend Kyle’s grandmother passed away. Sometime afterwords Kyle moved into her house since it was left in his family's possession. I helped him get the house in order for his transition into living there, and as we were rearranging furniture I noticed and took interest in a smoky glass globe filled with matchbooks from different places around WV and beyond. As a graphic designer I have always liked the simple logos and illustrations printed on matchbooks, and I have even used them as imagery in my illustrations from time to time, but unfortunately they were never something I had thought to collect. Kyle’s grandmother, however, must have thought to take one from just about every place she visited because the globe was nearly filled to the top. As payment for helping him with the house, Kyle gave me the globe and matchbook collection.

My own grandmother passed away in October, and having now experienced for myself the difficult task of dividing up a passed loved one's possessions, I realize just how hard it is to let go of any relic from their life; not to mention one that must have taken years to assemble and tells a story of places visited and events witnessed. (There were numerous concert tickets in the globe as well.) It wasn’t until I brought the globe home that I noticed the small “Blenko Handcraft” sticker on the side. I never met Kyle’s grandmother, and I wonder what the matchbooks and glass piece meant to her. Maybe she would laugh that somebody would even want it, or maybe she would be puzzled that a person she never met now owns it. The glass looks old, though I guess it’s possible that she had acquired it recently to hold all the matchbooks, or dug it out of the garage.

I wonder the same thing about the items that I took from my own grandmother’s house after she was gone, and even about the things that she gave me while she was alive. I suppose my point in telling this story is that sometimes things you don't expect end up meaning something to you, and you'll never know what your own possessions will mean to the next person who owns them, even if they are just things like a dusty old glass bowl.

For my part I’ve been adding matchbooks to the collection.

-Glen"

Please continue to send in your Blenko photos and stories to share with Heart of Glass!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The link didn't work for me, I anxiously await seeing a long time friend of Heart of Ice er Glass.
Sol

westvirginiajanis said...

Glen:

This story of the BLENKO bowl of matchbooks is beautiful. On a related note, I have been going around my house thinking about what really matters to me, what has history for the family, and what is just a yard sale treasure. In the end, we are gone and our stuff remains. When my dad died, a full review of his life and lifestyle was everywhere in his house and his belongings. Now I know why he did what, at the time, seemed like goofy things. He would take a picture of himself (with a remote) holding his prized tomatoes with the year, weight, size data written with permanent marker on a piece of cardboard. He was a scrapbooker before Creative Memories home scrapbooking businesses existed.
He wanted his humble history documented for his family.

We should all do this, for family's sake.

West Virginia Janis

Anonymous said...

Glen,
Welcome to the blog. I also collect matchbooks and winecorks
I have a Blenko fish full of wine corks and 2 Blenko top hats filled with matchbooks.
The winecork collection is new.
You and people like you are a blessing to the world. I can only hope one of my grandkids or their friends will cherish my things.
Thank you for the memory.
Margie Hale

Anonymous said...

LINK WORKED FOR ME SOL
GET SOME NEW FINGER TIPS.
HILARY YOU SHOULD ASK GLEN TO BUY ANOTHER BLENKO 2 ITEMS AND YOU ARE A BEGINNING COLLECTOR.
MOUNTAIN RITA

Anonymous said...

Glen
silver label means its old
and a little valuable.
Sue M