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, February 06, 2009

Blenko . . . Blenko . . . Blenko . .

The questions are: Hillary, 1) What Blenko Glass items are you still looking for? 2) Does my glass with a very small hair line crack still have value? Or should I buy a piece with a small flaw? My response to What I am looking for : Many many items the 5949, many of the Winslow items, any thing Hank Adams did after Blenko, and all the Husted decanters. 2) I'd buy a flawed piece and display it until I could find a perfect piece - then trade up. But then I'd a bit weird. Damon Crane had this to say!
This design is, in my extensive experience, not only one of the rarest of Wayne Husted's designs but also one of the most iconic and sought after. It is also a tremendously important one. For this reason I have no qualms offering this one which is priced exceptionally well - in fact, below my cost - because it is damaged . Fortunately, the damage, a hairline crack on the thin edge, is not distracting under normal display conditions because the decanter is viewed head-on from the front. It is rare indeed that I will consider selling an item with any issue, however a piece of this calibre and rarity makes for a healthy exception. For comparison please see this page where I am offering a mint condition Sea Green 6316.
It is entirely appropriate for this very mature design to have been created by Wayne Husted during is very last year as the Blenko Glass Company's designer – only a seasoned maestro would concoct such a creature. One can be utterly ignorant of all things Blenko and still look at this design and immediately recognize something unique and special; it is a shape with universal gravitas.
On a more concrete level this shape evinces the deep inspiration Husted found in modern art. I do not label this decanter "Surrealist" lightly or merely on an aesthetic level, rather is it a strong conceptual kinship that informs my association. Surrealism was a controversial branch of modern art, rife as it was with theatrical showmen like Salvador Dali – but then it is hard to deny just such a tendency in Husted! Surrealism was a very rich and refined outgrowth of the conceptual approach to art making; exploring fantastical and transcendental imagery, and very concerned with iconography and deeply held, if subconscious, concepts. Does any part of that description NOT apply to this design?

Here we have one of Husted's last works, a shape that in many ways sums up his 10 year's work at Blenko. The subversion of the vessel is in full force and yet, paradoxically, this subversion results in a form so iconically bottle-like that it is undeniable. At the same time it is not at all a natural shape for blown glass; like Anderson's beautiful #999 ships decanter glass does not easily take such a dramatic shape as it cools too quickly to fully fill the wooden mold it is blown into, requiring strength and skill on the part of the blower and determination and vision on the part of the designer. But the result “feels” natural despite in actuality being quite forced. The rich paradoxes at play in this design are a testament to Husted's entire oeuvre at Blenko.
This decanter is part of a series of three designs Husted made in 1963 that explored the same approach; flattened squared forms. See the complete set below. http://www.vmglass.com/

Above, the full series of three flattened "Surrealist" decanters from 1963, L to R: 6316 in Tangerine, 6314 in Sea Green and 6315 in Turquoise


Anonymous said...

It is no wonderful you speak so highly of this Crane fellow. The website is a Blenko candy store.
Readers if you have not been to visit go now. He has for sell the very finest Blenko and other glasswares.
Margie Hale

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I like the color of this glass


susan said...

Someday if you ever speak with Wayne H. will you ask him what he was thinking when he designed these?
Also the rialto
Priceless items.

Anonymous said...

Tell me about this glass, is it available on the open market?

Dr.BOB said...

M. Rita needs to have a rest and a peaceful weekend.
This gentleman and others have been very generous to us via this website.
Hats off to DC for the info, the photos.