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, March 02, 2009

Chicago Collection of American and BLENKO Glass


Here are some pictures that Sweetdoc asked for. Notice yet again I am not a purist. My Blenko is on display with glass made by other companies. Again this is fun and I enjoy looking at my collection. I don't enjoy the dusting but I can put up with it. :) Besides the glass I also collect company catalogs. I have three filing cabinets filled with glass company catalogs, advertisements and catalogs that contain glass from different companies. I have been lucky enough to acquire research materials gained by a famous author, and personal papers from a couple designers. About six years ago someone emailed me and asked why I bought a Non Blenko item and wanted me to know I just screwed up. He had no clue I had documentation that the piece was made at Blenko but was not a Blenko catalog item. I hope you enjoy the pictures and if you would like more I do have more :)Oh and yes I have been called a hoarder before but I see myself as a collector that enjoys what she is doing. In case you are wondering most of our collections will be left to a couple museums.

Tammy Kosla


annu said...

First I should say your glass is breath takingly beautiful and your attitude is one that I wish to be surrounded with on a daily basis.
Questions: What designers? Are the Blenko designers dead? They look so youthful in the photos.
I'm new to Blenko.
#2 Would you be so kind as to offer more information on the large glass items, are these American made?
#3 How were they shipped to you?
Glass is so fragile and these pices look very fragile.
#4 How long have you collected? Where do you most often shop?
#5 Suggestions for wannabe collectors?

chitrakahn said...

Thank you Huntington Herald for the Heart of Glass Blog.
Start my day with the blog and online news.

chitrakahn said...

I'm sending a link to these photos to everyone on my mailing list.

westvirginiajanis said...

All I can say is that the Koslas' collection makes me proud to be from West Virginia. I get so tickled seeing those delicate glass animals, imagining the men who made them. I'll bet you could sit beside them at the local biscuit house and never guess from looking that you were sitting beside and "artsy" creative master!

You would have to be from West Virginia to understand what a contradiction in terms we can be. The first example that comes to mind was being at a Young Democrats camp as an child and Senator Byrd coming to visit and playing his fiddle.

Thanks again for sharing Tammy. You have put together a very important part of WV glass-blowing history!

WV Janis

Anonymous said...

Could not find the post about Blenko Glass and customer service so I am writing here.
If you don't believe the bad behavior starts at the top ask
the Scouts of American Rep or the 4-H Rep or Marshall people who deal with Blenko. If you as an organizaation or business dealt with Blenko since 2007 you have had issues. Communication or lack of was a great source of many problems. Most likely for the entire customer list. If I invested I would clean house.
Not the factory workers or girls in gift shop, but all others.
Sue M.

Anonymous said...

AS of right now, Blenko is closing its doors. They are currently selling the rest of the stock available. If you want a piece of history you better get it quick.

Anonymous said...

Annu the stuff that is available now, at the gift shop is not what you want to collect, they have raised the prices what was once $120 is now $240.
Visit the website for Blenko Museum and Blenko Collectors 4 and then go shopping.
Buy quality glass only visit the neighboring stores and get Blenko at reasonable prices.
Sue M

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the comments on our collection.

The first picture is showing two huge Zanetti (Italian) birds surrounded by Blenko.

Second picture is a Archimede Seguso (Italian) Large Fish

Third picture is probably a Barbini (Italian) Gazelle Sculpture 18 3/4" tall

Fourth picture is of Alfredo Barbini (Italian) birds - you all can tell me what kind of birds :)

Fifth picture upstairs shows newer Blenko floor items with my Blenko quilt in the background along with a HUGE blowup of the cover of the 1958 Blenko catalog signed by Wayne Husted when he was here at my house.

The last picture shows some of our Greenwich Flint-Craft and Tiara (eggs) collection designed by Tom Connally in the first row. Most of these pieces were signed by Tom when he came to visit in 2002. The second row are all Hand Decorated Rainbow items. These pieces were sold by Rainbow before they started to make their own glass. Top right is glass made by Erickson.

#1 Are the Blenko designers dead?
Don Shepherd was the first Blenko designer to pass (Feb. 23, 2002) and then Winslow Anderson (Dec. 10, 2007)

#2 Would you be so kind as to offer more information on the large glass items, are these American made?

The largest items in my collection are the Blenko floor decanters and vases. The ones located downstairs are mostly vintage and the ones upstairs in the loft are relatively newer. (LOL Their location upstairs helps prevent the cats from walking on the railing and jumping onto the shelves in the living room)

#3 How were they shipped to you?

Most of my collection has been sent through USPS and UPS with a few coming in FedEx

#4 How long have you collected? Where do you most often shop?

I started collecting Blenko in 1999 but I have been a collector since I was very young.
eBay is where I do most of my buying. I don't usually buy off websites that deal with art glass since they usually get their items off ebay, Why not bid on ebay and pay much less than buying off those sites? I have seen a few sites that are reasonably priced www.glasslanding.com is one but there are some that think they are High End Art Galleries and put DREAM prices on their Blenko. I have also been lucky enough to find pieces in thrift stores and flea markets. Blenko is out there you just have to search for it. I believe Blenko belongs in the average American home like yours and mine.

#5 Suggestions for wannabe collectors?

Learn your Blenko shapes and colors. Buy the books that are available. There may be some catalog pages missing from the Leslie Pina reprint catalog books but any reprint page is worth having! After buying the books start buying catalog reprints that are sold on ebay and actual catalogs that appear on ebay every now and then. Important fact here is hundreds if not thousands of Blenko stickers have found their way out of the Blenko company and are put on non Blenko pieces. Don't buy something just because it has a Blenko sticker.

You can learn a lot by just going through www.blenkocollectors.com
If you have questions there is a contact button near the middle of the main page on the left side. Drema answers our mail on that site - She loves to ID! I still answer the Blenko ID requests that are sent into the company and I have been doing that since 2002. Some requests are answered by the office people but most are sent to me.

Blenko collecting should be fun!

Hillary J Homburg said...

Tammy Kosla had the above to say in response to questions about her collection. Apologize to TK the blogger is again acting out.

Anonymous said...

I heard friday was last day for Blenko.
Sad news.

chitrakahn said...

So sorry to have Blenko close, does this mean you will end the blog?
Sad news for all of West Virginia.
Blenko was great glass.

annu said...

Thank you, your photos are light, full of air and life.
The love you feel for the glass is visible.
It is said: Sharing knowledge of things we cherish and hold dear can be rewarding to the giver and receiver.
As a semi frequent reader of this blog, your knowledge the community knowedge and photos add to total package. Thank you.