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.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Readers Question - Charisma


See the photo, I have three items with this clear and then a bright orange dristled inside its beautiful and I think its blenko but want to be certain before I keep it. I have three other items also I will send photos of. We are cleaning out my Moms house slowly on weekends. Berkley Springs is beautiful this time of year. Visiting and then reading all the nice things you say about West Virginia make me question why I was in such a hurry to leave 15 years ago.
All info about these items will be greatly helpful.
Anita C.

Anita - Governor Joe Manchin's declaration and welcome ' COME HOME' www.times-news.com/editorials/local_story_071210 was meant for folks like you. W.Va is beautiful, and has a great deal to offer.
I couldn't get your photo to "upload" on blogger - I recognize the glass as Charisma by John Nickerson. The following is information obtained from Blenko Museum, WV GLASSHOUSE, Blenko Glass. The most helpful link was - http://www.vmglasshouse.com/ . Check out these sites and also type in Charisma / blenko/ nickerson to obtain additonal information.
The photo is also from this site, and the best photo of CHARIMA I saw on line. I actually own a couple piece of Charisma its difficult to photograph with clarity.
Hope this helps. Readers may have more info to add.
(info about Charisma from this site)
'Charisma is more than just the last great Specialty Line the Blenko Glass Company produced; it is an uncommonly beautiful and eloquent swan song for the company's Historic Period of 1947-74 courtesy of John Nickerson in his first full year as the company's design director.
As discussed on the Blenko Museum's website "A Specialty Line is a themed group of designs that are technically 'special' or different from the company's normal production, and consist of multiple shapes that are aesthetically related. [the] Specialty Lines were an important departure for the designers and indicate an impulse to innovate and experiment in spite of the risks. The Specialty Lines are a testament to a company in its prime."
To borrow from my explanation of Charisma published in the 2007 issue of Miller's Guide, the Charisma line consist of 10 designs executed in crystal with an internal garland pattern Ruby colorway. The technique was an appropriate and historically relevant one as it was essentially a revival of a technique used in the mid-Atlantic region of America circa 1860-1880. Mid-Atlantic glass is recognized as an important milestone as it was the first large scale iteration of the American glass industry, established in 1739.
Charisma was a significant, if short-lived, move towards more technically demanding and elaborate work at Blenko. It represented their first instance of the use of an internal colorway as well as the revival of the concept of the Specialty Line which was formally established in 1960 by Wayne Husted ( Rialto , Regal and Raindrop ). This revival is surprising in that the 1960 experiment was a financial disaster for Blenko and can perhaps be interpreted as a last resort; Charisma was effectively a line in the sand against the encroaching competition of Studio Glass . Sadly this line was ultimately crossed against Blenko's favor.'
Readers please google BLENKO GLASS and spend time learning about BLENKO. The best place to view perfect photos of Blenko are: Blenko Museum and sites where the photos were taken by Damon Crain -Damon Crain is the owner of Glasshouse, and a consultant for contemporary art & design collectors. He has worked at the New Museum and Marian Goodman and Matthew Marks galleries (among others).

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