One of the best sites for Blenko Glass http://serenityantiques.com/ Serenity Glass proprietor Larry wrote this article for Heart of Glass. FOOD FOR THOUGHT on a Sunday Morning?
HOW TO NURTURE NEW GLASS COLLECTORS
As an avid glass Collector and retail storeowner I have been often perplexed by the question. “Why are there so few young collectors”? I think I have part of the answer. How often have you heard or made these statements. ”I couldn’t have these things in my home they are breakable and I have children”. “Keep your hands in your pockets these things are breakable”, “We can’t go in here all of this stuff is breakable”, “Oh!!! Don’t go near that you will break it”. Or any number of comments similar to this, causing the next generation of glass collector, to be afraid to be around things of beauty. (Ps. I have much more breakage, in my store, caused by careless adults than children.)
Cultivating the next generation of collector is up to us, the current collectors, through education. I have been actively been working on this solution for the past six years. It started when my granddaughter, now seven, began to notice the many pieces of brightly colored glassware displayed throughout my home. Many people said that I would have to put away and remove the temptation of the highly breakable glass. This was an idea I did not agree with. At the time I was babysitting Emma 4 to 5 evenings per week. Thus an opportunity for an experiment appeared. Every evening Emma and I would sit down in front of an antique curio cabinet full of small brightly colored glass items ranging from color sample blocks to brightly colored cordials and glass figures.
I would remove one item at a time touch it to her cheek and say “pretty”, allowing her to experience the texture of the glass. Then she was given the piece of glass to hold and touch. After a few moments we would repeat this process with other pieces of glass until her attention waned. This soon became a nightly ritual, Emma would go to the curio sit down and point to the glass and say “pitty”. As time went on I saw that Emma was attracted more to the glass animals, especially the swans, so we started her a collection of her own. I started with glass swans as she really loved them and are not hard to find and identify. This collection, in part resides in my store Serenity ‘Glass with Class’, where they are played with, decorated with ribbons, flower petals and other decorating items found around the store. About two months before Emma’s fifth birthday I received a Fenton white satin songbird with crystal decorations. For about the next six weeks the songbird was in Emma’s hands every moment she was at the store. I was probably asked a hundred times if she could have it for her birthday. About two weeks before her birthday I boxed up the bird and put it away. After that every time she came to the store she asked about the bird and I would tell her it was gone but I would try to find her another. After all gifts were opened at her birthday I came out with a small cardboard box and said Emma there is one more gift. Here eyes brightened as she guessed what was in the box. She was thrilled, and made sure that everyone adult and child was permitted to hold, touch to his or her cheek and be told the bird was pretty. The bird to this day has a very prominent place of display in her parent’s living room.
I use a similar technique in my store when children come in with their parents. When the parental nervousness begins to appear I take the child to the display case holding Mosser animals and clowns, each child is given a piece of glass to hold and appreciate. Within a very few minutes a transformation occurs, the child begins to feel the beauty and the delicateness of the glass. Their urge to touch every piece is removed as it is no longer the forbidden fruit, and they begin to enjoy the beauty found in the more elegant glass in the shop.
I challenge all collectors to share this experience with the next young potential collector you come across. I predict if we all do this the future of BLENKO and other American Glass Houses will be bright and safe for generations to come.
Thanks to Larry from TX for this article!
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