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.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


While all our favorite paperweights were made in West Virginia - the Paperweight Collectors Club sent photos and info:

Artists of the glass paperweight revival in the United States can in general be separated into two groups, those who do lampwork (floral) motifs and those who specialize in millefiori designs. Lampworkers utilize a torch and special small hand tools to create petals, leaves, and berries from colored glass rods that are then tacked together to form individual flowers or bouquets. Millefiori, or “thousand flowers,” are geometric designs such as stars or cogs that are formed by pouring molten glass into dies. These large diameter (typically 2 inches – 4 inches) slugs of glass are removed from the die, drawn down to a much smaller diameter (typically1/4 inch), and cut into short lengths (again typically 1/4 inch). These elements, known as canes, can then be arranged in any pattern the artist desires. Whether the motif is lampwork or millefiori, the next step is to encase it in glass and form it into the traditional paperweight shape.


Melissa Ayotte works with her father Rick Ayotte who is also a well-known paperweight artist. Their studio, Ayotte Glass Studio, LLC, is in New Boston, New Hampshire. Melissa has been making glass paperweights for ten years. Illustrated is her work “Purity Bouquet” which is 3 1/2 inches in diameter. More of her work can be seen on http://www.ayotteglassart.com/ and on her blog http://melisssayotte.wordpress.com.

Ken Rosenfeld works out of his studio Ken Rosenfeld Glass in Milwaukie, Oregon. He has been a glass paperweight artist for over 20 years. His selected work, “Roses,” is 3 1/2 inches in diameter. His website is http://www.kenrosenfeld.com/.

Victor Trabucco has been a glassworker for 35 years. His studio, Trabucco Studio, is located in Clarence, New York, and his website is http://www.paperweight.tv/. His work, “Bouquet,” is 3 1/4 inches in diameter and clearly illustrates the wonderful realism he brings to all his pieces.


Jim Brown’s studio, JDB Decorative Arts, is in Lebanon, Tennessee. His millefiori paperweights often copy the style of 19th century weights made by Bacchus, an English glass factory. Illustrated is one of his close concentric designs titled “Blue Garden Carpet.” It is 3 3/16 inches in diameter. He first got involved with making paperweights 10 years ago.

Drew Ebelhare is another of today’s millefiori masters and has been creating paperweights for around 20 years. His studio, Ebelhare Art Glass, is in Canon City, Colorado. His illustrated paperweight is a “Tufted, Faceted Concentric” from his Old English series which pays homage to 19th century English paperweight factories. It measures 3 1/4 inches in diameter.


Founded in 1953, the Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc. (PCA, Inc.) is a non-profit organization of glass paperweight enthusiasts from throughout the world. Its membership includes collectors, artists, dealers, museums, and libraries.

Its purpose is to educate PCA, Inc. members and the general public about the history, origin, quality, genuineness, and artistic merit of glass paperweights and related objects, and also to promote research in the areas of paperweight making, identification, and historical, geographic, and cultural origins of paperweights.

Additional information, including the history of glass paperweights, lists of artists, dealers, and museums, a calendar of events, and examples of antique and contemporary paperweights can be found on the organization’s website www.paperweight.org.


Phani said...

These are just spectacular. I would love to see someone use Fractals in paper weight design, wouldnt you B?

roundhead2 said...

I will take one of each. Read a article announcing the sale of this years birthday piece. Black from the 1970's. Seeing if people who collect got the information before the news.

Anonymous said...

BTW thank you for this post
it answers many questions that we as a gorup had.

Anonymous said...

They now have a new member
three of us are joining.
My collection will begin to grow with these new contacts.
We will inturn tell them about Blenko and other WV paper weights.

Anonymous said...

Blenko workers
please cut and paste these photos at your bench.
Duplicate these.

Anonymous said...

where is the article roxie I missed it..

Anonymous said...

How is Don ? Saw his Mom day verse.
Is he doin OK?
Is he at Osburn Glass?

Anonymous said...

Dear Hillary,

Thank you for your interest in Contemporary American Paperweight. I appreciate being featured in your write up. Just a few weeks ago I watched the Blenko story again on tape. I can relate to the struggles and successes working with glass.

Thank you and Best wishes,
Victor Trabucco

Trabucco Studio, Inc.
10 Paddock View Dr.
Clarence, New York


bridgett said...

My access to internet is very limited, I do monthly view all the blog post and comments. This post is most informative and the photos are beautiful.
A membership is on my short list.
Doc Glass my comments are rarely choosen for publication. May I ask how you select comments that are posted so I might add the words or delete my offensive words.
Blenko and American Glass are important parts of my collecton. My partner and I enjoy all available fine arts


Anonymous said...

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DrAnnu said...

Thank you Glasslady
I have now ordered a total of 7 paperweights by american artist does this make me a paper weight collector?
Phoned Blenko to order WV paper weights and was told they have night lites made from paperweights only at this time.
Then ordered 3 from Tamrack website for a total of 10. Obsession was my middle name.
I wait for the arrival.

Anonymous said...

Osburn glass has a bunch of paperweights, some have dogs and other figures in them. he has some cool stuff there check his out if you are collecting.

webmaster said...

Thank you for mentioning Drew Ebelhare's paperweights. He has a new website: www.ebelharepaperweights.com.

Thanks, Niki Maas - webmaster

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