The evening’s event will include remarks by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith of the Division and a Gallery Talk by Hinkle. The artist also will have 100 signed and numbered pieces entitled “Flower of the Evening,” for sale to the public for $40. The special edition piece is a six-inch-tall cranberry glass starflower mounted atop a solid base of crystal glass that rises up in a spiraled vine where the flower sits.
The exhibit has the theme “While You Were Sleeping,” and will resemble a glass flower garden. There are approximately 1,000 pieces of glass in the show including flowers, stars, orbs and leaves in a variety of shapes and colors – all set against the backdrop of a night sky.
Hinkle is an accomplished master glass artist who embodies great passion and appreciation for glass and the history of glass making. He was born and raised in Buckhannon and developed a love of glass at the young age of 12. Using the glass tubing from his chemistry set, Hinkle taught himself to bend and stretch glass over the burners of his gas stove.
During the summer before his senior year at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Hinkle learned that the glass factories in nearby Weston needed summer help. He began working for Louie Glass and ended up spending the next 20 years there, learning from the masters, while developing his own style.
Within a few years, Hinkle began working independently during his breaks and after work to learn the art of glass blowing. He soon was assigned to a glass blowing position, where he remained for 14 years. He began crafting paperweights during every spare moment and secured an apprentice to assist him. In mid-1993, Hinkle left Louie Glass and opened Hinkle’s Dying Art Glassworks on Jan. 1, 1994 in Buckhannon. He initially sold his work wholesale, particularly to Princess House Consultants. For the first five years, his business grew by 30 percent each year. His art glass is available in more than 30 states and select international locations. In December 2005, he changed his company’s name to Ron Hinkle Glass.
Hinkle’s work has been featured on the West Virginia Governor’s Tree and the Christmas Pageant of Peace trees at the White House. He regularly demonstrates his craft at the Mountain State Arts and Craft Fair in Ripley and the WVU Jackson’s Mill Jubilee near Weston and has been featured in USA Today, Lifestyle Crafts Buyers Guide, Wonderful West Virginia, West Virginia Living. Corridor, West Ways and All About Glass magazine. His product line includes designer vases, rondels, bowls, stemware, table lamps and a series of novelty figurines including animals, fruit and flowers. He currently is developing a line of handcrafted custom lamps in collaboration with blacksmith artist Jeff Fetty of Spencer.
For more information about the West Virginia’s Gift to the World exhibit, Ron Hinkle Glass, contact Charles Morris, director of museums and collections and exhibits manager for the Division, at (304) 558-0220.