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 31, 2011

WV Birthday Vase - Update

Check out Blenko Glass www.blenkoglass.com webpage for exact date and time.
We will be posting a photo this week - Aarlon Bayliss designed the vase - he's designed the three prior and all have been 'better than great', Bayliss understands the "Birthday Collectors" and he wants to produce a very special piece each year.
Rumor has it that this year he is using Blue and Gold and the Vase will be shaped like a guitar - but you know the rumor mill in West Virginia - - - so my suggestion is you return to the Blog this week to see an actual photo.
If you haven't made reservation do so today - arrive early by 7 am (some folks come the night before and sit to talk all evening about Blenko and collecting) In past years as long as you arrive and are in line by 7am your chances of leaving with a WV Birthday Vase are extremely high.
Note: Les Womack ( retired Blenko Glass blower / finisher and Foreman ) will be returning for the 'Festival of Glass' - make plans to attend and bring your children, grandchildren and camera. Watching Les Womack create glass is
one of the most exciting events at Blenko.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Blenko Glass

Yes! Blenko Glass is open.
Daily the Blenko Glass Visitor Center and Gift shop is open to the public.
You'll find a wide assortment of glass. Glass signed by the artist, glass that was rejected due to color or form, 1st quality over runs.
The supply is unlimited. Spend sometime looking at your Blenko Glass catalogs or on line at http://www.blenkoproject.org/ viewing the glass collections prior to visiting. Then bring your checkbook, credit card or cash.
Blenko Glass located in Milton, WV has a glass item for each person on your gift list.
Note: Don't forget the gardener....Blenko Glass maybe used for bird baths, bird feeders, and objects of art in the yard.
Mark your calendar for the West Virginia Birthday Event. http://www.blenkoglass.com/. Thank you for reading, we welcome your photos, stories and comments - note: no personal attacks, no messages to other blog members and limit the negative comments.
Photo of Blenko water bottle with 4 spouts in Ruby. Limited in quantity.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Photos from Bruce

Hi Hillary,

Third on my list is this nice group of Anderson designed 920 decanters. From the left is Tangerine, Turquoise, and Lime.
Simple yet elegant, enough said.
Hope you enjoy,

Friday, May 27, 2011

World Cancer Day

Dear God, I pray for a cure for cancer. Amen

In memory of anyone you know
Who has been struck down by cancer or is still living with it.

A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting Another Candle..

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Glass Art Society 41st Annual Conference

Glass Art Society 41st Annual Conference
Creative Crossroads
Seattle, Washington, June 1-5, 2011

More than 80 artists and glass enthusiasts will present in Seattle. The presentation format varies: lectures, lec-mos, panels, and demonstrations in coldworking, hot glass, neon, and vitreography.

For more information, or to register, visit http://glassart.org/2011_Seattle_WA.html

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blenko Holy Family

Thought I'd share a picture of my weekend find - a Blenko Holy Family designed by Don Shepherd, circa 1970s.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Historic Blenko Photo ID

Dr. Hillary, the photo of the man in the chair, top photo, is Axel Muller or his brother . I could never tell them apart. They came from the Huntington Tumbler Co. to do the stemware for Blenko, I am not sure of the year. Early 30s I think.

Larry T.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blenko Glass BRAVO!

Blenko Bravo - this line is thought to be designer Arlon Bayliss' tribute to the 50's and 60's.

If one didn't know you made the purchase today . . . .they would think you inherited the Bravo collection.

Six items from this collection are currently available at http://www.blenkoglass.com/ , if you haven't started a Blenko Glass collection.

Make a purchase today!

* all six pieces are availabe in tangerine and several other colors.

Blenko Glass Gift Shop and Factory are open daily, check http://www.blenkoglass.com/ for factory hours.

To learn more about Blenko Glass http://www.blenkoproject.org/ .

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photos from Bruce

Hi Hillary,
Next up for today is a nice grouping of flame stoppered decanters from Husted and Myers. From the left is the Myers designed #653 in Honey (16"), the Husted designed #6212 in Honey (20"), and the Myers designed #6530S in Chestnut (14").


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nikolaj Christensen Glassblowing

Nikolaj Christensen was the guest Glassblowing Artist at Bucks County Community College (BCCC) Glass Arts Society on Wednesday April 6, 2011.

Photos and Videos of Nikolaj making a Reticello Bowl and Merletto Pitcher can be found on these web pages:



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Photos from Bruce

Hi Hillary,
I will try sending several photos fro the blog today from some recent shooting I have been able to do. Hope all is well with you and your family. We are enjoying Holy week with all the various services.

First photo of today is of a nice grouping of 64E's or as some call them the "Beehive vase", that Myers designed. From left to right we have Chestnut, Olive Green, Tangerine, Turquoise, and Peacock.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The bad news is Blenko filed Chapter 11 on Thursday morning.

The good news is Blenko filed Chapter 11 on Thursday morning. Blenko will be protected from its creditors and allowed to reorganize.

Katie Trippe told me in a conversation on Thursday that
"Blenko sales were consistently improving, Blenko is again being offered in a number of major department stores. Blenko Glass is struggling but alive and well and this is just the beginning of a new and better phase. Blenko Glass is doing great! "

In essence everyone who left messages on my voice mail said, " What can we do to help? Will they cancel the June WV Birthday event? Will there be a layoff?

Will they be open for observation of glass making? What does Chapter 11 mean?How do you feel about this? Were you surprised? How will this affect the community?

The answers are:
You can help by purchasing more Blenko directly from Blenko Glass http://www.blenkoglass.com/. Tell your friends about Blenko! If you live out of state

encourage your friends to see your collection and to visit the Blenko Glass website and other websites devoted to Blenko. ( http://www.blenkoproject.org/). Give gifts made only in the USA. Let your circle of friends know you buy only made in USA.

BLENKO is NOT laying off anyone. The WV Birthday Event will take place as scheduled. This event is a money maker for Blenko - They sell all the vases in less than 2 hours. Immediate turn over! If you haven't made a flight reservation or hotel reservation and need help with logistics email theblenkoproject@aol.com and I'll send info.

Observation deck will be open - schedule is located on the http://www.blenkoglass.com/ website or phone 304 743 9081 .

We were not surprised by the decision to file Chapter 11 - we were surprised by the Judge's rulings prior to the Chapter 11. 7 years ago I started The Blenko Project as I felt Blenko Glass was a state treasure and could very easily be out of business in another year. So I can't say I'm surprised. I was sad initially to hear of the Chapter 11 filing. Later upon reflection I realize this is an opporutnity for Blenko . Blenko Glass is made up of families - the men and women who work at Blenko are 2nd and 3rd generation Blenko Glass. The 49 individuals who work at Blenko Glass all feel as if Blenko Glass is a part of their family. The truth is Blenko would not be alive and well if it were not for the dedication of these workers. Blenko Glass workers are skilled craftsmen, they are also West Virginian they work hard, play hard and live a life devoted to work and family.

Blenko most definitely has an affect on the community, the state and the nation. Yearly thousands of out of state folks visit Blenko Glass. 75% of the blog readers live out side of WV.

If Blenko were to stop making glass it would definitely have a negative impact on the City of Nitro, the State of West Virginia .

The good news is

Blenko Glass is open for business - Blenko Glass remains OPEN for Business and Blenko Glass will be open for business years from now.

This week if you do nothing else - Order one Blenko Glass item ask them when you phone or email the order to include a History Of Blenko and also a brochure then give your glass item to a coworker, your boss or someone special.

Giving Blenko is giving a gift of Love.

Photo: Hour Glass made by Blenko Glass thought to be made in the late 60s. photo from the collection of Dr. Salton

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blenko Files Chapter 11

Blenko files Chapter 11.
Check the herald-dispatch on line for additional info.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Photo of 2011 West Virginia Birthday Blenko Glass?

If you haven't made reservation to attend the

Blenko Glass factory during this time.

Call your travel agent.

Yearly 2 big events one in June the other in August.

Blenko Glass Festival of Glass ( check Blenko calendar for date) and the West Virginia Birthday Event ( June - check www.blenkoglass.com for exact time).

You'll want to attend both!


note: Image of the last year Birthday Piece

designed by Bayliss.

charcoal and frosted glass

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage

Baltimore - House and Garden Tours
Many beautiful homes and lucious gardens - some with Blenko.
My parents are volunteering and you'll want to attend.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mother's Day Gift? Blenko Resources

My Mom is a Blenko wanna be collector.
Its late (5/1) , can you offer suggestions
for Mom Day purchase?
Mimi, All collectors love books. My favorite are pictured here.
Blenko Glass 1930 - 1953 is my 1st choice for a Blenko resource book - Eigle, Wilson and Rick Blenko put together this bible of early Blenko.
The book is out of print but can be found on line for cost of $79 to $130. If the collector in your family doesn't own this - give them a gift card with note saying you're having the book sent!
Check with the collector - most serious collectors own this volume.
Lisa Pina -
The Pina books have a few mislabeled photos , having said this - let me say you must own the entire collection. One can often find these books in 2nd hand shops or order from amazon.com.
Pina loves American Glass, she made many friends at Blenko Glass factory while researching her books.

Friday, May 06, 2011


The Blenko Gift Shop located at the factory in Milton, has a large supply of small glass items - cats, frogs, star fish, etc.

Priced low!


Thursday, May 05, 2011

West Virginia Birthday - Blenko Celebration

photo - Blenko inspired hand crafted note cards available on ETSY and created by Diane Weber of California a Blenko Collector.


Will you have a drawing or something about the Birthday Vase and the events at Blenko?

Will you be there? Will your family?

Can you help me find the BD pieces I'm missing?

Also should I come one day before?
George F.


I haven't been to a Blenko WV Birthday event in 6 years - I gifted my collection to West Virginia University about 6 years ago - - Mr. Walter Blenko each year donates a BD Vase to WVU so the collection will remain complete.
Last year my mom didn't attend, I don't think she or my Dad will be attending this year.

My Uncles (except Barry) also stopped last year. Its my understanding Barry won't be attending this year.{ Long answer to simple question. I don't think anyone from my family will have the time to attend. }
Uncle Skip is offering his collection (complete) for sale - its listed with an auction house.

If you send to me the years BD you need - I'll check with Kissin Kate, and local
sellers to see if anyone has the BDs you need.

Warning - I think aftermarket is a 200% or more mark up.

2nd warning - Be cautious when you purchase BD Vases - the rumor is ( I have 3 different sources stating this) - a good number of BD look alike ( seconds - glass not numbered or signed) were sold during the time Blenko received the first garnishment from Two Mile. Most were sold to the same 2 individuals.

IF you purchase after market, know the seller, check for signature of WHBlenko and the designer and the year and number.

What time to arrive? Well my family loved going early the evening before arriving after 7pm and spending the night - talking about Blenko and the good ole days - however one can arrive by 6 or 7 am the day of the sale and 90% of the time you'll get a piece of glass.

In the old days the Sale was at the Diamond and then Stone and Thomas - my parents became friends with a group of 20 die hard Blenko fans - 12 or more are still living and going yearly. This group of people see one another no more than once a year - but feel close - catch up on the growth of their families and their Blenko and WV Glass collection each year on this day.

If you have the time come early - and visit - IF NOT arrive by 6 or 7 am on day of the sale.

Good Luck!

note: Blenko always offers drinks and a delicious{ home made by a local Pastry Chief} CAKE the decoration could easily win a Cake Bake Off.

Blog readers any suggestions for this new to the Birthday (Blenko) Collection / Celebration?

If you have any question DO NOT PURCHASE!

You are welcome to send photos of potential buys to theblenkoproject@aol.com

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Osma Bin Laden Dead?


The recent news of Osma's death makes me want to have something for the gkids to remember 9/11.

I seem to recall a Blenko series being designed in honor of 9/11.

If this is factual can you tell me how to find the series?

David Y.


Wayne Husted was at Blenko on 9/11 and designed a series called "Patriot"

I do not own this series. Steve Bair of Charleston owns this series. We were unable

to contact him for photos.

The Blenko Collectors Four website does have photos of the Patriot grouping.

I'm attaching a photo from this website. Check out Blenko Collector Four to see photos of

most all the speciality lines from Blenko.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Collection of Glass Animals

Hillary, I collect glass animals. I bought a clear rabbit about 5 inches with a Blenko sticker ( silver). Can you publish photos of other rabbits from Blenko and WV?
Tom H.
My recommendation re: what glass animals were made in WV?
This is a difficult question - many glass workers made and still make small animals during their lunch hour - often as gifts for family or other workers. Animals listed as part of a company line would appear in their catalog. The American Glass Museum in Weston has the largest and most extensive collection of WV Glass catalogs.
Blenko Glass made a limited edition ( 2 colors) glass Bunny last year (see photos). Fenton sometimes offers animals. Check website and catalogs. Good luck!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Blenko Blenko Blenko www.blenkoglass.com

Photo of 60s martini pitcher or a recent Osburn Modern Glass item? Also how long do you think Blenko and others will remain open? Carolee

Without seeing the item I wouldn't attempt to make a judgement. Osburn Glass in Milton, WVa. is known for his use of color. This appears to be a pure red, so perhaps its an older Blenko pitcher.

If you have not visited the Blenko Glass factory in Milton, WV plan to do so this summer. With the continued high cost of gas, and doing business in WV who knows how long we'll continue to have glass factories - currently we have Appalachain, Fenton, Osburn, Hinkle and Blenko all within a 4 hour drive. Email theblenkoproject@aol.com and I'll send you a map of WV Glass sites. When you visit WV take time to see the Blenko Glass Museum upstairs at Blenko - the Huntington Museum of Art also has a WV and American Glass display, the WV Culture Center has a section devoted to WV Glass. Also the Museum of American Glass is located in Weston ( near Appalachain Glass) it is a must see for any collector of American Glass.