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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Beads, Beads, Everywhere! Fenton Glass

Fenton Glass Beadmaking Workshop
Event Date: March 10, 2012
Experience the ancient art of lampwork at Fenton this summer as you create your very own bead from Fenton glass. During this 2 and 1/2 hour class you will have the opportunity to try your hand at the torch using Fenton glass rods and delicate glass frit to build your own beautiful keepsake beads. Perfect to adorn a necklace or bracelet. Limited space available so buy your ticket today.
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The history of beads is the story of man's ingenuity. " In times past many cultures used beads to pay for goods and services, express social status, embody religious beliefs and ward off envy or malice. A bead is a symbol of culture and tradition, and its an object of awe and respect " ( Georgene Lockwood).
Collecting beads is one of the fastest growing hobbies. Being able to wear daily the item you collect must be rewarding.

Each year during the July 4th Arts of Crafts Fair - Ripley, WVa. Craftsmen who make beads and teach bead making are featured. It is estimated that over 300 craftsmen with business license in WVa make beads.

Only one glass factory is making glass beads in West Virginia. Fenton Glass http://www.fentonartglass.com/. Is now offering handcrafted glass beads.
One blog reader sent photos of the 6 she bought ranging in prices from $35 to $70.
Heart of Glass believes wearing something handcrafted in West Virginia is ... priceless.

Blenko Glass doesn't make beads, and has no future plans to make beads.
Many glass factories have a history of making beads.

The first glass factory in America was in Virginia and primarily was used to make beads to trade with the Native Americans. It was destroyed in 1622 during the Jamestown Colony massacre.

One of the most versatile materials used in making beads in glass. Glass beads commonly come from India, Italy and central Europe. Bohemian beads are especially desirable.

The Venetian glass works at Murano Italy was a major center for glass making during the Renaissance and Venetian glass beads are still a favorite. Sometimes you'll see Venetian beads called " wedding cake" beads because, like a fancy cake, they are ornately decorated in a raised fashion.

Swarovski Crystal founded by Austrian Daniel Swarovski devised a 'secret' way of cutting glass beads. These crystal beads have a high lead content and a lot of sparkle.

Mileefori are glass beads with a very ornate pattern resembling bouquets of flowers ( mellefori literally means 1,000 flowers in Italian. These beads originated in the Venetian glass works in Murano, Italy. They are made from slices of multicolored glass rods called canes that are laid over a glass core and smoothed to the surface while still hot.

Locally, Lamp work is the most common method of making beads. These are individually crafted beads made by winding molten glass around a metal rod. The glass is headed using a small torch. " Art" beads are often lamp work beads, and one bead can be very expensive. Lamp work beads from Venice have been highly prized throughout history. Some lamp work beads from Czechoslovakia and India are made by craftsmen who have apprenticed and learned to make beads nearly exactly alike and in large quantities.

Note: For more info 'The Complete Guide to Beading by Jane Davis 2005. Thanks to Blog Reader Suzanne for providing bead info and photos.

There are more kinds of beads that I don't have the room to include.
Several years ago the wearing glass beads on a bracelets or neck chain replaced the standard old charm bracelet.
If you collect beads and want to share your photos or stories of collection please send
to theblenkoproject@aol. All photos and stories will be used in a future post about Glass Beads.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Whats Available in the Blenko Gift Shop?

This photo was provided by a Blenko Collector from Nevada, taken on 2/13 during a VC shopping trip. These items may NOT be available when you visit. We are showing this photo so you'll know - if you haven't been to the VC , the glass is colorful, lots of variety, and prices are
very good. Note the top hat! I was looking for an ebony top hat for 7 or more years. Last week blog friend Ernie sent a link and I was able to purchase an ebony Top Hat for my collection.
If you need a certain piece of glass - ask your friends, neighbors and fellow blog readers.
Networking is part of belonging to a Collector Group. Thank you Ernie.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Atomic Structure of Glass

-----From: Our Blog Friend: Tony P

I have often wondered about the amorphous (non-crystalline) structure of glass, this electron microscope photograph provides insight...

The image above is from this web page:

Researchers have created the world's thinnest pane of glass—and it looks oddly familiar. The glass, made of silicon and oxygen, formed accidentally when the scientists were making graphene, an atom-thick sheet of carbon, on copper-covered quartz. They believe an air leak caused the copper to react with the quartz, which is also made of silicon and oxygen, producing a glass layer with the graphene. The glass is a mere three atoms thick—the minimum thickness of silica glass—which makes it two-dimensional. Although this is the first time such a thin sheet of freestanding glass has been produced, the image above, taken with an electron microscope, isn't entirely new. Reporting in an upcoming issue of Nano Letters, the team notes that it "strikingly resembles" a diagram drawn by a glass theorist attempting to unravel its structure back in 1932 (inset). In the ghostly microscope image, two silicon atoms bound together with an oxygen atom appear as white dots, with oxygen atoms forming gray connecting lines. This network of random-sized rings is mirrored in the old black and white sketch. In addition to demonstrating how graphene makes it possible to produce previously unfeasible 2D-materials, ultra-thin glass could be used in semiconductor or graphene transistors.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

American Paperweight Circle Launched

Readers: Many of you - like me - love handcrafted glass paperweights. We received this press release from the American Glass Museum in WV. Plan to attend. hjh

The first session of an educational and networking collective of people interested in American-made paperweights, old and new, will be held March 31, 2012 at the Museum of American Glass in West Virginia (MAG) located at 230 Main Street in Weston. The American Paperweight Circle is not a club, for it will not collect dues or have officers. Rather it is a forum for paperweight enthusiasts to share educational information, learn from one another, learn about paperweight makers and offer opportunities to interact with and purchase weights from dealers and manufacturers. In short, the Museum seeks to promote collecting and appreciation of American-made paperweights. The event is free and open to the public.

Inspiration for the Circle was prompted by the October 2011 closing of the Degenhart Paperweight & Glass Museum in Cambridge, Ohio and the subsequent relocation of over 650 mid-western weights to MAG which already had several hundred. The combination of these collections now makes one that ranks with the Bergstrom, Corning and Wheaton museum collections for variety and quality of American paperweights. Five cases hold this amazing display of small art with dazzling color. The strength of the collection, for now, lies largely in the 20th Century Ohio Valley production from Ohio and West Virginia with examples from Indiana, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Texas and more.

This first time event, which has already stirred interest from New York to California, begins with sales and exhibits from 10 a.m. to noon, then affordable lunch on-site (reservations required), and programs and net-working in the afternoon. Set-up for sale or exhibit by makers or dealers is free, but tables must be reserved in advance. Call Sharon at the Museum noon to 4 p.m. any day except Wednesday or Sunday, 304-269-5006, for table or lunch reservations as well as lodging information or other questions.

The Museum of American Glass in West Virginia is open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day noon to 4:00pm. The balance of the year the museum is open daily noon to 4:00pm and closed on Wednesday and Sunday. Admission is free. It is easily accessible off I-79 exit 99 onto US 33 West for two miles to Main Avenue. A left turn onto Main and the museum is on the left at 230 Main Avenue. Begun in 1992, the museum relocated to its present location in 2007 and occupies 12,000 square feet with over 12,000 pieces of glass on permanent display. The museum is home to the National Marble Museum and The American Flint Glass Workers Union Archives. The museum holds an annual marble festival and numerous special exhibits throughout the year. More information can be found at http://magwv.com/. Questions about programs or the museum can be directed to 304-269-5006.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Waterford Sax - Seeking Blenko Musical Instrument

Recall some time ago you mentioned collecting Waterford stemware. I also recall you play Sax. Thus I am sending this Waterford Sax with a Blenko question. Did Blenko do a musician instrument? Does anyone have a ' lunch time' musician instrument? I collect hand blown musician instruments. If you have Blenko I'd like to purchase. I recently found a Fenton
trombone and a Fenton guitar. Sol

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blenko Project - Blenko Glass Co.

Can you tell me what glass is being offered in the warehouse sale? Also when is the warehouse sale? Stephen
Stephen. I cannot tell you when the sale is, or what glass will be offered. We wrote to Blenko on 2/1 to ask for sale dates. When we receive a response I'll publish. hjh
The items pictured are in the Visitor Center gift shop as of 2/13/2012. This photo was sent by a Blog reader. Items change daily - and these may not be available when you visit.
However - Blenko Visitor Center gift shop always has a nice supply of glass. For those of you who don't like 2nds there is a table marked 1st quality and another table of signed 1st quality glass.
Note: 2nds at Blenko are most often very nice, only those with an experienced eye will be able to know the glass is not perfect. Stephen, Thank you for buying Blenko, supporting WV Glass and for reading the Heart of Glass Blog. hjh

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

From the University of Pittsburgh Law Newsletter

Currently on counsel at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC as well as President of Blenko Glass Company since 2003, Mr. Blenko began his career with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Recently, Pitt Law sat down with Mr. Blenko and asked him to reflect upon his career.

Read the full article here: http://www.law.pitt.edu/alumnispotlight/blenko

Mr. Blenko had nothing to do with Blenko Glass Company until just a few years ago. Since taking the helm, changes to management and a strong workforce has put Blenko Glass on the right track. He contributes much of his success to both an engineering and law background. Engineering has helped him stay focused on the facts while law work has showed him how to understand people and their motivations. That is what law is about; being well rounded and ready to deal with anything.

Monday, February 20, 2012


The owners think the disc in this photo was designed during the Blenko tenure of Joel Myers. Do you have any knowledge of this item?

If so please share with the blog.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012


Q. Does Blenko make a sunshine yellow?

Photo taken 2/13/2012. Yes. Blenko currently makes a wonderful yellow.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fenton Site Being Consider for New School

Fenton Art Glass has been suggested as a possible site for a new Williamstown Elementary School.
George Fenton said he planned to serve on the shareholders committee for Williamstown Elementary School and was eager to hear feedback from the community on the best course of action. Even if the Fenton plant is identified as a likely site for the new school, that does not mean the end of Fenton Art Glass, he said, which continues to produce beads.
To read the full article visit NewsandSentinel

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Help for new blenko project website # 1

We are in need of photos of blenko glass for our new website. We will be posting specific requests for these periodically. Your cooperation will be much appreciated.

If you have pictures of blenko glass in following colors, please send them to TheBlenkoProject@aol.com
1- alpine
2- amber
3- amethyst
4- aqua



"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~~ Aristotle* borrowed this comment from a Blenko Collector. Don't ya think it fits Blenko! Where excellence is a way of life.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day from Heart of Glass
*Photo courtesy of Blenko Glass

Monday, February 13, 2012

Blenko Glass Warehouse Sale

When is the Blenko Glass warehouse sale? Dates, time open and close and also
if you can find out what items might be available?

I suggest you check out www.blenkoglass.com the website suggest the sale will start in March. HOWEVER with Blenko one should phone to ask. I sent an email 2/1 when your note arrived.
To date I have no additional info.
Blenko's phone number is 304 743 9081 Katie Trippe is the officer in charge Asst VP.
Good luck.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hillary - Did Blenko make a wine glass? If so tell me what the correct # is so I can order.
I can not find this on line. I also can not find the high ball glases.
(sp) I'd like a dozen of these with a ruby swirl. Would you please place this order. If the wine glasses are under $30 I will also take a dozen. Laura B.

I'm printing your note - not to embarrass you but because weekly my mail includes a dozen 'orders' for vintage Blenko.
I don't work at Blenko, for Blenko nor do I sell BLENKO!
To my knowledge the current line includes no wine glass, and the highball glasses are no longer listed on the web page http://www.blenkoglass.com/.
These items are often available on call, in vintage stores ( Purple Moon - Charleston, WVa - The Bronze Look Princeton, WV - So Charleston Antique Mall - Kiss Kate).
Also EBay can be a source of vintage Blenko.
Good Luck .

If you have knowledge of where to purchase the highball or the tableware mentioned - leave a message.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine's Day Gift - Dean Six WV Glass

Where can I find the Dean Six book you spoke of earlier? Checked Books A Million and it wasn't in their data base.
Help! Susan

I spent the weekend reading this book. It is a book I'll keep in my reference library. You'll want to own this book.
Purchase for the Blenko Glass collector in your life.
Perhaps as a Valentine's Day Gift?

People interested in getting a copy of Six's new book can contact the West Virginia Book Co. at 888-982-7472 or www.wvbookco.com.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Blenko Glass

Hillary, I've been trying to buy a pitcher with glasses to match. I don't see this in the Blenko on line store. Help! Carolee


If you live close enough to visit the factory - go in and ask for what you want, or perhaps phone. You may have to wait until your color is being made.

Blenko Glass is a small family owned factory.

The employees and the owners are consumer friendly. Blenko wants your business and they want you to be happy with the product.

If you don't see what you want


If they can't provide - then search the after market ( Ebay etc.) shops.

When you purchase 'new' glass you are supporting the Blenko Glass Factory and the workers. You are purchasing made in USA glass.

photo: Blenko Glass 1/22/12 Blenko Visitor Center Gift Shop.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Valentine's Day - Glass is the Perfect Gift

Blenko Glass http://www.blenkoglass.com/. Handcrafted glass - made in West Virginia. The perfect gift for Heart Day or any gift giving occassion. ( photo from Visitor Center gift shop 1/31/12)

These lovely vases and many others available for purchase from the Blenko Glass Gift Shop in Milton, W.Va.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

A Blenko Angel

Not all angels are created equally - - all Blenko Angels are lovely.

Les Womack retired Blenko Glass foreman returns three or four times yearly to create Angels and Snowmen.

The Angels are sold year round in the VC ( visitor center gift shop) in Milton.

Blenko Blenko Blenko Glass.

Vintage Angels are often found on Ebay and in your local vintage glass stores.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Jim McKelvey

This info from our good friend Tony Patti -
Don't you just love it when a good glassblower is recognized?

If you watched Sunday night's Super Bowl football game, hopefully you saw the Best Buy TV advertisement on "Mobile Innovators".

Because the commercial featured glassblower Jim McKelvey for his Square Mobile Pay.

You can watch the Best Buy TV advertisement online here: http://www.youtube.com/bestbuy

Jim McKelvey - created Square Mobile Pay

Jim McKelvey is co-founder of Square, a mobile payment platform. A renowned glass blower, he was trying to sell one of his pieces over the phone to a woman in Panama, and lost his sale because he could not accept American Express. He founded Square in 2009 as a way to prevent small business from not being able to accept certain payment cards.

Square was the first mobile payment system for smartphones.
The miniature, square shaped, thumb-sized slot plugs into any Android or iPhone/iPad device and allows users to securely swipe credit cards and process instant payment. Instead of charging up to 5 percent of the gross sale like most machines, Square charges a fixed 2.75 percent. McKelvey built the prototype card-readers as Dorsey worked
on the software. By the end of 2009, Square had over 100,000 customers, today it has over a million.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Valentine's Day - BLENKO GLASS

Blenko Glass www.blenkoglass.com located in Milton, WV

has a number of jewelry items - made using Blenko and WV Glass.

Items are made by local artist.

Prices are very reasonable.

Quality is excellent.

Blenko Glass always Made IN USA.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Blenko. Blenko. In the Blenko of An Eye

This bowl has been made for decades by Blenko Glass. Depending on age and color , the price will range from $24 to $52.

Currently available in the VC ( visitor center gift shop) located in Milton, W.Va.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Valentine's Day - THINK BLENKO GLASS

Only two weeks until V-Day. This year think BLENKO GLASS http://www.blenkoglass.com/. Purchase one of the items made in Pink, Ruby or a combination of 'heart colors', or perhaps a water bottle ( 15 colors available in the gift shop) in her favorite color. In our home, we purchase Blenko containers - take them to the Florist to be filled with flowers for special friends.
Some florist carry Blenko Glass. In Charleston, W.Va. the CHARLESTON CUT FLORIST has Blenko Glass available. Ask your local florist- if they don't have - perhaps suggest they start carrying Blenko. HJH

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Antique Glass listed in top 10 Collectibles Searches for 2011

Kovels Top 10 Antiques & Collectibles Searches for 2011
Cookie jars
Royal Bayreuth
Antique furniture
Antique pottery and porcelain
Antique bottles
Occupied Japan
Royal Doulton
Antique glass
Antique jewelry

Antique Glass was number nine this year, and has never been listed before.

"Does that mean new interest in glass, old and new? I can't guess, but the modern designers are getting bids at the auctions,"said Kovel. Big, colorful and "statement" pieces do well. Blenko glass, Italian glass, if big, bring high prices," she said, noting that, "Decorators like huge".

To read the full artice (and see the rest of the Top 10) visit Marketplaces Identify Top Trends for Antiques and Collectibles