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, March 28, 2012

WV Birthday #9

This very large bowl ( too wide for the average china cabinet) is another difficult to find WV Birthday piece.

We often use this bowl as a center piece - it compliments both ivory and Vera Wang white bone china.

A very beautiful ( not the usual cobalt, crystal or gold) bowl. hjh

If you own this one - and want to sell I have a list of 6 people searching for the #9.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blenko Glass . WV Birthday Collection # 8

Another difficult to find - West Virginia Blenko Glass Birthday # 8. The handle on this one often breaks. This Vase ( called the bonnet) is a favorite among the ladies who collect Blenko WV Birthday Vases. We have a list of ten people looking for this one, if you want to sell please contact theblenkoproject@aol.com .

Monday, March 26, 2012

WV Birthday Vase # 7 - 1986

This Vase is perfect for floral arrangements. At the home of my parents this vase is used June - August as a depository for the flowers from my Dad's perennial garden.

Never in the history of Blenko has a Vase been designed to display floral arrangements better than the 1986 WV Birthday Vase to display floral arrangements.

Our good friend Danny is a Rosarian and often uses this vase to display his prize winning roses.

This one is difficult to find, as it was utiliarian and used frequently. hjh

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blenko . West Virginia Birthday Vase # 6

This one is often called " the shell" by Blenko Birthday Collectors.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blenko Glass. WVa Birthday Celebraton Vase (5)

Another difficult to find - this one is apricot in color - most all WV Birthday Vases are Blue / Gold/ Crystal or a combination. This totally awesome bowl is a perfect center piece for Wedgewood Runneymeade tablware

This is #5 in the series. The first of this series were designed by D. Shepherd ( google Blenko Designers or check out http://www.blenkoproject.org/ click on Blenko designers).

Photo of #5 West Virginia Birthday Vase.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Blenko Warehouse Sale - Fnal Weekend

Blog readers from Ohio, Delaware, W.Va., Conn., Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, have been to the warehouse sale, everyone is saying this is the best of the Blenko Glass Sales.

If you have not been may I encourage you to load up the station wagon and drive down to Milton, WVa. Water bottles for under $20 - Bravo line at buy one get one, many Hank Adams designs, many items for the 2011 catalog, lots of architectural vases.

Prices have never been lower.

My parents drove up on Friday afternoon in less than 3 hours they spent $1,000 at the warehouse and gift shop. The car was loaded with boxes of glass.

My Mother said Randy Rider - Foreman and senior glass finisher was on hand to answer questions about the glass.

We always gift BLENKO for weddings, promotions, graduation, birthdays, major holidays. Stock up during this sale for upcoming events.

I will post photos of the available glass, and also Sue, Mary and Mickey ( Blenko Glass )warehouse / shipping assistants later this week.

#4 Blenko Glass WVa Birthday Vase

#4 in the series entitled: West Virginia Birthday Vase / Blenko.

This one is considered by many to be one that is most representative of the WV rivers and mountains.

The cost when purchased was less than $50. It was sold only at the Diamond Department Store in Charleston, W.Va.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

# 3 WVa Blenko Glass Birthday Series 1982

This beautiful glass is number three in the 1980's WVa Blenko Glass series produced and sold to honor WVa 's Statehood.

This vase was sold in the Diamond Department Store - store opened at 10 am, collectors were standing in line before 5 am to purchase. If you arrived after 8am chances you obtained a vase were not good.

This vase cost less than $50 when purchased. Today is valued at $500 to $ 1,100.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

#2 WVa Birthday Vase / Blenko Glass 1981

Shown here is the #2 in the Blenko Glass WVa Birthday Vase series.

This vase was made by Don Sheperd . The first five vases in this series are the most difficult to find on the after market.
When new this vase cost less than $50. Currently if you can find one the price will be
between $650 and $1,000.
If you have an early WVa Birthday Vase you want to sell, email theblenkoproject@aol.com with photo and price you want to receive. We have a long list of collectors needing 4 or 5 pieces to complete their collection of WVa Birthday Vases.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

West Virginia Birthday Vase


Can you tell me about the Blenko Birthday Vases? Why people collect, how much I should pay, and are they 'for real' a limited edition? When are they sold? How many are there? Where are they sold?



Thank you for writing. Below you'll find a brief history of this series (http://www.blenkoproject.org/). My family has collected these since 1982 - My Dad later acquired, with the assistance of T. Kosla the Blenko Society President, the first two from a former Diamond employee. Yearly, he and two hundred other hopefuls stand in line at Blenko Glass in Milton, WV on or near June 20th ( the birth date of West Virginia). This blog and the Blenko Glass website, and the newspapers announce the date and time.

Yearly Blenko Glass produces a unique and special vase for the occassion. In the last 5 years Arlon Bayliss ( http://www.arlonbayliss/. com has designed the WV Birthday vase. Many feel the last five are the most beautiful. If you are starting a new collection - my suggestion would be to start searching for the last five. You don't need to have the entire collection to be a Blenko - WV Birthday Collector.

Overview - Blenko - WV Birthday Vase

In the late 1970's Blenko Glass had three shifts of glass shops working. Business was good.

The West Virginia Birthday series began with a conversation in a shared taxi ride to the airport.

The Diamond Department Store's buyer approached Mr. Bill Blenko with the idea of

Blenko making a vase each year to honor the State of West Virginia's birthday. The vase would be sold exclusively at the Diamond on W.Va. 's Birthday ( a State Gov't holiday). The vase would be limited in number ( one for each year of Statehood) and signed by the artist and the

President of Blenko Glass.

Mr. Bill Blenko told us he returned to Milton spoke with the part time Blenko Glass designer Don Shepherd three Proto-types were developed. The Diamond and Mr. Bill Blenko decided on a crystal bowl - a bowl that is said to be perfectly suited to hold fruit or flowers and set in the center of a side or dining table.

These vases sold out before noon. It was the beginning of a series, the longest series for Blenko Glass and one of the longest series of any American Glass manufacturer.

Blenko worked hard over the years to keep the price down. The first vase was sold for less than $50 ( current value is between $800 and $1,500). Today the first five are the most difficult WV Birthday vases to find on the after market.

Shown in this photo is the #1 of the first year of Blenko Glass W.Va. Birthday Vase series.


Monday, March 19, 2012

History of the Blenko WV Birthday Vases

West Virginia was the 35th State in the Union and was established June 20, 1863. In West Virginia this date (June 20) is a state holiday.
In 1980 William H. Blenko, a marketing genius, entered into an agreement with the Diamond Department Store to produce a signed and numbered vase for June's celebration of statehood. The number raises each year to equal the age of the state. In 1980 only 117 pieces were produced. All pieces are signed and numbered.
Each year the Birthday vases are sold out within 3 hours of the store opening. The Birthday Vases are highly sought after. My Blenko Project advisers say this will become the most highly collectible Blenko Series as it is produced yearly, by different designers, and in very limited numbers. It is the longest running annual signed/numbered item that Blenko produces.
The Series had a very humble beginning - While sharing a NY Taxi a Diamond executive asked Mr. Blenko about the possibility of producing a 'special' bowl that could be used on the table, for fruit or flowers, and that was very versatile for the homemaker. The bowl would be signed and a limited number. Mr. Blenko knew the cost of making a design and mold for such a limited series would be expensive and thus not profitable for Blenko, he entered into the contract and asked Don Shepherd, Blenko Designer, to design the piece.
Mr. William Blenko or Mr. Richard Blenko yearly came to the Diamond, and later Stone and Thomas, Department Stores to sign each piece of glass and meet and greet the ladies who bought his Birthday Vases and many other Blenko pieces for their homes.
The Birthday Vase grew in popularity and by 1987 the lines to purchase them were outside the Diamond Department Store doors before 7am. This tradition continued. In 2005 the Birthday Vase was sold at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston, WV. The Birthday collectors began to arrive shortly after midnight the night before, and by 11am (an hour after the store opened) the Birthday vases were sold out. Later the sale would be moved to the Milton WVa. Blenko Visitors Center / Gift Shop .
It is the perfect union - West Virginia's Birthday Celebration, a West Virginia Business, and West Virginia Hand Crafted Glass. Bill Blenko, while always trying to be supportive of his home state, started a very successful yearly tradition for many families. He succeeded in his goal of producing an annual piece to celebrate the Birthday of our state. My own family has collected this particular piece for over 20 years, each year they see friends they know only from Blenko Vase collecting.
The Blenko Project has knowledge of six complete sets of birthday pieces. WVU Foundation, Mrs. John (Eppie) Boles of South Charleston, Mrs. Ken Ellis of Campbells Creek and her daughter Renita Williams have complete West Virginia birthday sets. John Homburg was the only member of the Blenko Collectors Society to have the entire collection. West Virginia birthday collectors are an eclectic group. Many are obsessed with only birthday pieces, while others collect all things Blenko. They are also savvy collectors who realize that this collection is one of the most unique in the country. Perhaps, they like the art advisers to the Blenko Project realize the WV birthday series becomes more valuable with longevity.
The future of the WV Birthday vases, like that of the Blenko Glass Co, is bright and increasing in value as the country once again embraces the idea of purchasing the finest handcrafted glass products. West Virginia handcrafted glass is superior in design and color. This quality is one of the many reason Blenko Glass Co remains a viable business and a state treasure. The 2012 Birthday vase will be available for purchase in June 2012 ( check this blog and the Blenko Glass website or exact date).
A very conservative estimate of value for the entire collection of is between $19,000 - $26,000. Reported prices per piece vary from $2,000 to $375 depending upon age and condition. The first ten pieces are the most sought after. The 1980 - 1981 pieces cost between $900 and $2,000. These pieces are very limited. In 1980 only 117 were produced.
My suggestion to 'new collectors' is to start with the Bayliss Team designs. Arlon Bayliss is the current part time Blenko Glass designer. Search EBay, and your local antique malls for Blenko Birthday Vases. (www.blenkoproject.org for photos)

Note: This is accurate to the best of my knowledge if you have information to add or corrections please be so kind as to mail
theblenkoproject@aol.com we want to provide accurate information to collectors of Blenko and WV Glass.
*** Tomorrow we will start publishing photos of the entire Blenko WV Birthday Vase Collection from 1980 - 2011.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Blenko - WV Birthday Vase #1


New collectors here. We my wife and I bought the guitar and want to complete the collection of Birthday vases. Can you post a photo of the vases so I'll know em when I see em?


Alan, Check out http://www.theblenkoproject.org/ to view the Blenko Birthday vases. We provided Christy at Blenko with photos of al the Birthday vases in 2009 - and Blenko has graciously provided photo copies to visitors each year during the June - Blenko WV Birthday Vase celebration.

The most difficult to find are #1-#5, above is a photo of WV Birthday Vase #1 signed by WH Blenko and the designer.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Blenko on PBS!!!

Blenko Glass has once again partnered with Iowa Public Television (IPTV) and will be offering a brand new glass package during the pledge drives on Monday, March 5 at 6:30pm. Along with this, there will be other shows on WETA, a PBS station based in Arlington, Virginia, on:

March 14 5pm - 6pm

March 17 Noon - 1pm

March 20 5pm - 6pm

March 22 8pm - 9pm

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Estate Auction with Blenko

Readers: Our blog friends from Mountaineer Auctions in Clendenin, W.Va. sent a notice that they will have anitque, WV Glass and some BLenko items in this sale.

If you know of estate sales, auctions etc with vintage Blenko send the info to theblenkoproject@aol.com and we'll post on the blog for our Blenko Society.

Many new collectors report they don't have access to vintage glass dealers. hjh

2-Day Estate Auction
Friday Evening March 16th @ 6:00pm Saturday March 17th @ 10:00am
Mountaineer Auction Gallery Clendenin, WV


Estate Auction featuring personal property from The Estate of Mary Fane Glotfelty, Charleston, WV & items from a southern Jackson Co. living estate featuring excellent quality coins, antique furniture, collectibles, glass, china & more…

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Online Exlusive

March 12

Monday, 12 noon Eastern time, 9am Pacific time

Blenko will be offering 2 of our new Limited Edition ''Morning Glory'' pieces, including the 7'' tall Compote Bowl and 13'' tall Pulpit Vase seen below. Each piece is limited to 30 numbered pieces and will go on sale on Monday, March 12 at 12 noon Eastern time, 9am Pacific time and are only available online at shop.blenko.com.
Limit 2 per style per person. No phone orders will be accepted. Shipping charges will be calculated at the time of shipment. All orders will be shipped by a date no later than March 31, 2012. No special number requests will be taken, numbers will be assigned as orders are received.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blenko Warehouse Sale

Warehouse Sale

March 10 - 24, 2012

Saturday 9am - 4pm

Monday - Friday 9am - 3pm

Closed Sunday

Cash, check, and all major credit cards are accepted and parking will be available at the warehouse and in front of the factory. Come in early for the best selection. Inventory over-runs discounted 30% - 70% off while quantities last. Limited availability on specialty colors and designs. Prices as marked. No additional discounts or coupons.
Info from Email / Christy (Blenko).

Friday, March 09, 2012

Signing Event!!!

Andy Blenko will be attending the Blenko Open House & Inventory Clearance Event on Saturday, March 10 for a special signing event.

Signing event times:

8:30am - 10:30am and 12:30pm - 2:30pm

Email note Chirsty from Blenko ..

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Open House Event Blenko Glass

Blenko Open House

March 10 - 24, 2012

Saturday, March 10 8am - 4pm *Special hours*

Saturday, March 17 & 24 9am - 4pm

Sunday Noon - 4pm

Monday - Friday 8am - 4pm

Along with the Annual Warehouse Sale, an Open House & Inventory Clearance Event will also be held at the Visitor Center Store.

On Saturday, March 10 two new Limited Edition ''Water Lily'' pieces; the 7'' tall Compote Bowl and the 13'' tall Pulpit Vase seen below, will go on sale. Each piece is limited to 40 numbered pieces per style. Limited 2 per style per person

Shades of mint green and blue highlight the unique features of these two beautiful pieces.

Compote Vase/$42.00 Pulpit Vase/$48.00 Note: This and other information regarding warehouse sale was received today - Thank you to Christy at Blenko.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Glassblower Job

Hot Sand, a glass studio on the New Jersey Shore, is looking for an experienced glassblower for production, and to work with groups and the public. Part-time to start.

Please forward your resume and JPEG photos of your work to hotsandstudio@gmail.com.

No phone calls, please.

Monday, March 05, 2012

St. Patrick's Day - Think Blenko!

At the Blenko Glass visitors center you'll find shelves filled with beautiful Blenko Glass ( http://www.blenkoglass.com/) . This time of year the GREEN GLASS is most popular. Blenko has many shades of green, a dozen or more different items in GREEN all designed to help you with your table scape.

Nothing is more beautiful or says Happy St. Patty's Day like a green water bottle filled with flowers, or a green top hat with fruit.

Every day - every occasion think B L E N K O G L A S S!

photo: A Blenko Glass inspired card made by Diane Weber ( Calif.) and sold on line and in the Blenko Glass visitor center.

Friday, March 02, 2012

International Master Gardener Conference - 2012 Blenko Glass Tour

"Sometimes it our turn To Be the Strangers That Others Rely On"
W. I'm passing along your comments via the blog. I would also suggest you write to Blenko Glass - if you'll email theblenkoproject@aol.com, I'll provide you with address for administration. Customer satisfaction is important to Blenko Glass. hjh
My one and only trip to Blenko was as an International Master Gardener last year.
We enjoyed our stay in WVa. The visit to Blenko was on a very old bus, without air conditioning. Our host had no microphone or method to amplify their voices. We were
given a packet of information on Blenko and a card about your Blenko Project and this
Our tour guide ( one person for 35 ladies) also didn't have any method of amplifying his voice. The tour was us standing in the observation deck and him speaking. No much of a tour.
He was good to answer our questions. Blenko needs to purchase some method to amplify his voice. Also perhaps consider opening the factory when a group from many other states visits the factory. Standing in observation deck is not a tour. Selfguided or otherwise.
Now the VC , we shopped using the coupons for $5 off. Problem was, only one cashier and 35 ladies with purchases. Blenko Admin. knew we were coming and had the dates six or months in advance. I know this as I asked the tour guide, and the Blenko employees. Not good planning.
Perhaps you should suggest they move people to VC cash register when large groups are visiting. Office or Shipping people? Surely someone could be spared for an hour.
Since our visit, I have become a E Bay regular to purchase Blenko. I'm trying for a collection of pitchers. Thus far I have 24 completely different pitchers made by Blenko.
You have my permission to publish this email. I hope you will not use my full address. I do think perhaps only two Canadians attended the conference.
I would recommend visiting West Virginia to all with whom I have contact. The people were the best, the State Capitol one of the most magnificent. We were also allowed to visit the Gov. Mansion. Offered cookies and tea.
Great State. Please pass along my suggestions. They should be taken not as criticism but as the voice of an outsider who now also wants Blenko to have a future.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Blenko Glass

This photo was taken in the Blenko Glass Visitor Center on 2/14/2012. Available in the Milton Glass Company's Visitor Center you'll find a dozen or more tables filled with beautiful colorful, handblown glass. A table of signed glass is available for those who want 1st. Most items at the Gift Shop are not perfect ( to our eyes they may be) in color or shape. Often times you'll find artist proof, or glass made by team members for management to view and for possible inclusion in the Blenko line. The VC ( visitors center) is an outlet for Blenko Glass. You'll want to visit. Phone 304 743 9081 for hours.

"Never suffer a thought to be harbored in your mind which you would no avow openly."

Thomas Jefferson wrote this to his grandson.

Being anonymous when you comment - should not allow you to make a statement to which you would not openly sign your name. Blenko Glass and all glass collectors belong to a loosely knit family. " Be helpful, or be silent. " This statement from my Grandma Fran