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, May 30, 2012

Blenko Glass In The Garden

Readers often ask if its OK to use Blenko in the outdoors.  Blenko Glass does not recommend  using Blenko outdoors.  However,  my parents have used Blenko Glass for bird feeders, bird baths, stepping stones,  flower pots etc for more than 30 years.   Until last year the total  loss due to ice was 2 ( both in the 82 snow storm),  6 pieces due to deer and dogs, and 10 pieces taken by a person with large purse during a Garden Tour. 
If purchasing Blenko made after 2005 - feel the glass - if its  not heavy,  then you will need to bring the glass inside for winter.  Last year I purchased two  of the $25 bowls ( heavy in dark green)  from the Gift Shop  both are on top of a 10 foot pole that contains bird house and bird feeder.  They are used by the Finches as a bird bath.   Both made it through this winter and I would expect they will last my life time.  Blenko Glass is handcrafted,  quality construction.  It is factory glass and was made to be used. 
Use your Blenko!  Use your Waterford Crystal , your silver.  Who is more important the people you eat and drink with daily - your family - your family of origin or the family you've made.  Value your friendships,  value yourself by surrounding yourself with hand crafted items. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blenko Glass

When you are shopping for the 2012  WV Birthday Vase  BLENKO GLASS.
Please take time after you've  put your Birthday Vase in car to shop.   This year and most years,  Blenko Glass employees have delightful and unusual items for sale.  In addition to the bowls, glasses, vases, pitchers,  etc that are an everyday part of the Blenko Glass Gift Shop.
Also take time to visit the Blenko Museum located on the 2nd floor of the Gift Shop.  Remember on this day  a Blenko Glass family member will be available to sign all your purchases.  Think ahead - buy gifts for upcoming weddings,  births,  birthdays ,  retirements.  As always engraving is available.   BUY MADE IN USA  -  BUY MADE IN WEST VIRGINIA when possible.
Photo of  art glass made by local artist.   Blenko often has a small supply of ear rings and necklaces all made by local artist.   Gift giving time -  always shop Blenko first !   hjh

Monday, May 28, 2012

Readers can we help this Blog friend ID her glass?  

I am trying to find the # of this Blenko vase.  I have looked in all my catalogs and found similar designs, but, none exactly like this one.  It is 16" tall.  I think the color is orchid.  Can you give me any info.  Thanks!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Can you ID This Glass?

Readers:  Can we help Carrie identify her Blenko? - HJH


Sorry for the long delay. I have attached two photos. I have a green Blenko Vase and I have a blue combination of vase and wine carafe in a glass that has invisible cracks and bubbles that are part of the design (hard to photograph).

All pieces were purchased by my parents, not sure when...they have had for at least 20 years.

Will you let me know, when you post to the blog, will people be interested in buying, can I get estimates on their value?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

John Steinert and the Glass Art Society

Readers:  We often speak of the GAS ( Glass Art Society)  if you can afford the membership - join.  If not try to attend the conference or at least
the art demo and auction. hjh

I recommend the Glass Art Society (GAS) http://www.glassart.org/ in part because it is a great way to meet both other glass artists and vendors.

I have had the pleasure not only of purchasing glassblowing tools (both standard tools and molds, and two customized tools)
from John Steinert of Steinert Industries at http://www.steinertindustries.com/ but especially enjoyed meeting John at the GAS Conferences.

It is with that as background that I refer to the excellent write-up about John Steinert from The GAS News, and his Honorary Lifetime Member award.

John Steinert: Honorary Lifetime Member

By Chris Clarke

The name Steinert has become synonymous with quality glass tools and equipment.
Venture into almost any glass studio, private or professional, and you can find
his name. This year’s Honorary Lifetime Membership Award recipient began his
relationship with the glass community in 1977 when he attended his first GAS
conference. By 1978, John Steinert had a booth at the conference Tech Display;
he has been a staple at the conference since that time. His contributions to the
glass community go beyond his tools to the philanthropy he has extended to glass
schools around the country.

Steinert began a machinist apprenticeship shortly after high school and soon
found himself working for the Franklin Machine Company in Kent, Ohio. His
foray into glass tools began when his neighbor, Henry Halem, approached him
around 1976 about making tools for Kent State University. Halem asked Steinert
if he would be able to repair some old pipes the school had. The pipes used by
glassblowers at that time were crude at best, poor quality steel that often flaked
into the glass or bent easily. Could Steinert fabricate a similar product for the school
that would hold up a little longer, Halem wondered. Steinert was given the freedom
at the machine shop to work after hours on his own projects, and he soon set out
to make the blowpipe for Halem. After a few attempts and failures, the technical
issues were resolved and the result was a stainless steel blowpipe with a hardened
tool-steel head that would outlast and outperform anything that was available to
artists at the time.

When Steinert attended his first GAS conference in 1977, he met such artists
as Fritz Driesbach and Dominick Labino. He used their input and the input of many
other artists to develop his line of pipes and punties. The next year, he attended
the GAS conference in Asilomar, California, as a vendor in the Tech Display area;
he not only sold out everything he had brought, he ended up taking many custom
orders. Artists were hungry for quality, affordable tools.

Working 40 hours a week as a machinist for Franklin Machine Company
during the day, Steinert now began working 40 hours a week in the evenings and
weekends on his pipes and punties. Soon, the demand for his tools led him to leave
his day job and form the company we all know today as Steinert Industries.

Officially founded in 1979, Steinert Industries began making pipes, punties,
hand tools, and machines for the studio glass artist. Soon after, its founder developed
a line of metal blow molds that further advanced the decorative techniques
for glassblowers of the time. Simultaneously, he also began to make grinding and
polishing machines for coldworking glass. These machines are responsible for vastly
improving the quality of coldworking in the early Studio Glass Movement.

John Steinert has been a longtime supporter of the Glass Art Society as well
as a number of educational programs across the country. He has supported
these programs with both financial donations as well as donations of tools
and equipment. His generosity to the glass community continues to be exemplified by
his willingness to help artists by providing technical information and developing new
tools to advance glass as an art form.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Can you identify the following?  Blenko?  Who made?  etc.


I am trying to find anyone who could shed some light on the indentity of these two freeform pieces. I have tried the Blenko Museum and Blenko Archives and they dont identify anything. Please Help! The blue/crystal one came from my parents and they aquired it sometime between the late 1950's - early 1960s.  The second one I just acquired.  Blue/crystal one measures 12-1/2"L x 6"W x 1-7/8"H. Amethyst one measures 13-1/4"L x 6-3/8"W x 2-7/8"H (at the highest point) and has Blenko foil label. Wondering if you can give me any info on these (when they were made, who designed them, and possible worth) as I don't see them in any catalogs. Have more pix if you need them. Thanks for anything you know about them!   Kim

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blenko Glass . WV Birthday 2006

2006 WV Birthday Vase.  (photo Tammy Kosla). 
Photo  2005  WV Birthday Vase. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blenko Glass. WV Birthday Vase 2005

Not certain why - but I have not seen the 2005 on the after market.  Therefore I can't give you an estimate of cost.  Most Birthday Vases after 2000 sell for between 50 & 100% above original cost.  This was an 'in house Blenko design'.  hjh

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blenko WV Birthday Vase 2003

Seeking Former Blenko Employees

The Blenko Project website will host a section devoted to Blenko Glass employees.
If you are a current or former employee and would like to be added please send info
to theblenkoproject@aol.com .  
If you wish to nominate a Blenko Glass employee for inclusion  please send the information
and your contact info to theblenkoproject@aol.com.
   We are including today the employees who sat for an oral / or video taping.  It is our desire to include all former employees.  Most especially the mold makers,  glass finishers,  and those
who were part of a Blenko team.
    Questions?  Email theblenkoproject@aol.com

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wonderful photos from our Texas friend Bruce

This the first of the photos that I have been holding back. A nice grouping of Husted miniatures that I have collected over the past few months. Several are mis-lists and several are just pieces that I happened upon in our travels. Funny how I tend to find things in the same color for a while. This time it is Sea Green.
From left to right is a CM-3, CM-3, 60-D, CM-4and last a CM-2. All are Husted designs.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Glass Fest 2012

The 3rd Annual GlassFest is a four-day celebration of glass and the fire arts in the Crystal City. The event kicks off with 2300°: GlassFest at the Museum, featuring live music and hot glassmaking demos.

 Stay for the weekend to experience more live glassmaking with artist demos, Hot Glass Shows, and a FlameOff competition.
 Enjoy live entertainment, an 8K running race, shopping and dining (including wine and beer tastings), an outdoor exhibition of illuminated sculpture at night, family activities, and even fireworks!
For more GlassFest info, visit www.glassfest.org or call 607.937.6292.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Older WV Birthday Vases Available.

West Virginia Birthday Pieces for Sale,

A Blenko Birthday Collector wrote to say she has duplicates of the following -  this glass is available for under $400 @ plus shipping.
Interested send your contact info.

From left to right:

2004 number 104

1999 number 100

2006 number 16

2000 number 66

1997 number 104

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Blenko Stickers

New to collecting, I buy only 60-90s Blenko and Viking Glass.
Can you tell me what a Blenko sticker should look like?  My glass has a small white price tag that says Blenko.  Is this what you mean?
Blenko has used many stickers,  go to the Blenko Collectors Four website for a list and photos of the stickers used by Blenko.  
Having or not having a sticker does not determine Blenko.  Read the on line article by Damon C. 
about how to spot fakes.  Blenko Archives and Blenko Museum and Blenko Collectors Four and Blenko Project all have information devoted to the new collector.
Good Luck.
Photo of :  Blenko silver sticker and Blenko Block most common stickers on vintage glass.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Seeking WV Birthday Vases Blenko - Wanted!

   Two of my dear blog friends will have complete WV Birthday / Blenko  Vase collection - - if and when - - they acquire
#1,  #2,  #4,  and # 7. 
   Please if you have access to these vases.  Consider selling them to someone who will value the entire collection.
   Email  theblenkoproject@aol.com  with photos and your contact info.
   To view photos of the WV Birthday Blenko Vases  go to the Blenko Project web pages  http://www.blenkoproject.org/  click on
WV Birthday / Blenko.
   Thank you.

Blenko Paperweights

Recently a young reader ask if Blenko made paper weights.   The first two photos crystal heart and star are currently in the Blenko Glass catalog for under $20.   At one time Blenko made unique complex paperweights ( see photo #3).  On occasion a more complex paperweight made by one or two of the Blenko workers can be found in the Gift Shop.  This type is not available on line or in the catalog.  hjh  This is correct to the best of my knowledge-  if you have  other information.  Please comment here.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Blenko Brithday Piece Update

Katie Trippe of Blenko Glass Co.  passed along the following info:
WV Birthday Blenko Vase will be sold June 23rd Sat at the Visitors Center.
Arlon Bayliss has been retained again this year to design the WV Piece. 
Katie promised to send photos when they are available.

Blenko Glass Punch Bowl and Cups

Another photo of an item I'm bidding on.  I want this for my Mom, can you let me know if its Blenko.
I can not.  I don't own the Blenko Punch Bowl.  Bruce S in Texas has a great example, we published a photo of his set last year,  Don Lemley has a crystal punch bowl, and a collector from New Jersey.  These are my only exposures to the Blenko Punch Bowl set.  We'll publish your photo and ask collectors for comments.  The photo is beautiful.  I'd be bidding on this if I were in need of a punch bowl.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Blenko WV Birthday Vase 1999

This is one of my favorite WV BD by Blenko vases.  It's simple,  not too large, and it has the
wonderful gold and blue ( State of WVa Colors). To learn more about the Blenko Glass WV Birthday Vases click on the Blenko Project link.  hjh

Friday, May 04, 2012

Blenko Pineapple?

I'm a almost new collector - 2 years now.  My goal is to have one piece of every Blenko fruit and veggie.
Just saw this on Ebay and I want to purchase.
It doesn't look like the one photo of a pineapple I saw 2 years ago-  can you tell me if this is Blenko
and if not Blenko who made?
Thank you
If its WV made I'll buy anyway.  I'm also sending a photo of a punch bowl (blenko)  I want to purchase for Mother's Day.
We'll post your photo and ask the readers to help.  To be honest,  I do not own the pineapple.  My parents have an extensive collection of fruits and veggie and they don't own the pineapple or the watermelon.  The two items are 'hard to find'.  We'll post your photo - you must return to look for comments.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Tracking a Monte Dunlavy glass piece

From a reader:
Can you tell me if Dunlavy pieces I own are Blenko?
Thank you 

Blog readers - can you help her?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

New Book “Harvey K. Littleton: A Life in Glass”

Readers  You'll want to immediately purchase this book.  We met Harvey Littleton at a Gas Arts Society meeting - you'll recall from a blog post
Harvey worked in West Virginia during Joel Myers's ART IN THE FACTORY program.  Harvey Littleton was one of the distinguished glass artist
who spend time with factory workers.  HJH

This book starts with the first glassblowing class ever to be taught at a university in the United States,
and is the biography of Harvey K. Littleton and thereby the American Studio Glass Movement, which he is credited as founding, 50 years ago.

The book is currently available on Amazon


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Blenko Glass. 1998 WV Birthday Vase

http://www.blenkoglass.org/    The 1998  WV Birthday Vase made by Blenko Glass is difficult to find.
We have a list of 6 people searching so if you own an extra -  we can provide you a collector who
is searching for this vase.   This vase is small,  easy to display and looks very good on display with foilage.
Blenko Collectors often help other Blenko collectors complete a series of glass collecting.
  If you have not started a Blenko Glass Birthday Collection let me suggest you start with the Bayliss Series of Blenko Birthday Vases ( we'll be posting these photos soon).