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, October 31, 2012

Blenko Glass. Blenko Glass Blog.

Recently we published a letter from an engineer interested in a 2nd career in glass.  
Our Blog friend
T. Patti sent this article.

I don’t see many articles that start with a photo of a glass lathe, so I thought others might find this article interesting also.

 As the official glassblower of the chemistry department at UBC, Brian Ditchburn probably has one of the most unique jobs on campus.
“I do a lot of repairs, custom fabrication of scientific apparatus, one-offs. Things that chemists dream up in their research, I help them build,” said Ditchburn. “Glass is just fantastic.”
Glass, he said, is chemically inert and heat-resistant, which makes it very useful for chemistry because it will not impact the outcome of experiments.
Ditchburn got involved with glassblowing at a very early age; he started an apprenticeship with his father at the age of 13.
“That’s generally how most glassblowers get into the trade,” he said. “They’re taught by their family.”
His father taught him how to work with neon, and later taught him scientific glassblowing, which is what Ditchburn does now. Ditchburn then went to New Jersey for two years to get his glassblowing degree. After five years of working at a scientific glass shop in Detroit, he came to UBC. This November marks the 14th year of his glassblowing career at the university.
“[With neon], there’s only seven or eight basic bends, so you tend to do the same thing over and over again,” he said. “That was another fun part of the job, but moving on to scientific is probably the best thing I ever did.”
He didn’t always plan on becoming a glassblower, though. “I actually thought I was going to join the army,” he said. “I ended up joining the reserves for a long period of time, but glassblowing dragged me back.”
Since then, it’s never been a question for him, and every day brings new surprises. “Glassblowing is something you learn every day; there’s always something new to learn. Sometimes you have to relearn things as new materials come in, or new objects need to be created,” Ditchburn explained.
Ditchburn was quick to note the important distinction between scientific and artistic glassblowing.
“I don’t classify myself as an artist, because artists create things out of their own mind and they make [them],” he said. “What I do is, from a drawing I manufacture. It’s more like a craft than an art…. It’s technical, it’s challenging, there’s always something new coming over the horizon that you get to try to manufacture.”
Ditchburn’s involvement in glassblowing doesn’t stop at his job, either. Once a year, he makes glass icicles for a charity project run by UBC’s Graduate Student Society. He gives glassblowing demonstrations at high schools and during Science Week at UBC. Ditchburn is also an active member of the American Scientific Glassblowers Society (ASGS), which hosts yearly symposiums to demonstrate and discuss the newest advancements in glassblowing.
“All glassblowers tend to know each other,” he said. “We’re such a small group that [we're] very tight-knit.”
Ditchburn’s wishes for his career are simple: “Just to grow as a glassblower,” he said. “To enjoy what I do, which is not hard, to tell you the truth.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dear Readers.

Many of you have requested larger pictures on the blenko project website. It is difficult to post large size pictures mainly because it slows the website down. Also, there is always a danger of people printing them and using for commercial purposes. If you want larger pictures, we can send you individual pages without watermarks, or give you link of high resolution images with watermarks on them. However, using those links posits your implied consent that you will not print them and sell them or use them in any form for commercial purposes. The catalogs are supposed to be used only for glass identification.


Blenko Glass. Blenko Glass Blog Vintage Blenko . Is this Blenko?

Is this Blenko?
A Texas Collector  who shares my love of vintage TV sent this.   
What you are looking at is a snap of 1960's TV series 'mission impossible'. Is that Blenko on the back?
Readers - what do you think?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Blenko Glass. Blenko Blog. We Need Your Glass Photos. 365 Days of Blenko Glass Photos

www.blenkoglass.com,  and www.blenkoproject.org   Please visit and learn more about Blenko Glass.
Blenko is located in Milton, WV.  Blenko daily produces hand crafted glass tableware.

      We will be doing  365 Days of BLENKO Glass Photos.   Please send your photo (s)
with any description or if there is a story about the acquisition include this.   Let us know if you
want your name &/and location included.
        We are interested in collections and individual pieces.   We welcome multiple photos.
The 365 days of Blenko will begin November 1st.   I hope you will participate.
         Each month we'll  prod you to send photos.
Thank you for continuing to support WV Glass - you do this when you purchase new Blenko, Fenton,
or glass from any WV craftsman.   You support WV Glass when you purchase glass for gifts,  when you
tell your friends and neighbors about Blenko and other WV Glass..

Blenko Glass. Blenko Blog. Blenko Archive of Vintage Glass. 6812's

Blenko Archive of Vintage Glass.  6812's 

Photo from Blog friend Lorin.

Here are three additional 6812"s.  The colors are Wheat (dark), Orchid with a handle from 2000 or later and Ruby. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blenko Glass. Blenko Blog. - Christmas Gifts? Unique Christmas Gifts.

I need suggestions for gifts,  gifts for teachers, neighbors, and co workers?   I've ask four times .  I ask as I need to complete my Christmas  shopping before Thanksgiving.
Don't neglect to respond
Gloria D.

Blenko 2012 Holiday Ornaments Shown Here

While I'm opposed to thinking about Christmas before Thanksgiving -  call me ole fashion.  I understand your need, and I am responding. 
Blenko Glass Company has a catalog filled with appropriate items,  www.blenkoglass.com .  You didn't mention your location,  if you are near enough to visit the factory in Milton,  I would going on Monday mornings and checking the back shelves.  If you don't live close consider driving in for the Blenko Glass Holiday Sale  ( check web page for time).
   My favorite Blenko stocking stuffer(s) are:
#1.The Holiday Ornaments  $40ish  (photo a)  #2. The Blenko necklaces -  WV State,  Peace, etc  $10ish price  - (photoB.)  #3  The Blenko plaque - (under 25$)  I would recommend this one only for the Blenko Collectors on your gift list.
    Thank you for considering Blenko Glass for your Holiday gifts.  Blenko is a WVa company, everything sold in Blenko is MADE IN USA.
Blenko Plaque
    To learn more about Blenko - and Blenko Glass History  www.blenkoproject.org 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blenko Glass. Blenko Glass Blog. Blenko 6812

Blenko Photos from our Blog friend Lori.

Here are three more 6812's.  The colors are Tangerine, Wheat and Lemon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blenko Glass. Blenko Blog. Glass Workshops?

Blenko, West Virginia

Hillary,  This is the 10th time I'm asking.  Will Blenko do this workshop again? Print out attached. 
   It's difficult to answer questions like this when sent to Heart of Glass as a comment.
In the future if you'll use   theblenkoproject@aol.com  I'll respond to your question with an email.

Don Lemley left Blenko  a few years ago.  So Lemley will no be teaching this class.   You should phone Blenko Glass  304 743 9081  to ask when another series of glassblowing and fusing workshops might be conducted.    
We have no knowledge of workshops other than the 1-2 day festival of glass held yearly.
Contact Blenko.  After this,  if you have questions  email  theblenkoproject@aol.com  and we'll attempt to be of assistance.   If we receive info from Blenko about Classes or Glass making we will immediately publish this info. 

Flyer info sent by Lawrence - -
Glassblowing & Fusing Workshops

Learn all the beginning skills to this ancient craft.

Blenko Glass Company Inc. in Milton WV

Will be hosting workshops on June 24 – 27.

Beginning Glassblowing 24-25 $250.00

Beginning Fusing 26-27 $125.00

To reserve a space call:


Or 1-877-4-Blenko CONTACT: Don Lemley

Email dlemley@blenkoglass.com

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween Candy? To give or not to give....

This year I want to give something other than 'candy' for Halloween.  Suggestions?
In an effort to change, this year I bought  for the adults in my office, the small glass pumpkins ( $7)   - prior years I gave
But what to give the children?
Does Blenko have anything?
Tanya F.
Tanya,  Years ago I recall the    JE Robbins school Nurse Ms. Brenda Issac  trying to have candy eliminated from the Halloween festival   Ms. Issac said " The price of candy is too high'  . . I was young and like my classmates i wasn't happy at the thought of no Halloween candy.    Now as an adult  I understand and fully  agree with Ms Issac.  As a nurse she knew about blood sugar disorders and she knew sugar wasn't part of a good diet.  As children we didn't have or want this info.   Its up to us as parents, and adults to inform the children and to direct them away from processed treats.
The price of candy is much too high....not just the initial cost.
Sugar is a killer.  Its bad for your oral health and every other system.
Sugar is high in caloric count and has no nutritional value.
Getting  OFF the sugar train - at Easter and Halloween and Valentine's Day  takes courage.  I applaud  your efforts.
    Each year we wrap apples ( West Virginia Apples)  for the goblins who visit my cottage.  We also buy 'soft toothbrush'  at the Big Lots  ( less than .75 ) and have a basket of toothbrushes next to the apples.
   What's available at Blenko?  Our last visit to Blenko was in June.  My suggestion is you phone to ask the VC manager for suggestions.  Blenko will ship  (24 hrs-3 days ) most any item.
   Thank you for writing!  Thank you for buying Blenko! Thank you for thinking before you purchase SUGAR!   hjh   

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blenko Glass. Blenko Glass Blog. - What to do!

Hilery,  Will you please stop allowing copies of limited editions and special event blenko to be remade.  This annoys me and makes me want to stop collecting.  Will my collection ever grow in value if the same vase is made for 20 years?  Or a reproduction is made.  Please take care of this.  I spoke with Bill  in 2005, at this time he seemed receptive to the idea.   David Maynard

David,  Blenko owns the designs and therefore has the right to remake at will.  Please understand asking me,  complaining to me, or petitioning me won't solve your problem.  Write to Blenko Glass c/o  Walter Blenko President.    www.blenkoglass.com.    
I am an advocate of  buying local, and buying handcrafted items.   I do not work for Blenko.  I'm a dentist.    Please do phone Blenko.  Blenko Glass is a small family owned factory. 
Trust me when I say to you Blenko values each and every customer.  They want to hear from you. 
Thank you for purchasing Blenko from the factory.  When you purchase 'new' glass you are supporting WV Glass Makers.  Thank you for reading Heart of Glass blog.  hjh

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blenko Glass. Blenko Blog . - Vintage Blenko Lamp Looking for new Home


Thank you for offering to post my Blenko lamp .  I would appreciate that very much.  I have attached several pictures of the lamp to use.

I'm sad to sell ,  thank you for helping me find good home for the lamp.

Again, thank you so much for the help with this.  I truly love this lamp and hate to give it up, but we are in the process of "trying" to downsize and I have so many things to find homes for that it's overwhelming.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blenko Glass Company. Blenko Glass Blog - What is the value of a Millenium IV Vase from 2000 ?

Can you help this reader - What is the value of a Millennium IV Vase from 2000 ?

Thank you for your offer to post a picture of my vase for valuation. In

yesterday's email, I gave you the wrong information on the vase number. It's #61

of 2000, not 21 of 6000. Sorry. The vase is 8" high. Attached is a photo of


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blenko Glass. Blenko Glass Blog. - West Virginia University & Blenko!

www.blenkoproject.org   The Blenko Project.

Blenko Glass   www.blenkoglass.com   makes a number of speciality items.
Photo of the Blenko classic water bottle in cobalt with WVU ( West Virginia University)  logo and also WVU Mountaineer.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blenko Glass. Blenko Glass Blog. Spectrum 96 Glass

This from our blog friend T. Patti - 
While we don't have a large following of folks who blow glass,  most of us want to learn more about the process.

Spectrum 96 Glass
While looking for annealing information, I discovered this very interesting web page,
Which I think will be of interest both to warm glass and hot glass folks.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blenko Glass. Blenko Glass Blog. - Philadelphia Open Studio Tours

 Philadelphia Open Studio Tours - two weekends during October 2012
Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, a program of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists
is the largest tour of artist studios and creative workspaces in the region, and one of the premier open studio tour events in the country.

The 2012 Tour will take place October 20-21 for venues East of Broad Street.

The tours run from noon to 6 pm on both weekends, both days.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blenko Glass. Blenko Glass Blog - #99 Special edition Blenko triangle 'cobwel' vases.

Readers:  Another photo from the outstanding Texas collection -  Bruce Specht & family.
Special commission based on 9810-L in Antique Green and Crystal with Turquoise "Webbing"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blenko Glass - Blenko Glass Blog - Glass Making

hillary, I'm a 55 year old engineer retiring in Oct.   My long time goal has been to blow glass and perhaps work at Blenko.  How do I learn to blow glass?   Does Blenko teach glass blowing,  should I do a Voc Rehab class first and then contact Blenko.   I tried to find a glass manufacturer here in Rhode Island without success.   Thank You  Emile

Emile,   Learning to 'blow glass'  is not something you do in a weekend class.  My first suggestion is to contact your local office of Public Education.  Adult Education classes may be available in your area.
Wheaton Glass Museum offers several  3 - 7 day workshops.  Blenko Glass - each year does the Festival of Glass with a one day 'make your own glass'  workshop.   
While making glass looks easy -  it takes years to perfect the skill,  many people never develop the skills needed.  
I've taken several  classes ( see photo)  and I'll be the first to tell you I couldn't do it.   Trying makes me admire the men who make the glass - - and value the glass - - even more than I currently do.
Having said all this,  let me say don't give up.   Email me  theblenkoproject@aol  subject: classes with the county you live in and I'll assist you with finding classes.   I can also give you a list of  college program that offer summer courses.   Good luck!  HJH

Monday, October 08, 2012

Blenko Glass - Blenko Blog - Limited Editions

The Blenko Glass Co. 
has a number (3) of limited edition items - listed for sale.  www.blenkoglass.com.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Blenko Glass - Blenko Glass Blog - #107 Nickerson blenko jugs

Blenko #7226-S in Turquoise, Blenko #7226-M in Emerald, Blenko #7226-S in Honey from Texas Collector's collection.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Auction this Saturday!

Excellent opportunity to purchase vintage WV and American Glass!
Super Estate Auction
Saturday October 6th, 2012 @ 10:00am
Mountaineer Auction Gallery 50 Spencer Road Clendenin, WV
Directions: 20miles North of Charleston WV on I-79 North
Featuring the Estate of Ed Bennett of Huntington, WV.
Mr. Bennett, a well known retail business owner in Huntington WV, was an avid collector of antiques and all things quality. We are proud to offer to the public his collection of outstanding furniture, clocks, pewter, jewelry, Swarovski, Baccarat, Lalique, Cartier, Waterford, & artist signed crystal plus many great accessory items.
Mountaineer Auctions

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Blenko Glass. Blenko Glass Blog. Milton WV Pumpkin Festival Oct 4-7

The Annual Milton WV Pumpkin Festival is this Thursday- Sunday (Oct 4-7).
Started in 1985, the festival was designed to help farmers with the raising and selling of pumpkins. Located in Milton, WV between the two cities of Huntington and Charleston along the I-64 corridor. The festival attracts attention from throughout the region. The festival features a variety of activities aimed at families
Blenko Glass always has a booth with Glass Pumpkins (and other great items) for sale!
I had a great time at the Festival Last year!
For more information and a full schedule visit : http://www.wvpumpkinpark.com/

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Blenko Glass Co. - Blenko Glass Blog - Glass Insurance - Check out Geico

Glass Insurance Reaserch from Blog friend Tony P.

Hi Hillary,

After reading your blog concerning insurance, I called my Insurance Agent (Geico providing Homeowner’s Insurance through Liberty Mutual).

I fully expected to be told that I needed an extra-cost rider or endorsement or something like that.

But after (I kid you not) a half hour, and multiple times on hold while they consulted multiple experts at Liberty Mutual,

I was told in fact that there is no limit in my Coverage C – Personal Property – Special Limits of Liability, for a glass collection

There are limits of other things (securities, watercraft, trailers, jewelry, watches, furs, precious stones, silverware, etc), but NOT for a glass collection.
As you know, my hobby is hot glass glassblowing, and until I got your email I had never actually counted all my pieces, but I have made over 300 pieces of glass which are in multiple curio cabinets etc throughout my house.

Two additional points:

1. Glassblowing is strictly a hobby for me, not a business, if someone were in the business of collecting/selling glass, other insurance would be required.

2. If (heaven forbid) there were a loss, a claims adjuster might reach some other conclusion (given the prevailing wisdom that there is some limit), but it would not seem to be supported by the contractual language in the policy.

Each person’s situation and contract/policy may be different, but this is the conclusion I was able to reach, thanks for raising this insurance question in your blog.