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
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
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.
Monday, October 29, 2012
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..
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
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
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.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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
Sunday, October 21, 2012
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, 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
Friday, October 19, 2012
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
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 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
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
Philadelphia Open Studio Tours - two weekends during October 2012
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
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
Monday, October 08, 2012
Saturday, October 06, 2012
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
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.