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 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


Anonymous said...

No one should have as a career goal working for Blenko.
Ask the dozens of former employees or the retired workers who are without pensions.
An engineer who wants to work at Blenko? Let me see the last engineers at Blenko were Jim Derkin ( brother in law of owner) and Gene Weekly master of engineer who survived a year or so and was replaced by BA in art Katie Trippe.
Saying all this to say - Why Blenko?
Why not volunteer at Wheaton or work with adult ed class as Dr Glass suggest.
Blenko has not had a training program or a method of teaching since the departure of Joel Myers.
The current trend is small shops and small glass makers, mr. or dr engineer why not take classes and build your own furnace and make glass?
Do you know Blenko is located in rural West Virgina? No mention of where you are currently living but visiting WVa is a good thing - - living in WVa? Well it takes a special kind of person.
Max L.

Anonymous said...

Wow I'm guessing that comment would scare anyone away, what an encouraging bunch of people you all are. Not really

Anonymous said...

Max L.
You are bitter. West Virginia is a wonderful place to live and work.
Ask all the Carbiders and FMC employees who upon retirement moved back to WV. A good number of the Carbide Tech group, all PHD engineers remainded in WV.
Any place is what you make it. We live in Wheeling and Key West. We enjoy both.
Blenko is a small glass factory Max. My read is they are improving sales and surviving in a dificult time.
Anonymous - ' you all are' fyi most of us don't comment. Thus we allow people to wonder about our intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Stick to buying glass. Their are too many starving glass artist with talent.

sweetdoc said...

I must agree with Max.
While I collect and adore Blenko it is not the place for an engineer seeking employment in glass area.
Anonymous - we are not an encouraging bunch, however, we purchase Blenko and indirectly pay your salary.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

My dream of blowing glass was also
busted with only one class.
I'll stick to being a PA and purchase my glass.
Excellent post and follow up comments.
Anonymous we can be encouraging and also demanding. Blenko has declined in the last 7 years, its a fact. Management is bad, staff morale is bad, and the future is bleak.
Am I still buying, you bet. I also on occassion purchase new glass. I would visit more often but find the enviroment to be less than 'encouraging'.

Anonymous said...

Suffering again with a sleepless nite, your letter has me thinking with pleasure of my own retirement.
I disagree with the previous commentors I think you should phone Walter Blenko at his home in Pittsburg and express your desire.
We met him at WV Birthday and unlike the current admin and many on this blog he is very positive and energetic man who is future oriented.
I'll bet he would welcome you.
Martha B.

Anonymous said...

Anna, well spoken. the blenko of old is not the blenko now being sold.
Why? I dunno? I've written many times to this blog, it doesn't get published and my questions are not addressed.
Robert H.

Anonymous said...

spell check anyone

Anonymous said...

Blenko does not seem to be hiring.
Many workers are getting less than 40 hours a week. Hilery you should know about this.

CPK.collectoroffineart said...

I know you dislike personal comments
If you turn off comments no one would blame you.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Martha, Walter is the best thing to happen in Blenko history.

Anonymous said...

Glass Museum
get it right or don't do it