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.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Home Games for both Marshall and West Virginia University - 8/31

Kick Off Saturday.
In West Virginia we don't have a professional football team.  Therefore, we are devoted to our  college teams.   Over the years Blenko Glass has made many collegiate items.   Pictured below are a group of WVU and Marshall items.  
Blenko continues to offer the WVU  and Marshall logo water bottles.     In Morgantown, and in Huntington WVa on this football Saturday.  You'll find a good number of Blenko Glass logo items.   Often holding a bouquet of flowers or perhaps a beverage. 
A sure sign that summer is over -  College Football - and for West Virginia fans in the north and south.  It starts Today -  WVU has an afternoon game.  Marshall has a 7pm kick off.  
 Note:   The Blenko Glass water bottle for Marshall and WVU  are currently available.   The other items are not longer being made,   if you are seeking one of the other collegiate items send us an email - we'll help you locate the collegiate item you desire.  hjh 

Note:   Photos from Blenko Glass,   newspaper,  and those send to Blenko Glass Blog.  

Friday, August 30, 2013

Labor Day Weekend! - The End of Summer

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September, that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. It was first nationally recognized in 1894 to placate unionists following the Pullman Strike. With the decline in union membership, the holiday is generally viewed as1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York.]   Others argue that it was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in May 1882,[ after witnessing the annual labour festival held in Toronto, Canada.[ Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday on February 21, 1887. By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day.

Following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve rush legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday; President Grover Cleveland signed it into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.[ The September date originally chosen by the CLU of New York and observed by many of the nation's trade unions for the past several years was selected rather than the more widespread International Workers' Day because Cleveland was concerned that observance of the latter would be associated with the nascent Communist, Syndicalist and Anarchist movements that, though distinct from one another, had rallied to commemorate the Haymarket Affair in International Workers' Day.   All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday. a time for barbeques and the end of summer vacations

To take advantage of large numbers of potential customers free to shop, Labor Day has become an important sale weekend for many retailers in the United States. Some retailers claim it is one of the largest sale dates of the year, second only to the Christmas season's Black Friday.  Phone Blenko Glass or check website for gift shop hours during this holiday.   Remember the online store is open 24/7. 

Ironically, because of the importance of the sale weekend, some of those who are employed in the retail sector not only work on Labor Day, but work longer hours. More Americans work in the retail industry than any other, with retail employment making up 24% of all jobs in the United States.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that of those employed in the retail sector, only 3% are members of a Labor Union.

*  The above is from wiki and  was provided by Steve  - a Webmaster and Blenko Project friend.  Steve.  Steve reports he couldn't find photos of the Husted red/white/and blue glass so he sent 3 photos of glass. 

Enjoy your Labor Day Holiday -   for me its a time to pull weeds and prepare my yard and garden bed for winter.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Long-Missing Rare Glass Bottle Returning To Wistar Institute

Long-Missing Rare Glass Bottle Returning To Wistar Institute
This from our Blog Friend Tony Patti

I thought this was an interesting story, certainly for people interested in antique glass bottles,
but the nexus is our target geography of Philadelphia and New Jersey glassblowing.
And this must be my first email with a quotation from the FBI Art Crime Team!

PHILADELPHIA, PENN. — A piece of American history will be returning home.

A rare glass bottle made by Caspar Wistar, New Jersey’s first glassmaker who began the first successful glass factory in the American colonies, was in the Wistar Institute’s collection in Philadelphia until sometime after 1958 when it disappeared from the collection. It has been close by these last few years — at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it has been on loan.

The 8¾-inch-tall dark green bottle bears the initials of Richard Wistar, the eldest son of Caspar Wistar. It is one of only two known existing Caspar Wistar bottles with the “RW” seal; the other is in the collection of the Corning Museum of Glass. Caspar Wistar’s bottles were made of impure green glass using a formula in use since the Middle Ages. They were designed to resemble popular European bottles of the day.

“We’re entirely thrilled,” said Nina Long, the institute’s director of library services and archivist, also curator of the Wistar museum collections. Long noted that the bottle will remain on loan at the museum until 2014, with the institute now listed as its owner. New exhibition space is being opened up at the institute and the bottle may go on public view there next year, or it may be on extended loan to the museum, she said this week.

After investigating the theft of some unrelated artifacts for the institute, authorities found the bottle on loan to the museum in 2011, and a civil agreement was reached with the purported owner to return ownership to the institute.

The Wistar Institute is a cancer research center named for Caspar Wistar and founded in 1892 by his great-nephew General Isaac Jones Wistar. The institute is the repository for the Wistar museum archives, including items relating to the Wistarburgh glass factory that began in 1739 near Alloway, N.J.

Charles M. Oberly III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, and Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent in Charge, Philadelphia Field Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), recently announced the agreement reached to return the bottle.

The circa 1745–55 bottle was granted to the institute by Isaac Wistar in 1905. Cataloged in the Wistar inventory, the bottle was taken without permission after 1958. The bottle was said to have been purchased from an unclaimed storage locker sometime later and sold by various antiques dealers on several occasions.

Oberly said, “The return of this rare bottle to the Wistar Institute is the result of the joint efforts of this office and the FBI Art Crime Team. I commend all parties for their efforts in producing this positive outcome. Artifacts like this glass bottle are an important part of American history. I am pleased it can be returned to its rightful owner.”

David L. Hall, Assistant United States Attorney, Special Prosecutor, FBI Art Crime Team, investigated the case. Asked for advice to collectors who might find themselves in a similar situation, especially when thefts predate the Internet and national stolen art databases, Hall said, “It does make it harder and it’s not an uncommon problem. Sometimes long periods pass between the theft and the recovery; the best approach in terms of provenance research is to be proactive.”

For additional information, contact Oberly or Hall at 302-573-6277.                     —A. Valluzzo

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wanted ... Photos of Your Blenko and WV Glass

Please send photos (  we welcome the story of how you acquired the glass),  of your
Blenko and WVa  Glass.

New collectors are inspired to continue to collect and add to their collections when they view the photos from other collectors.

Send your photos to  theblenkoproject  at aol.com.    
Thank you.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Blenko # 390's

Readers- Photo and story from Bruce Texas

Just found another Blenko #390 for the collection a few weeks back while on a
day outing to take some photos of my daughter Kayla for her Senior yearbook. We
covered a lot of ground that day but Shelley came through when she spotted this
piece on a low shelf in an antique mall in Burleson Texas. On the left is an
"old" example in Turquoise with it's "new" neighbor in Lime.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Myers 64 Vases.

This is a nice grouping of Myers designed vases from around 1965-66 when the color Peacock was in production. From left to right you have a Blenko 64C, Blenko 64E, Blenko 64B, and Blenko 64D. Peacock continues to be a challenge for me when it comes to capturing the color correctly.

From Blog friend Bruce

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ernie Downey - Glass Artist

Some times the 2nd Act of Life  is outstanding.   Ernie Downey has a BS in chemistry and a MA in Business.  In Act I of his life he worked for a major corporation.    In Act II ( retirement)  he is a glass artist,  a teacher of art, and a frequent contributor to this Blog.
The Charleston Daily Mail had a wonderful article this week about talented glass artist (and good friend of the Blog)  Ernie Downey.
Mr Downey creates fine jewelry as well as wind chimes, bowls, vases and paperweights out of glass.

I own several pieces of fused glass jewelry made by Mr Downey, each one more beautiful than the previous.    If you don't own glass jewelry made by Mr. Downey you'll want to purchase these items for Xmas, birthday, birth events.  Like Blenko they are handcrafted - unique and each one is one of a kind. 

Ernie teaches a jewelry-making classes each year at the Festival of Glass at Blenko Glass Co. in Milton. His work is sold at Blenko as well as Cornucopia on Bridge Road in Charleston, and Mug and Pia near Pullman Square in Huntington. Items are also available on his website, www.ernsglass.com

You can read the full article (and see photos of Ernie's work) here:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why is Glass expensive?

Hilery,   I have a question.  Why has Blenko became so expensive?  It now cost between 34 and 64 dollars for a vase at the gift shop.  I don't get it.
Andrea E.

Blenko prices have risen very slowly.    The tableware prices have increased little in the last five years.  

Blenko art glass vase - Blenko Glass gift shop.

Blenko Glass prices at the Milton gift shop are very reasonable.   The price of materials has tripled.  Blenko struggles to continue to offer customers glass at reasonable prices.

However,  Blenko  continues to make quality glass,  the same way it has for decades and decades.
Quality comes with a price.

When you purchase Blenko Glass - you are (a) supporting a local business  (b) supporting 40 -50 local workers allowing them to care for their families  (c)  you are buying a product that will last - my parents own Blenko that's 50 + years old,  (d) Blenko doesn't compromise - they continue to offer quality,  only high quality.

Judy Garland said:  " always be a first rate version of yourself...." 
Blenko is always first rate.

Blenko is a good value!

Other questions?  email  theblenkoproject  at aol.com. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blenko Glass with prunts

From Blog Friend Tim in Tx:

I have three examples of drinking glass with prunts.  I found the larger and the smaller one in some old Blenko catalogs, but I could not find the medium size one, until I did a quick flip through the Eason Eige and Rick Wilson Blenko Book. Sure enough there it was. I've looked through that book hundreds and hundreds of times, but I never noticed that piece. Just goes to show you think you know a lot about Blenko Glass and you can still get tripped up!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blenko Ram

The Blenko Ram 's head is a much sought after item.  Blog reader M  owns this item,  she sent the photos shown here.  This Ram is looking for a new home.  M thinks the Ram's head is worth between 400 - 600$ .  It will offered in an online auction later this month.   If you have pre auction interest, I will forward your email to M.
Blenko Ram Head 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What Happens When We Are Not Speaking?

Some days I grow  tired of opening emails with request for items I don't have access to, or research I
don't have the time to complete for an unknown .   Comments about what should be done or printed and what should not.  Have the courage to keep a few thoughts to yourself today!

Daily I get mail that isn't pleasant or complimentary of WVa Glass.  Sending negative comments to the Blenko Project will not alter the quality of your glass.  Those comments need to be made directly to the manufacturer or the source of your glass.

Rambling on and on about what needs to be corrected without offering assistance is useless.

Making negative comments when you don't have facts.  Why?.   We ( those  associated with Blenko Project)  do not work for any WVa Glass Maker,  we are collectors of Blenko Glass.  We provide www.blenkoproject.org  web site with Blenko Catalogs and other Blenko Glass related reference materials.   We help you for free of charge to identify your glass,  to rehome glass you no longer want, and often assist collectors with acquiring an item they have long been searching for.  We are not paid for any of the above services.   We are a group - a very loosely knit group of volunteers. 
No one is a Blenko employee, or related to a Blenko employee or any other glass seller or manufacturer.   We are for the most part professionals who work full time.  For us glass is a hobby, a diversion,&/ or a passion.
We don't have the time to search the catalogs for you - we did place the catalogs on line to allow individuals to identify their glass.  We will assist if you can't find your item.  Please make an attempt before asking for our help.
'Thank You  '  and ' Please'  are  welcome additions to your emails for info. 

If you find the catalogues or the website helpful,  consider volunteering with the Blenko Project
send photos of your glass, or glass events,  we welcome your photos and your glass stories.

   George Eliot said, " Blessed is the one who has nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact." 
Blenko Glass 1947 catalog 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Decisions? Difficulty Making Choices

   I bought most all my glass in 2005 when it was very expensive.  I've seen the prices for my Blenko go lower and lower.  Tell me what to do - should I sell or wait for the prices to come back?
   Most everyone I collected with has moved on to other things.   Do you know of a group I can connect with?
Victoria W.

Tevia in Fiddler on the Roof - "  On one hand, I could do this, but ....on the other hand...."  and make no choice!

At times it seems we lose no matter what you decide.

If you buy only what you can use,  or what you love - the price  - increase or decline will be of little interest for you.

Buying quality -  is most important when buying glass.
Wish I could help you with this decision.
Of one thing I'm certain  -  Teddy Roosevelt said," In any moment of decision, the best ting you can do the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing is to do nothing.

Good Luck! 
Blenko Glass 1958 catalog -  These items did not decrease in value! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Penguins ? In the Eye of the Beholder

In  2007  Ken and Benna a couple living in Reynoldsburg, Ohio sent me the photo below.  Ken told a story of the purchase and the Blenko connection.  His brother bought the glass art he calls Penguins in the late  80s  from an estate sale.   In the mid 90s  the brother passed and Ken and Benna inherited the glass.  The glass is signed ' Shorty Finley 1980'.*   Ken and Benna have spoken with me many times since 2007.  
During this time,  we discovered the Penguins were actually Star Wars *inspired creatures.  Shorty Finley made this set and one other ( glass colors are not the same) in 1980.   Shorty describes the glass as cobalt with a swirl of tangerine and crystal. 
If you own Blenko,  unusual Blenko,  Blenko made by a family member, or a glass craftsman, please send photos to share theblenkoproject@aol.com .  We'll publish your photos and your story in the Heart of Glass.   Thank you for reading and for sharing.  hjh
Note: * To learn more about Shorty Finley - www.blenkoproject.org
Star Wars:
Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise centered on a film series created by George Lucas.. The franchise depicts a galaxy described as far, far away in the distant past, and it commonly portrays Jedi as a representation of good, in conflict with the Sith, their evil counterpart. Their weapon of choice, the lightsaber, is commonly recognized in popular culture. The fictional universe also contains many themes, especially influences of philosophy and religion.
The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year intervals.  wiki

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Blenko Glass - Marshall University Class for Teachers

Recently my child's teacher has become interested in WV Glass,  now he is also.
Marshall University received a grant to allow teachers to learn more about WV Glass so they might bring this knowledge to the classroom.
I know this is something you have been saying for the 7 years I've read this blog.
Were you excited to see this happen?  Will it happen in all of WVa?
Were you involved?  I want my child to know about all WVa 's  history.
Connie  Moore

Gandhi said you should " be the change you want to see in the world",    if you like the classroom attention to the glass industry's role in WVa  history  send a note stating this  to your principal,  tell the teacher how much you appreciate the lessons.
Offer to assist. 
Art Glass Panel located in the Blenko Glass Museum - upstairs Blenko Glass gift shop.
Thank you for collecting Blenko and for reading the Heart of Glass blog.


Friday, August 09, 2013

Blenko creative images in next Tamarack show

Laura Moul - photographic artist,  travel agent, wife, and good friend of this Blog sent the following information.
Laura's images of Blenko Glass and other subjects are available for purchase.  Contact Laura at the address below.

Blenko creative images in next Tamarack show
These 3 images were selected by Tamarack 's gallery for the next show "Through the Looking Glass"    An ALL GLASS exhibition and exploration of this beautiful and elusive medium.    Opening reception Sun. August 11th 3:00 pm  to 430 pm.  Show runs from Aug 11th  to September 27th.

I played in the glass cull and created these images........please confirm the color of blue in the middle one.  The sun was shining when I took these.  I have other images too.

9812--title Under the Sea at Blenko
9882--Blenko Cobalt (is this the correct name for this color)
9869--Washed up Bottle at Blenko

Just wanted to share..............the framed images will be 16 x 20 to 16 x 16.
Hope all is well with you too.


Thursday, August 08, 2013

August 8th - Happy August Birthday(s)!

Happy Birthday to Blenko Collectors born in August.  Today,   August 8th is the 220th day of the year.  

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Schedule of live streamed artist demos by The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass

Schedule of live streamed artist demos by The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass

I received information from Yvette Sterbenk at CMOG, thought everyone might be interested in watching great glassblowing this summer
The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass offers free live-streamed demos every Wednesday, 11 am - 5 pm EST, from June 5 to September 4.
All demos are free, and can be accessed at www.cmog.org/live
In addition, there will be a free live stream of the Museum's Meet the Artist: Michael Glancy lecture on June 20.
For those that miss the live stream, the videos are posted on the Museum's YouTube channel
streamed through our Ustream channel.
Live-streamed Studio Demonstration: David Willis
August 14, 2013 11:00am to 12:00pm

Watch David Willis demonstrate for his flameworking class, Make What You Like, which has the goal to help students fabricate in glass anything they can conceive. No registration or fee is required to watch this portion of the class. Connect to our Ustream channel on August 14 to watch.
Live-streamed Studio Demonstration: Martin Janecky


August 21, 2013 11:00am to 12:00pm
Watch Martin Janecky demonstrate for his class, Blowing and Sculpting Inside the Bubble, which will focus on unique techniques and approaches to solid and blown sculpting, emphasizing the freedom to explore process, as well as the potential of the material.

Live-streamed Studio Demonstration: Cesare Toffolo
August 28, 2013 11:00am to 12:00pm
Watch as Cesare Toffolo demonstrates for his class, Flameworking in the Venetian Style, in which students will learn traditional approaches for creating Venetian-style goblets, using borosilicate glass and a variety of techniques, including color application, filigree, gold leaf, incalmo

Live-streamed Studio Demonstration: Tim Drier
September 4, 2013 11:00am to 12:00pm
Watch Tim Drier demonstrate for his class, Introduction to Flameworking, in which students will embark on an evolution through glassmaking, beginning with marbles (single cell), through fungus, aquatics, and small land mammals, ending with the human form.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Buy Local

e.e. cummings said, " It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."

If you haven't started buying local,  for food and materials this is the summer to begin.
Ask your self where your tableware was made,   what is the source of your vegetables?

Buying Made In America  is said to be a movement that's catching on.   In my house for decades we have  been aware of  searching out Union Labels,  of buying from farmers market,   buying Mr. Casto's eggs,  and of course buying tableware and glass objects of art from Blenko Glass,  Feista Glass,  special gifts from Iron worker Fetty,  wood worker  Robert Reed.

Attend your local crafts and art fairs,  buy your gifts from small vendors,  look for made in usa

It take courage to request Made In USA,  it takes a bit longer to drive to the Farmers Market.
Part of growing up is learning to live responsible.

Purchasing glass from a local manufacturer,  buying from a local hardware store ( not the big box), learning quality is more important than quantity.  

www.blenkoproject.org  to learn more about the history of W.Va.  Glass maker  Blenko Glass.

Photo of small plate with 2012 Birthday Vase imagine - this is one the many local handcrafted items you will find at Blenko Glass.  

Monday, August 05, 2013

Blenko Festival pics set 2

*  If you didn't attend the Blenko Festival of Glass -   Make plans to attend in 2014 .  This event is always held in August.  You 'll want to check the Blenko Glass calendar for exact dates.
    Ernie Downey served as a Guest Artist this year,  Ernie makes most all of the glass jewelry sold in the Blenko Glass gift shop.
Below are pictures from Blenko glass festival sent by Ernie Downey. Do send pictures from the festival and share your stories. email: theblenkoproject@aol.com 

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Hank Murta Adams

Blenko Glass . Many  designers  including  Winslow Anderson,  Joel Myers,  Wayne Husted, Hank Adams,  came to Blenko immediately after finishing their degree.  They developed their skills and perfected their craft while at Blenko.  After Blenko all have become well known in the art glass world. 
Recently Blog follower Maggie sent me a package of photos -  all were of Hank Adams work she was bidding on.   Hank Adams ( after Blenko) designs are requesting $8 K  to $35K.  
Only if you collect Blenko Glass - can the average working man own a Hank Adams or Joel Myers or Wayne Husted etc  creation.  hjh
Buy Blenko - Made In USA  . 

Hank Adams - Blenko design faces

Hank Adams - creation - photo & bio  from blog reader Maggie 

Hank Murta Adams (American, b. 1956), ca 1991. Glass sculpture titled Ned; ht.25 in.

Adams was a student of Dale Chihuly at the Rhode Island School of Design graduating with a BFA in painting in 1978. He continued his education at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, and later, the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. Adams has been awarded three Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts; his work has been featured in numerous one-man exhibitions both in the US and abroad. The writer and critic, William Warmus, describes the castings of Hank Murta Adams as “beat up, injured, cobbled together, melted, blasted, cast, casted, fused, cracked, cooled, chilled out, frozen, freezing, dug out, melted out, ground down, nailed, suspended, punctured, pierced, pieced, metered, handled, groomed and tuned into a cast with real faces: ironic, sexy, distressed, cynical, deathly, hearty, funny, deathly funny, lost, limping. Limpid.”

Exhibited: Glass New Concepts, Robert Kidd Gallery, Birmingham, MI, 1992.

References: Oatman, Michael. "Hank Murta Adams, Chaos and Control." Glass Magazine, Summer 2005, pp. 52- 61.

Warmus, William. "Castings: Hank Murta Adams." Glass Magazine, Spring 1997, Volume 66, pp. 34-39.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Blenko Festival Pics, Set 1

*  If you didn't attend the Blenko Festival of Glass -   Make plans to attend in 2014 .  This event is always held in August.  You 'll want to check the Blenko Glass calendar for exact dates.
    Ernie Downey served as a Guest Artist this year,  Ernie makes most all of the glass jewelry sold in the Blenko Glass gift shop.
Below are pictures from Blenko glass festival sent by Ernie Downey. Do send pictures from the festival and share your stories. email: theblenkoproject@aol.com