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, November 30, 2016

Mike Hale pieces for sale

As promised in Wednesday's Article, below please find a list of holiday glass pieces by local Glassblower Mike Hale.
These pieces are all beautiful and incredibly affordable - wonderful hand made in WV presents for anyone on your list!
Hummingbird and stand-$20.00

To place and order please contact:
mike.hale  -at - matricinnovates.com

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Blenko Glass Company. Water bottles

Blenko Glass Water bottle - available in a dozen colors.    
Diamond Optic Water Bottle
8" Tall holds 36 fl. oz.
Tangerine color varies from light to dark and no two pieces are alike.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Small Business Saturday

Miss B wants to remind you all to Shop Small and support local businesses this Small Business Saturday!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Great things are happening today!

Our very own Katie Lee  is on Today giving Turkey Day hints and recipes.

WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY  -  PRIDE OF WEST VIRGINIA  Marching Band Is in the Macy's Parade -  9:45  is the time we should be seeing them.

Tomorrow November 25  -  Blenko Will Be OPEN! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Q and A with WV Scientific Glass Blower, Mike Hale


Recently I had the privilege of interviewing a local Scientific Glassblower, Mike Hale of MATRIC.  
 Scientific glassblowers provide highly specialized glass apparatus for use in laboratory work. A West Virginia native, Mr. Hale is the only glassblower working in Research and Development in the state.

Interview Below.
Watch the blog later in the week for opportunity to buy some of Mr. Hale's holiday pieces!


I read in your Matric bio that you learned Scientific Glassblowing from your father -
Where did your dad work?  How did your dad learn this craft?  How long was he a glassblower?
My Dad got his first job with DuPont in the early 50's. He got a lay-off notice in 1958 I believe. He never returned to DuPont but shortly there after started working for Union Carbide. He worked in several different fields started out in construction where he continued to bid out into other fields such as millwright, rigger, pipe fitter to name a few. He started working in the lab at Institute in the late 60's where he became good friends with the glassblower. He would spend most of his spare time watching and learning from him. The gentleman got ill and had to retire, but before he did he was able to train my father to take his place. He worked at the Institute plant until 1978. He then transferred to the Tech  Park in South Charleston to take over the glassblowing duties for the labs.
He worked at the park until he retired in 1992 He had over 20 years in as a glassblower when he retired. He trained me to take his place.
I am working with the same equipment my father used that has been in the glass shop since the early 60's.
I have been here almost 25 years now. I was fortunate enough to be able to buy all of my glassblowing equipment from Dow Chemical after my lay-off. This allowed me to be able to stay in the area and work for MATRIC for witch I am most grateful! 

 Do you know of any other scientific glass blowers in WV?  

I believe I am the only scientific glassblower still working in the R&D industry in the state of West Virginia. West Virginia University does have a glassblower that works in the chemistry department but  I'm not sure what his capabilities are.

What is your educational background?  Is this type glass work part of any college curriculum? What is the timeline for training/apprenticeship? 
Do you know of y any schools or apprenticeship programs for people interested in scientific glass blowing? 
How many years before you mastered the skill?

I have no formal training in glassblowing. I was taught by my father and worked with him for 4 years before I was doing it on my own. I would say I have never fully masters glassblowing. I continue to learn and gain knowledge every year. In the scientific glassblowing industry it takes 10 years to be considered a master craftsman. Salem Community College in New Jersey offers a 2 year associate in applied science degree. After graduation students still face 4-6 years of apprenticeship period to become a journeyman glassblower.

 What types of items do you make for work? 
I make a wide range of scientific glassware for use in the labs at MATRIC. Glass columns, condensers, distillation equipment, air-free glassware to name a few. I also do a lot of repairs and modifications to existing glassware. I make and design glassware that is needed quickly and that cannot be purchased out of a catalog or on line. 

How did you discover you also have a talent for decorative glass blowing? 
I have always liked working with glass. So when I come to work its actually fun, especially if I'm asked to make something challenging. I love Christmas and thought it would be cool to learn how to make glass Christmas ornaments. I basically  learned by having an idea of what I wanted to make and keep shaping the glass until it looked like what I thought it should look like. So in other words just a whole lot of figuring out how to make an ornament and then keep making it until you get it right. It is really hard to explain how its made. One has to see it for themselves to understand the process.

Do you have any favorite pieces you have created? 

I like making hummingbirds and icicle ornaments. They are fun to make and people seem to like them. I also like making bells. They are fully functional and I tell people do not be afraid to ring them, they are quite tough despite looking very delicate.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Gearing up for Thanksgiving Dinner - Blenko Glass Company.

At our home,  we use Blenko Glass bowls for serving dishes at our parties.
If you aren't using your Blenko.  Please start.  Blenko is factory glass, made to be used.
It is durable.
It probably should not be put in the dishwasher,  but can be used year after year for serving.  The key is to rinse and wash and dry after use.
If you are hosting the Turkey Day meal,  consider BLENKO as an addition to your formal place settings.
Our family is Wedgewood Runnymede
Blenko Glass scallop bowl

Blenko Glass cabbage bowl
, and Lennox Eternal -  most every color at Blenko will combine with the Lennox Eternal.  The Runnymede loves the peach color from the 80s and the new pinks,  the ebony and the crystal go with any pattern.
Photos of Bowls currently available at Blenko.
Many additional colors are available.
   When you purchase a BLENKO GLASS bowl you are purchasing piece of West Virginia history and a bowl that will last your life time.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Black Friday! Make it a BLENKO GLASS DAY

Blenko Holiday Sale
November 25, 2016
A one day sale held in the Visitors Center on the traditional Friday after Thanksgiving. This kicks off our seasonal holiday sales with limited editions available Friday. Classes include blown vases, ornaments and more. This is when our large choir of handmade angels and snowmen appear in the Visitors Center. We strive for special seasonal gifts and thoughtful glass gifts for giving. Come see!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Blenko Glass Company. Key West Vase

The origin of this Key West Vase is I believe a vase designed by Randy Rider and Company in 2008 - during an event each glass group was ask to design a piece and they were sold at auction during the event.

What's new is the color.  This is a beautiful vase.  A unique for Blenko color combination.
This is another of the 'must purchase'  items
5904 Vase
10 1/2" Tall

Monday, November 14, 2016

SOFA Chicago

SOFA ChicagoFriday, November 4, 20162:30 – 3:30 pmRoom B, Festival Hall, Navy Pier*Lecture Series rooms are on the show floor on the east end of Festival Hall.
In November 2015, the Glass Art Society and Chihuly Garden and Glass partnered to conduct an in-depth study of the state of glass art in America with the intent of researching the most active regions for glass art, and providing a benchmark to measure future growth and trends in the industry.
GMA Research firm was brought on to administer the study nationwide. The project included two phases -- a research phase that included in-depth interviews with industry leaders (collectors, gallery owners, educators, artists, etc.) and two surveys (one for the general public and one for Glass Art Society membership.
More than 2,200 people from across the nation responded, providing a statically accurate sample of the US population. The special exhibit at SOFA CHICAGO will be the first full presentation of the research findings including the top five trends from the study affecting the glass community at large, and works of art to elucidate those trends from galleries exhibiting at SOFA.
Pamela Koss, Executive Director, Glass Art Society and Michelle Bufano, Executive Director Chihuly Garden and Glass, will release the research results publicly for the first time during this lecture. A panel of artists, including Shelly Muzylowski Allen, Matt Eskuche, Andy Paiko, and Norwood Viviano will share work that exemplifies the predominant trends and contribute insight on the findings.
Artists represented in order of listing: Habatat Galleries, Royal Oak, MI (Muzylowski Allen and Eskuche); Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; Heller Gallery, New York, NY
Presented by the Glass Art Society in conjunction with the SOFA CHICAGO Special Exhibit Landscape of Glass in America

If you have the opportunity I would suggest attending this event.
We've gone a few times.  Meeting some of your favorite artist is one of the perks of

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Everything Old is New Again?

948 Seabreeze Bent Neck Decanter w/Crystal Handle & Stopper
13" Tall
Another of the ' reproduction' items that are new at Blenko Glass.
This is under $150.
It is a highly collectible item.
If you don't own - may I suggest you consider more than one.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Saphire Blue Fiestaware Do you Own?

I broke a sapphire blue fiestaware from WVa.  sandwich plate.
Want desperately to replace the plate, was told by Homer Laughlin it is not available since the 90s and then only sold by one NYC store.
Can you help me locate?

I am publishing your request.  Have you considered Replacements Ltd?
(800) REPLACE or (800) 737-5223.
Good Luck. 
If any blog readers response I'll publish the response for Abigal. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Blenko Glass Company. Large Bottles

1416 Gurgle Bottle.
Another of the 'reproductions'   This is another of the 'new products'  I would suggest that new collectors purchase.  If your budget allows.
Under $200.
23 1/2'' Tall

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Blenko Glass Company. Chess Piece 24 inches

Blenko Glass Chess Piece

In 1999 my Dad paid $750  for this chess piece ( or one of the original chess pieces)  This item is certain to increase in price.
I don't often encourage new collectors to purchase, this is the exception.  Buy several if you can afford the cost.
$178 plus shipping.
Check www.blenkoglass.com  for colors and exact price 


Monday, November 07, 2016

Blenko Glass.

Blenko "Inside The Factory" Public Auction *AUCTION HAS BEEN CANCELLED*
Nov. 12,  2016 Saturday evening
We challenge our talented glass artisans to make special pieces for you as well as digging out examples of developmental pieces crafted as we explore each years new designs. These are unique, fun and special designs. All objects sold to the highest bidder. Items listed on the internet two weeks in advance. Telephone bids may be left prior to the day before the auction by calling Blenko. Event held within the historic Blenko factory. Call for more detail close to the event date.
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Saturday, November 05, 2016

New at Blenko Glass.

847L Large Daisy Bowl
12" Diameter, 6" Tall
In Clover/Tangerine Fade

The daisy bowl in large and small have been around for decades.  The 'new' is the color combo...this one is clover with a tangerine fade.
A unique one of a kind bowl for $55 plus shipping .
Daisy Bowl in clover/tangerine fade

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Blenko Glass Company. Vintage miniatures

Texas Collection - miniatures
Hi Doc,

Some more older Blenko designs are these miniatures. For those folks with limited display room these are a wonderful way to brighten a windowsill. From the left you have a Blenko #3516F in Tangerine, Blenko #3516C in Cobalt, Blenko #3516B in Amber, Blenko #3516A in Sea Green, and a Blenko #3516G in Ruby. These are the earliest Miniatures that Blenko produced. The later designers, especially Husted, would design several groups of their own distinct miniature designs for Blenko.

Hope you and the readers enjoy,
Bruce S.