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.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Blenko Glass. Heart of Glass Blog. Day of LOVE Give BLENKO

June 1st is the day German men traditionally send bouquets of flowers to females ( to express a romantic interest - sometimes anonymously).

Perhaps it began with the Victorians. The Victorians telegraphed detailed messages with flowers in a bouquet -especially the eloquent rose. The same color could mean different things, a note or number of blooms on a stem would clarify the message. yellow for friendship or jealousy, white, innocence or silence. RED? Nothing but Love.

I love picking up traditions from other places and making them my own. 'Good things' good feelings, make life ... more wonderful, more magical, more beautiful. Become involved.
IF there is a PRINCE in your LIFE (or a FROG who might have Prince Potential) make certain he learns of this German Tradition - Make it a part of your life.

IF there isn't an available Frog or Prince then might I suggest as an INDEPENDENT WOMAN you phone Jim Fletcher at Food Among the Flowers, (346-7994) Charleston, W. Va http://www.foodamongtheflowers.com/ or Carlos at Milton Floral (304 743 9079) ask them to prepare a great bouquet for YOU!

OH! Don't FORGET To ask for a BLENKO GLASS COMPANY container for that bouquet. http://www.blenkoglass.com/ (304 743 9081.
Enjoy JUNE 1st
Be Good to Yourself and those you Love! hjh

Ps. How to Keep the Rose Alive:
Give them sugar (Like lemon/lime soda in the water and an aspirin and a
cap or bleach added to the water will increase the life).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Blenko Glass. Heart of Glass. GAS Announcement


May 3, 2017The Glass Art Society (GAS), in partnership with Glass Wheel Studio, is pleased to announce the names of the 46 participating artists who will be featured in the 2017 GAS Member Juried Exhibition. The exhibition will be on view Saturday, May 27 – Sunday, July 16, 2017 at Glass Wheel Studio in Norfolk, Virginia, and will be a highlight of the 46th annual GAS conference, Reflections from the Edge: Glass, Art, and Performance. An opening reception will be held on Friday, June 2 from 6-10 PM and prizes will be awarded to select artists at 7:30 PM.
“The breadth and quality of the works submitted for this exhibition were so impressive,” says Cheryl White, director of Glass Wheel Studio. “Whether experimenting with the technical limits of the glass or using it to explore deeper conceptual themes, GAS member artists are pushing the boundaries of this material in fascinating ways. We cannot wait to showcase these artists in Norfolk.”

The 46 artists featured in the 2017 GAS Member Juried Exhibition are:
James Akers
Julie Alland
Barbara Atkinson
Nisha Bansil
Emily Bartelt
Megan Biddle
Conrad M. Bishop
Jen Blazina
Kate Clements
Shaun Conroy
Jennifer Crescuillo
Scott Darlington
Jerre Davidson
Jonathan Davis
Cheryl Patrice Derricotte
Courtney Dodd
Karen Donnellan
Davin Ebanks
Jean M. Fernandes
Morgan Gilbreath
Jack Gramann
Jennifer Halvorson
Mollie Marie Hansen
Ji Huang
Krista Israel
Robert Mickelsen
Kathleen Mitchell
Sharyn O’Mara
Clare Peters
Suzanne Peterson
Spencer Pittenger and Gina Zetts
Jenny Pohlman and Sabrina Knowles
Leana Quade
Lisa Beth Robinson and Kristin Thielking
Leisl Schubel
Maia Stern
Susan Taylor Glasgow and Janis Miltenberger
Louise Thompson and Hanne Enemark
Nancy Weisser
Amy Whittingham
Benjamin Watkins Wright 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Blenko Glass Comapny. WVA Birthday Vase 2017. Heart of Glass Blog

Inspired by the mountains and rolling hills of our beautiful state of West Virginia, the base of this 13.5’’ tall Cobalt, Clover & Crystal creation known as “Sun Over The Mountains” is emboldened with a variety of ingrained lines meant to emulate the curvature of our states hills and mountains. The piece is finished with a round Yellow stopper representing the sun. This is the 1st West Virginia Day Piece designed by Blenko’s newest designer, Aaron Harvey.
This year's birthday piece, will go on sale Saturday, June 17. The doors will open at 8am, get in line early so you don't miss your chance to own one of these rare and beautiful pieces!. Each piece will be numbered and signed by Blenko President, Walter Blenko Jr. as well as the West Virginia Piece Designer, Aaron Harvey.
-Only 154 of these available. 
-$154.00 each plus tax 
-Limit 1 per person, No advance orders, 
-No phone orders, No coupons, No gift certificates. 
-Each Piece numbered & signed by Walter Blenko, Jr. & Aaron Harvey
Designed by Aaron Harvey to continue to pay homage to the outdoors; “Moon Over The Forest” is a 12 ¼” tall form blown in Cobalt and finished with a White powdered frit stopper to represent the moon. Item will be available as a Pre-Event piece during our “After Hours” Event on Friday, June 16 from 7pm to 9pm. Item will also be available online at shop.blenko.com starting Saturday, June 17.  Each decanter will be $79.00 and will be etched WV Day and Blenko 2017 on the bottom. Limited Quantities Available

Sunday, May 21, 2017

www.blenkoproject.org. Blenko Glass . Heart of Glass Blog

The Blenko Project www.blenkoproject.org  is seeking volunteers to perform the following task.
1. assist with back log of letters requesting info  2. assist with ID of Glass ( we won't ask for more than 3 per month from each volunteer) 3. A Volunteer who has the skills to keep the website up to date  - monthly.  4. Volunteer with computer skills to add additional links and info to the Blenko Project site.
Please contact us   theblenkoproject@aol.com

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Blenko The People - Perry Bays, Blower

Perry Bays - Blower / Asst. Foreman

Blenko Glass Company is all about the people. Each shop is made up of a group of very talented men. Men who work as a unit, each almost magically knowing when to open a mold, pick up glass (the exact amount of glass),how long to blow in a mold, etc.

Perry came to Blenko in 1990 -. He worked in Antique for nine years. He now holds the titles of Assistant Foreman and Blower.

The men who work at Blenko - like many men from West Virginia grew up fishing and hunting. Perry reports that he also spends a great deal of his free time hunting and fishing but he prefers spending his 'free time' in family activities. Time with his two children (18 & 14) and his wife. Much of this time is spent in school/church activities and with horses, Perry raises horses, he and his family enjoy riding and caring for these beautiful animals at their home in Hamlin.
He doesn't collect Blenko or any other glass - but he does have Blenko items - only items that he has made. (I'd love to have photos!)

Perry said " Working with glass brings me great satisfaction, I enjoy everyone I work with, the Blenko family has been very good to me, the company is an excellent one to work for, and I enjoy the feeling of making something beautiful out of nothing". . .. . every day we do something different. . .no two days are the same". . . .not everyone can say, I work with people I like, and I do something I love....and I produce a beautiful product."

You are so very right Perry. Very few people have this kind of job satisfaction!

When you visit the Blenko Glass Factory in Milton West Virginia and are doing the self guided tour - Perry Bays chair is the one of the left nearest the fence. hjh

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Blenko Glass. Heart of Glass Blog. WINSLOW ANDERSON - Designer

Winslow Anderson in 2009 with Blenko Collectors

From teapots to automobiles, the look of the objects we buy for everyday use has often been determined by designers. The designer is challenged to find innovative solutions to items that make life efficient and visually pleasing. A designer must have creative insight and the ability to turn ideas into reality. To be successful the designer must be not only a visionary, but also one who understands the limitations of specific manufacturing methods and the desire of the consumer. Questions of form, material function and beauty come into place. Often the designer must create his own product prototypes and become involved in the process of production.

Winslow Anderson's unique spirit and style infuse the hundreds of objects he designed since he began his career in 1946. Anderson brought to his designs creatively, ingenuity and a hands on involvement in the process from beginning concept to finished product. His thirty five year career as designer for BLENKO GLASS COMPANY, MILTON, WV and Lennox China and Crystal Trenton, NJ embodied all the principles of good design; his flowing organic and geometric shaped objects are functional and elegant, utilizing the materials, glass and clay, to their fullest potential. His designs in glassware and fine china also express the concerns of industry for marketable, affordable items.

Anderson was born in Plymouth, Mass in 1907. It was not sup rising that his seaboard town nurtured in Anderson an early aspiration to design sleek, swift boats. Economic necessity, however, forced him to abandon these youthful dreams for more practical employment. His early work for a local ceramic studio, Plymouth Pottery, soon proved his talent for hand craftsmanship. It was fortuitous that Anderson's pottery was discovered by a couple who encouraged him to attend Alfred University's School of Ceramics, whose sole purpose was to produce industrial designers particularly for New York State. At Alfred, Anderson's instincts and understanding of materials flourished. His education was interrupted by military service where he served as a topographic draughtsman.

Upon returning to school a completion was held among the students they were invited to submit a drawing of a goblet. A Steuben glassblower would create the winning design during the school's annual open house. Anderson's design won.

Anderson modestly attributed his hiring as Blenko's first designer to this piece.

NOTE: Pencil drawing done in 1944 for the winning design at Alfred University.
Thank you to HUNTINGTON MUSEUM OF ART - Huntington, WV
for the above information and copy of drawing    Information from Blenko Collector Alex Staton

Retirement and Death  - From Wiki

In 1979 Anderson retired from Lenox and moved back to West Virginia where he settled in a small cottage in Milton not far from the Blenko factory. In retirement he indulged his passion for collecting, filling his small home with anything and everything that fascinated him, from pottery and glass, to paintings and souvenirs from his travels. Winslow Anderson died at the age of ninety on December 10, 2007 and was buried in the Milton Cemetery near his mother. Much of his collection and estate was willed to the Huntington Museum of Art, where an endowment was established in his name which helps to fund the conservation and acquisition of artwork for the museum's permanent collection.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Blenko Glass. Heart of Glass. WVA Birthday Vase 2017

Daily we receive text and emails asking about the WVa Birthday Vases for 2017.  We have no additional info. 

Each year Blenko Glass presents a special vase in honor of WVa 's Birthday.
For several years Blenko has also offered companion pieces ( two at a cost less than the B-day cost).
The companion pieces are stand alone artistic designer  glass items -  in our family we buy several of the companion pieces and gift during the year for weddings, birthdays or special occasions.

You'll want to contact BLENKO GLASS www.blenkoglass.com  with questions about this years

When we receive photos and info about these upcoming vases, we'll publish.

IF you live in the Charleston area - yearly the Purple Onion ( my  favorite shop in the Charleston Farmer's Market)  offers a limited edition BLENKO GLASS item in honor of WV Birthday June 20th.

Purple Onion 

(304) 342-4414

Last year a Blenko Glass Vase was created to be sold at the Cultural Center in honor of WVa Birthday.

When we receive confirmation of the above - we'll publish.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Blenko Water Bottles- An Inexpensive way to start a collection

The Water Bottle is the longest running item in the Blenko catalogue. Water bottles are still made and sold (photo # 1 Visitor Center - Water Bottles ($16- $25). The style has changed very little over the years. At one time a handle was added these are considered rare and sell for between $150 - $300 (new they were less than $5.) I recently purchased the teal green one for $100 from Dawn Weber. It has some minor factory marks and Dawn was upgrading.

Tim and Karin Alonzo of TEXAS had the largest know collection of water bottles with handles from Blenko. We hope to have photos of their collection on the blog very soon! Tim told me in 2008, WV is a great place to search for unique water bottles and other vintage Blenko.  A waterbottle with handle was recently 5/1/2017 seen at a store front in South Charleston, W.Va. 

This photo is of a Black Water Bottle made in 2005 - however , its valuable as Ebony/black is a discontinued Blenko color and a limited number of water bottles were made in this color! Collecting Blenko can be fun and educational. One doesn't have to have a lot of money or time. Blenko makes the most wonderful gifts. When you give Blenko you are giving an item that can be used, is beautiful and will increase in value with time!

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Blenko Glass. Heart of Glass Blog. Do you recall your 1st piece of Blenko Glass?

At a recent glass group meeting - we were talking about the items that began our 'obsession' with West Virginia glass. Most everyone had an item or a story. I grew up so near BLENKO and my 'obsession' wasn't for an item - - it was the beautiful colors found in antique glass panels.
Today I received this photo from a group member. She lives in Monroeville, Pa and drives down monthly to talk about glass and what 'new finds' we might have. These were her first BLENKO items. The Anderson horn she remembers setting in a window seal at her Mother’s with ivy hanging down. The decanter she reports she inherited from her Aunt. The 2nd 'horn' was the first piece of WV Glass that she purchased (this was about 20 years ago) because it reminded her of the piece from her childhood.
DO you recall your first purchase of BLENKO and/or the item that started your collection? Take a photo and share the story with us. HJH  
Note: For a 2018 publication by Geo S. 

Friday, May 05, 2017

Blenko the People - Ivan Mount ( Retired)

Ivan Mount - Finisher

  • Almost 30 years at Blenko ( received 25 year watch) .

  • Favorite thing about Working at Blenko: Loves the people, and brotherhood/friendship  among the workers. He gets to do something new and creative every day.

  • Hobbies: Watching sports, Bowling

  • Family: Wife and 3 children. Sister in law works in shipping at Blenko.

  • Favorite thing to make: Dowels (Randy Rider and others say he makes the best dowels – near perfect with no imperfections or bubbles).

  • What people should know about Blenko: Blenko has such a large variety, there is something for everyone and if you look you are sure to find something you like. Everyone in the state owes it to themselves to check it out.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Blenko the People - Charlie Chafin

Charlie Chafin – Gatherer

20+ years at Blenko in August .
Started at Blenko in 1994 at minimum wage ($5/hour) and worked up gradually by 40-50 cents every few months, with extra increases as his job title improved.

Favorite thing about working at Blenko: "Blenko is a family, and the workers are like brothers – they can joke around and get mad at each other, but will always be close and take up for one another. "

Favorite things to make: "Enjoys making big bowls – they make 25 large bowls an hour (compared to 50 small bowls/hr)" so he has more time to rest in between gathering, and can be more accurate.
Charlie also enjoys making the paperweights that are sold in the Visitors Center.

Arlon  Bayliss ( designer) –" He has a great attitude, he is very enthusiastic about the glass making process and makes the workers feel like part of the design team. "