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.

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I teach WV studies and use your
blog freqently.
Thank you
Is Mr. Anderson living? Will you interview him for the blog?