Friday, August 30, 2013

Blenko and Fenton Glass

Any item that is handmade is precious.  The thoughts and efforts, trials and tribulations, that have gone into the production is awesome.  I do want to share with you a few such items:  they are mouth blown glass by skilled craftsmen at the Blenko Glass Company in Milton West Virginia and Fenton Glass in Williamstown also in West Virginia.  Every item is uniquely different and the colors are distinct and exquisite.

Blenko Water Bottle
The unmistakable "water bottle" is considered by many as Blenko's signature piece of glass that has been continuously produced since 1938.  The water bottles represent the months/seasons of the year and I purchased the bottle for April or spring in a soft green color.  Each bottle is hand finished.

This is information from the West Virginia Glass Outlet in Martinsburg, West Virginia:  "Because Blenko glass is made in small batches and its process is performed by hand, it is common to observe small air bubbles, lines or individual marks left by the craftsman.  These are not flaws--but rather the distinctive nature of the hand made process--which identify and magnify the uniqueness of each piece of glass."

Fenton Glass
Another well known glass company is Fenton Art Glass Company, one the largest manufacturer of handmade colored glass in the United States.  Fenton is known for its beautiful colors and patterns.  Each piece of glass is an artistic creation by skilled glass workers and decorators.

The natural resources for making glass were and still are present along the Ohio River area and in the mountainous West Virginia.  Some such resources are silica sands, sodium carbonate, lime, and various oxides e.g. lead.  How about gold or uranium?  Raw materials for firing the kilns were and still are readily available:  hardwood trees and natural gas in particular.  The Ohio River was most often used for transportation.

Nowadays, there is a keen competition from imports that provide beautiful, colorful, and practical glass ware at affordable prices.  Consumers are also more mobile and don't want to be burden with expensive breakable collections of glass.

I am going to save my pieces of Blenko and Fenton Glass and eventually hand it down to my granddaughter.  It is part of her heritage and history, something that she should be proud of in her old age when she tells her children about the glass.  In the meantime, I will enjoy the beauty of mouth blown and hand finished exquisite pieces of glass.

Thank you for visiting my blog.  
Have a long and wonderful weekend.

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