Blenko Glass Factory In Milton, West Virginia

Oct
19



Hand-blown glass is like molasses, home-canned tomatoes, and cornbread–you can’t walk into a home in West Virginia and not spot some….or a LOT. West Virginia, with its abundant natural resources, has a long history of glassmaking, although only a handful of the over 500 glass houses that once existed here still survive. Blenko is one of them. It’s a short (or long, depending on your location) daytrip to the small town of Milton between Charleston and Huntington off I-64.

*If you visit on a weekend, you can also enjoy the gigantic flea markets for which Milton is well known.




Before you go, print out a coupon here for $5 off any purchase over $25 (good through Dec. 31, 2007) at the Blenko Glass Factory gift shop.


There’s a factory observation deck where you can watch glass creation in action. The teamwork involved in crafting glass is amazing. Each person has a specific duty and they perform like clockwork. They have quaint names for each of the six jobs–the blower, the finisher, the carry-in boy, the gatherer, the bit gatherer, and the stick-up boy. (The finisher sounds a little ominous, LOL. I think they have those in the mafia, too…..) Here, you see the blower at work.


For a full list of glass houses still in business in West Virginia, check here, and if you’re planning at trip to the Fenton Art Glass factory, go soon! They’re closing. I know I will. Clearance sales!!!
Where glass goes to die….

Outside the factory, there are piles and piles of colorful pieces of broken glass. I found a woman carting off a boxful of it. I think she said at first they were going to charge her ten bucks for the box, but then they gave it to her for free. She didn’t know what she was going to do with it, but she was very excited!





Comments

  1. Kim A. says:

    Amazing, the beautiful works of art that can be created. It’s quite a talent!

    Broken glass bits? Hmm, I suppose you could use them to create a mirror or photo frame–I’ve seen that done on designer decorating shows, using other things. Or make an in-laid table top. Can you do that with glass? Ceramic bits, yes. Why not glass?

    Have a great weekend, everyone.

    -Kim

  2. Ellen says:

    Wow! Cool!

    I think I have one of the pieces – top picture on the right – unless that’s a common design and color. It was a gift from my cousin.

    What fun! All these posts and pictures of yours are making me want to move to West Virginia, Suzanne, and I don’t think my husband would go along with that. LOL.

  3. leanne says:

    They make beautiful pieces don’t they? I love to to to Milton’s Flea Market. My favorite place is called Treasure’s Galore, which is a huge book swap store, plus they have other things too. I love it. Linda the owner, plus the other girls that work there are super nice. It’s one of those places that even if your super shy like I am, you can go there and talk to the girls or other people looking for books and things and talk like you’ve been friends all your lives. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

    Leanne :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy:
    (yea, it’s finally raining)

  4. Alice Audrey says:

    I’d give the bits and pieces to my mother, who uses wine bottles in the retaining walls in her garden.

  5. Nicole says:

    I’d use them to make a back splash in my kitchen. Or to frame a mirror.

    Looks like you had fun.

  6. Crystal B. says:

    What beautiful glass. I think it would be lovely to create a glass coffee table/end table top. Like a mosaic.

  7. Tammy G. says:

    If the pieces are small enough and you have a forge you could make eyes out of them on animal heads. That is if you know your heat. It’s tricky but I’ve seen it done. But I really don’t have a use for broken colored glass. Now the clear glass star paperweight is beautiful, I really like that.

  8. Tess Harrison says:

    Gorgeous, Suzanne! Makes me wish I had one or two or several items.

  9. Maureen says:

    It looks beautiful. I would use it in a clear vase with a floral arrangement instead of those little marble like pieces of glass that covers up the oasis. I wonder if there’s a way to dull the edges to make it like sea glass.

  10. Zara says:

    Oh wow, their hand-blown glass is just beautiful! :butterfly:

    I would use the bits of glass for a mosaic of some sort or you could just take a vase or bottle and fill it with the glass. In a windowsill, that would be lovely with light filtering through.

  11. pearl says:

    I would put pieces of different colored glass in a clear lamp base, which changes the lamp from an ordinary item to a lovely decorative object that highlights the room and the furniture.

  12. catslady says:

    I love to get various glass jars and fill them with such things as colored rubber bands, even bread ties – you’d be amazed at how pretty it can look in the kitchen. I would do that with the glass pieces. And if there are any that are buffed and not sharp you could add some to a fish tank. :purr:

  13. Fannie M Wiggins says:

    What beautiful pieces. I would love to own a few pieces for my home. As for the broken glass, I have to agree with several others, put them into clear vases and place where the sun would turn it into a beautiful piece of art. How lucky that you live close to some place like that. The paperweight is really beautiful. Sorry to use the B word so much, but nothing else quite fits. 😆 Have a great day and :hug: to all.

  14. ellie says:

    I would create a soap dish for a guest room or a guest bathroom . Put various colored shapes of soaps in the pretty soap dish made from colorful glass pieces.

  15. Minna says:

    I think I saw a program on tv once where they made a wind harp (I think that’s what it was called) from glass pieces.

  16. ruth says:

    It would be wonderful to make a dream catcher as that would be striking in the sunlight especially in a kitchen window.

  17. Lily says:

    This pieces are so pretty and a side table would be so original!!

  18. Estella says:

    I would use the pieces of glass to make a mosaic in the bottom of my bird bath. Used with grout the pieces would be like tilework.

  19. Brandy says:

    Dangit! I get here late and every idea I could think of is used! *g* I second the idea for a filled vase or lamp base, and the idea of a mosaic table as well. The closest glass blowing near us (that I can remember) is Asheville, NC. But, I may have to work on the hubs to visit W.Virginia soon! *G*

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  20. Shari C says:

    The glass creations are beautiful. Thank you for the information and photos.

    Wishing everyone a happy and safe week-end

  21. TeresaH says:

    Oh, I wish I could go to the FEnton factory with you, I love their glassware!

    I think you should set up a glass display shelf and display the glass pieces on it, being on glass they can be viewed from many angles.

  22. Karen B says:

    No new original ideas but I know many years ago I might have considered putting ground-up glass in the ex’s food….. :fryingpan: slap my face.

  23. Kimmy Lane says:

    The star is beautiful. I’d use the pieces for xmas ornaments

  24. Dru says:

    If they are colored pieces of glass bits, I would create some type of paperweight and have it displayed on a bookshelf, mantel or curio cabinet.

  25. Susan says:

    I’m dumbfounded to learn Fenton Art Glass closing! :shocked:

  26. kacey says:

    I’d use it for a mosaic coffee table top. So pretty! And I’d probably put some pieces in a glass bowl by the window to catch the light.

    Wow, I so want to go and see these glass places. Way cool.

  27. RobynL says:

    Love the colored vases, wow!!!
    My first thoughts, before reading any responses, were to use the glass pieces around a mirror frame or picture frame. Also, you could use them on a small table top as long as you could grout to hide the sharp edges.
    Now I will say I’d make a stepping stone or two or three from cement or plaster(you can buy the mix in a bag and just have to add water) and before it hardens place pieces of the glass and embed them in the cement so the edges are surrounded by cement. Leave them here and there in your flower/vegetable garden or have on the front step. Very pretty.

  28. Minna says:

    I found the pictures and instructions for a wind harp. If you decide to make it I can translate the instructions for you.
    http://kirppis.yle.fi/node/259

  29. Donna says:

    We have a Libby glass factory – the other side of Shreveport, in LA. I went around last Thanksgiving with a friend, and we purchased the prettiest Christmas glasses. They had small gold rims, and Holley on them and looked like the ones that sell in the larger department stores, for around 10-15 a glass…we paid a dollar each, or less. I love bargain shopping. I also got a large water pitcher for our dining room table. It’s so fun to go to.
    One sister in law (“outlaw”) lives in Fairfax, VA and goes all over, to that “neck of the woods” …I’ll have to ask her about it. She mentions places she takes visitors to, to shop out that way.

  30. Donna says:

    P.S. – you could fill little dishes of it and place it on the bathroom sink. My friend did this with the tiny colorful fish/starfish/tiny whales that came in little bags at Albertson’s. Just a thought – I am totally NOT creative. LOL My older sister got all that. Also, my husband is the decorator at our home – he has an eye for things.

  31. Barb Wilson says:

    That colored glass would make real pretty vases u can glue them on & they off set the flowers & so forth that u put in the vase I have seen earrings also made out of glass also make colored glass makes xmas decorations to put on a tree when the lites hit it they just glow

  32. Anne M says:

    If you heat the glass pieces in a kiln, it will round off the edges when it cools. They can be used then for all the good ideas here..

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