Blenko Glass, in Milton, WV, is launching an elegant line of fully handcrafted glass called “New World Cameo”. This visually articulate product combines the 125 year history of exceptional glass by Blenko with a two thousand year old glass legacy of cameo glass carving and the amazing developments in West Virginia by Kelsey Murphy and Bob Bomkamp at the now closed Pilgrim glass. The development of cameo glass to a level never achieved in history was the bold addition to glass history by the Pilgrim team. Pilgrim ceased production in 2001. Kelsey Murphy could not stop creating her art and continued to train and teach glass artists at several other factories in West Virginia.
It is one of Kelsey’s past students, Jenni Gonze, who brings the amazing developments and learned glass carving skills to the fires and carving booth at Blenko. Gonze leads the work at Blenko for custom and personalized commemoratives and trophies. Yet her creative skills yearn for a greater canvas. Working with master glass blower Mark Davis and his skilled team the multilayered Blenko glass blanks are produced. Gonze then “sees” the layers of color and design within the completed glass blank and creates art to reveal her vision. The processes she uses are those developed over decades by Kelsey and her compatriots and handed down to Gonze while working with Kelsey for several years as a glass carver.
The idea of “New World Cameo” began with Kelsey who adopted the use of powdered glass picked-up onto a ball of hot glass to create layers of color. The process was used in the early 20th century by French and other high end European art glass manufacturers. In the hands of Kelsey and diverse West Virginia glass makers this “new world’ evolution on classic tradition from the “old world” became a new artistic language in glass.
The creation of the imagery and the slow process of hand carving, using pressured air and sand, to remove thin glass layers to reveal what lies beneath can be consuming. The results more than justify the process and time. Uncommon to rare creations in art glass are born.
Blenko "New World Cameo" will be available in very limited quantities in early 2019. Initial plans include select offerings only on the Blenko Company web site but for now they will be only on eBay at https://www.ebay.com/str/blenkoglassco
Blenko is pleased to participate in a two thousand year old art glass process while bringing 21st century West Virginia “New World” images and techniques to art and glass lovers. In joining Gonze and the Kelsey Cameo tradition, Blenko becomes a significant chapter in a long and evolving glass legacy. To learn more about "New World Cameo" and the direction it’s limited art and production takes follow us on the Blenko website or on our social media pages.