Each one of our products is handmade here at Blenko Glass Company - from sand to hand. We use moulds at our factory to ensure that we produce the same beautiful product every time. We batch our glass in large quantities so that we can produce stable, consistent colors over time. We establish quality control metrics to ensure that the products that leave our factory as first quality products conform in all of the reasonable areas – glass quality, form, measurement, size, shape, color, workmanship, etc. Not every piece of glass will hit 100% in all of those areas – no single piece of glass could.

But when we add frit to the mix, then we are adding a highly visible, easily judged, additional quality control measure to our water bottle. When we design Water Bottles or other wares with frit, we’re conscious that we are adding a complexity to process and to product that increases the difficulty level, and time of making, considerably. This is why, first and foremost, our fritted colorways are more expensive.

We have, historically, been relatively laissez-faire with our frit usage. For our popular Dart Frog Water Bottle, we just used one color (white) and no specific application technique (we just rolled the entire bottle in it). But increasingly, we’re realizing that replicable color effects can be achieved at the marvering table, giving us access to more and more nuanced and beautiful design work with frit.

When we think about replicability, we consider – how can we get the same ballpark result every time? The secret comes in one step of the process – gathering (and rolling) the glass. In order to pick up the frit (tiny glass shards!) and get them baked into our base glass, we gather hot glass from the furnace and roll that hot glass across the shards. The pattern, the shape, and the size of the frit are all variable – and so to achieve certain effects, we create the same ‘canvas’ of frit for the gatherer to roll their glass over each time. That cannot guarantee the same result every time - because aiming a piping hot and loose ball of glass at a carefully arranged pile of glass shards is tricky. But by stabilizing as many of the elements as possible, and being artful in the application of frit, you can achieve striking results – like the spiral of color on our Nebula water bottle, or the swirls of twisting yellow on Starry Night.

The results are nearly always stunning! But when we produce a fritted water bottle and we are choosing samples for photos, believe it or not, we never pick the most beautiful bottle we’ve made. We’re mindful of setting your expectations to the sweet spot for us – what can be best reproduced? – and so we select samples that look like 95% of the products we are making. We’re also mindful of the variations in color application, so we will always include pictures of multiples of the same bottle together, to show the variance that you can expect.

Every single one of your Mercury Water Bottles, for instance, will be slightly different. We realize that can create potential disappointment for those of you who fell in love with the photo sample, but we think, ourselves, that it’s actually our hallmark – proof that we handmake every single product we put out there for sale. Far from being a liability, this uniqueness is the point: each of you can come to love the specific bottle that you have.