Our 2023 West Virginia Day piece has been our most complicated - and most involved - piece to date. It was designed to get as many of our hands on it as possible - because Blenko is only possible because of our hand touch and our hand-making.

Our Junior-most apprentices, under the watchful eyes of Charlie Chafin and our facilities supervisor Mike Chastain, worked on dumping and hand-stamping the Spring Crocus coal piece. From there, that piece was taken to Mike and the boys in our cold working station to be ground level to stand up. From there, it was roughly sandblasted by our Creative Director, numbered by our Customs Supervisor Jenni Gonze (who also painstakingly ‘labeled’ each dome!), and then frosted by Sue Mount (who just celebrated her 45th anniversary with the company!) and the shipping department.

The domes were blown by our most experienced hotshop - who patiently rolled the lip, struck the color, attached the delicate flame cloche knob, and carried it in — and it was not an easy piece to carry in! Domes are a common glass form but not for Blenko - but our veteran blower Perry Bays had no trouble passing it on to the capable hands of Chris Chapman, who hit the rhythm, and brought us over the finish line earlier than we ever have before.

 

The wood was sourced from the factory campus, the family farm of our VP, and the inherited hardwood cache of our Director of Customer Experience. Our master mould maker Daniel Chapman hand-cut each plinth, and had some extra hands from our Maintenance crew to help plane and polish each piece.

But it doesn’t end there - and Toril Lavender, our staff photographer, put in a hard day’s work in the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine to get the stunning photos you see and by the time these pieces were completed, we’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the factory who didn’t contribute materially to each piece! (And we can’t forget our tour guides and Visitor’s Center employees who heroically resisted spilling the secret before it was time!) And of course, the whole thing comes down to our expert shipping department to get those finished pieces to your front door.

Blenko glass is made by hand - and for something as special as this, it was all hands on deck. We make art / glass here at Blenko, and are proud to bring this museum-quality piece to your home displays of Blenko Glass. All of our names wouldn’t fit on the placard, though, and so we wanted to take the time to spell it out.

‘Specimen’
WV Day 2023
Authors: Everybody at Blenko
Materials: Richly-colored glass and super-local WV wood

Thank you from all of us for your continued, dedicated support.