The Festival of Glass was established as a way to celebrate the lost history and heritage of American glass manufacturing and design, and in particular, the once-booming art glass industry in West Virginia. The long weekend event offers glassworking classes and live demonstrations of technique from local and regional artists, auctions for speciality and one-of-a-kind pieces, a vintage glass sale, food trucks, local vendors and artists, and live music.
In keeping with tradition, Blenko Glass Company has designed a specialty decanter for the Festival. “Square Peg” is a sharply angled, square-necked decanter and flared lip with a watercolor swirl across its midsection, topped with a blown stopper. These pieces will be limited to sale at the Visitor Center.
Continuing a tradition of honoring other iconic glassmakers and designs, Blenko will pay homage to Whitefriars Glass, a midcentury British glass manufacturer with a penchant for rich colors, wild textures, and groovy midcentury geometries. Blenko will be offering a limited edition piece inspired by trailblazing designer Geoffrey Baxter, an organically geometric, pinched flask decanter called “Square Wave,” available in two colors.
Blenko will also be releasing a commemorative event suncatcher in Topaz and t-shirts with the 2023 festival art will be available online and at the Visitor Center.
Additionally, Blenko will be selling a limited edition poster for the event designed by Charleston, WV’s own Basecamp Printing. This edition of 100 will sell out fast at $20, and only available in the Visitor Center during the weekend of August 4-6th while supplies last. No phone orders will be accepted for this poster or Limited Edition Festival pieces! The Visitor Center will also feature square-shaped and groovy pieces from Blenko’s swinging sixties vault, as well as the more recent Block vases and lamps.
Friday, August 4th, will offer a full roster of experiences, where visitors can work alongside our skilled craftsmen to blow their own iconic 384 water bottles in large or miniature versions, make windchimes and nightlights, or garden mosaic stepping stones. Other opportunities such as Dalle de Verre art and “Design Your Own” experiences will also be available.
Blenko’s social media will be live much of the day for those unable to attend, featuring glassworking demonstrations from both Blenko and visiting artists. Pieces blown during these demonstrations will be available for auction at a Saturday evening event benefiting the launch of Blenko Glass Company’s nonprofit foundation.
Class tickets will be available Wednesday, July 5th on Blenko’s website.
All glass produced during workshops and classes will be shipped to participants and will NOT be available for local pickup.
Many of the public events are concentrated on the main festival day, Saturday, August 5th, when Blenko’s factory campus will be opened to the public for a day full of classes, demonstrations, food, drink, and music. Local artisans, vendors, and food trucks will be set up on the factory campus. Glassblowing demonstrations can be watched from the Observation Deck of the factory floor, as well as at sites around the factory campus, thanks to visiting artists from Mobile Glassblowing Studios of Georgia and earth mould blowing by Blenko’s own Alex Burdette. We encourage visitors to bring blankets or chairs to picnic and listen to live music and watch live glassblowing.
The Visitor Center will feature a wide selection of current line items and one of a kind pieces, including glass by Blenko’s weekend demonstrator James Woodson. A vintage Blenko Glass sale will be held on Saturday morning at the neighboring VFW Hall on Bill Blenko Drive, organized by Lion’s Head Relics of Virginia.
Blenko Glass Company President John W. Blenko will be on hand at the Visitor Center on Saturday and Sunday, August 5-6, 2023, to sign the special Festival of Glass pieces and other purchases from our Visitor Center gift shop.