Happy Birthday West Virginia!
Celebrate West Virginia's 160th birthday with a beautiful piece of Blenko!
On June 20, 1863 West Virginia was admitted, 160 years ago, as the 35th state of the Union and to commemorate this historic day we have designed 160 limited and stunning pieces to be sold to the public. (2023 West Virginia Day Pieces go on sale 12 noon EST [9:00am PST] on Saturday, June 17 and will ONLY be available for online purchase).

The look and feel of a 19th century museum or library is brought to bear on our 2023 West Virginia Day piece, “Specimen.” Recalling the naturalists and scientists who traversed the earth collecting samples of natural phenomena, and carefully cataloging and preserving these samples, ‘Specimen’ is our most complex WV Day piece to date, made up of several components that come together to make one breathtaking collectable piece.

Designed by Blenko's new Creative Director, James Arnett, this piece calls to the long history - and the long geological history - of West Virginia coal: from protean bogs and ancient forests to the fuel that lit America. The piece asks questions about how we think about and preserve the fraught aspects of our energy past, and the costs in human lives and future time of our love affair with coal. The piece uses locally reclaimed West Virginia woods in contact with the striking flame gradation of our Tangerine glass bell jar dome, all protecting and enshrining a dense and hand-satined piece of our Spring Crocus glass ‘coal.’ Topping the bell jar dome is a Turquoise flame, the cool color of high heat.

Wood, coal; sand, heat, flame: glass; and the work of human hands. Many hands touch each piece of Blenko Glass, but this piece was designed to include as many of our dedicated employees as possible. Each ‘Specimen’ comes with three pieces, each with its own story of handcraft. The dome was blown and shaped by our most experienced hot shop team, and the crocus coal molded by our newest apprentices. The coal was blasted and numbered by our Customs expert, and leveled by our talented cold shop. The wood itself 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.

We wanted to start a conversation this year - and keep it going with our companion piece. Energy and light under glass has powered America for the last two hundred years – and the classic lightbulb is perhaps one of the greatest, least appreciated inventions in glass.

For the companion piece, “If It Ain’t Broke,” we designed a large-scale lightbulb vase - and with the size, shape, and finish, ask questions about our reliance on energy and glass in all parts of our daily lives. We treat ordinary glass so casually – what use would a depleted light bulb have, after all? So we toss them in the trash, and replace them, and move on with our lives. What could be less useful than a broken lightbulb? Or - what if we imagined a culture of patching, fixing, and mending, making whole what has broken?

This companion piece stops us in our tracks and asks us to think about the value(s) of glass - what it is used for, how we appreciate it (or don’t!), and how it is woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. How do we think about - or why don’t we? - our dependence on fossil fuels to keep our homes and workplaces lit and functional? What use does a ‘broken’ light bulb have?

Inspired by the large-scale forms of Claes Oldenburg and other midcentury pop artists, this crackled Crystal vase with Turquoise spiral threading brings a familiar form in larger-than-life size to your home.
Special Edition “If It Ain’t Broke” pieces and Special Edition Suncatchers are now available for presale at https://blenko.com/collections/wv-day-2023
Presale orders for "If It Ain't Broke" and the Special Edition WV Day suncatchers will ship starting Monday, June 19th but please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery.
Although we have moved our sale of the West Virginia Day piece online, we want you to come and celebrate the weekend and the release with us here on Blenko’s campus in Milton, WV. To that end - and for our very local customers - we are releasing a limited edition lighting piece to be sold through the Visitor’s Center. Reduce - reuse - recycle – we are taking the ethos and theme of our WV Day piece, and running with it. Blenko Glass Company President John W. Blenko will be on hand for the WV Day weekend in our Visitor’s Center to sign the companion, and the companion’s companion, by hand.

"Gaslighting", our second companion piece, combines the theme of energy and light and makes it literal. Each piece is a lamp handcrafted by our hot shop team in two parts, and constructed by our veteran and beloved lampmaker. Recalling classic American design from the 1930s and 40s, this lamp asks us to think creatively about how how we use glass, and how inescapable glass is to lighting our lives.

‘"Gaslighting" will only be offered in person in our Visitor Center Gift Shop. (No phone orders can be accepted for this piece).


How To Order 2023 WV Day ‘Specimen’ Piece

The first 50 'Specimen’' pieces (#1-50) will be offered via auction on our online store beginning at 12noon EST (9:00am PST) on Saturday, June 17. The auction will run through June 23 at 12noon EST (9am PST), lasting five days in total. The pieces will start with an opening bid of $160. 

The remaining 'Specimen' pieces numbered 51-160 will be offered on our website for $160 each at https://blenko.com/shop/ as individual numbered items beginning at 12noon EST (9:00am PST) on Saturday, June 17.
Please be aware that these items will sell FAST! If you are interested in purchasing a particular number, you should be paying close attention to our website at the time of launch.

We also suggest that you create a user account on our website prior to the launch and complete your shipping and payment information to avoid having to go through that process during checkout as simply placing one of these items in your cart does NOT reserve or "hold" it. This is not mandatory, only a suggestion. You will also be able to checkout as a Guest.

Also, while we cannot strictly enforce this, please limit one piece per customer. We are going on the honor system and hope you will respect our wishes so that each person may have an opportunity to own one of these historic pieces. We will be monitoring the sales closely and any households found to have purchased multiple pieces WILL be canceled resulting in the loss of ANY piece you may have purchased.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us via our website and a member of our Customer Service department will reach out. https://blenko.com/contact

As always, we appreciate your continued support and we are very much looking forward to this event!

Thank you.