Blenko debuts, sells out of state birthday pieces


Blenko Glass Company revealed its annual state birthday piece, titled Patience’s Prize, Saturday for the 153 anniversary of West Virginia’s statehood.

The piece, a jade-tinted fish designed by Arlon Bayliss, paid homage to the state’s fishing industry and local legends.

“This was Arlon’s last year designing the West Virginia piece, and he saw it as an opportunity to connect his own memories of fishing in the state and our glass workers’ fishing tales— tall and true— to our state’s culture,” said Dean Six, Blenko’s vice president of marketing and sales.

Two companion pieces accompanied Patience’s Prize: 12-inch blue and amber vases that were both shaped like a leaping fish.

“By noon on Saturday, we almost a hundred and thirty pieces,” Six said.

In addition to the annual state birthday piece and its companions, Six said the company debuted several other limited edition designs.

“This year we had options: three new pieces were offered in Charleston. One was made for First Lady Jo Ann Tomblin, one for the West Virginia Culture Center and Museum and one for Capitol Market. They’re all gone by now, so having that alternative option wasn’t a bad thing for sales or collectors.”

Six said the Capitol Market piece was designed to replicate the Capitol dome, the First Lady had a graceful flat sided pitcher that faded from blue to crystal, and the museum cobalt blue with topaz on foot.

“There were lots of people and we had lots of good fun,” Six said. “We had catered food on site this year, people were—and always are— enthusiastic about the release.”

Six said the next step for Blenko will be preparing for the Festival of Glass celebration in August.

“We always design special pieces for that, and we’re exploring the Culture Center and working with them to pay tribute to our West Virginia congressional staff. Those pieces will be widely available,” Six said. “We’re always making specialty pieces for someone in America, those two projects are the next local missions.”

Lexi Browning can be contacted at brown[email protected]