Blenko Glass: Keeping fragile traditions alive

Full Frame

Blenko GlassKnown for its hand-blown glass, Blenko Glass Company keeps a fragile tradition alive.

Hand-blown glass is a time honored tradition but, one that is struggling to survive.

Nestled in rural West Virginia, Blenko Glass Company is trying to keep this fragile tradition alive. Its colorful, creative, artistic hand-blown pieces are sought by collectors all over the world.

“It actually takes a certain way that your brain is wired, to be able to do this,” said Ron Hinkle, vice president of operations at Blenko Glass Company. “Some people will catch on and some people will never catch on because they simply don’t have that type of dexterity.”

But when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2011, the mighty furnaces in Milton, West Virginia came close to shutting down forever.

And with Hinkle’s help, the furnaces are burning bright again.

Blenko Glass: Keeping fragile traditions alive

World famous Blenko Glass Company keeps the fragile tradition of hand-blown glass alive.

“I’m trying to bring new ideas in here about production methods. Things that some of these guys have never seen. And, in all fairness, I have to say they do things that I’ve never seen before.”

This week, Full Frame contributor Sean Callebs discovers that while Blenko may look like an art studio, the artisans of this traditional craft are learning how to succeed in a modern business world.

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