The Museum of American Glass in West Virginia

Special Exhibits At The Museum

Present Exhibit


Some of our past exhibits.

Rick Ayotte Paperweights.
Provided by Gordon Park

Thank You Gordon

Photo of the display at The Museum

Other photos will be added after the exhibit is removed so be sure to visit the Museum to view
this wonderful collecton of Ayotte paperweights




AFGWU Display

One corner of the Museum has been designated for display of items of the American Flint Glass Workers Union archives. Click on What's New to see how the archives found a new home in MAGWV.


   



Blenko Man

Blenko Man, a sculpture assembled from colorful Blenko glass vases and other glass forms, was dedicated on October 19, 2007 during the grand re-opening celebration of the Museum of American Glass in West Virginia. The near life-sized cowboy resides in a sidewalk display window of the museum's new location in Weston.

Blenko Man is the idea and gift of Rock Wilson, of Pennsboro, WV who has been collecting Blenko Glass Co. glass for almost 20 years and was drawn to Blenko because "Blenko glass is fun and I love the odd forms, vibrant colors and fantastic sizeā€¦.some pieces are 3 to 4 feet tall."

Because Blenko made vases shaped like heads and ashtrays shaped like hands and feet, Wilson thought that a man could be created. As a friend and business associate of Dean Six, founder and director of the museum, he wanted to contribute to the museum yet wasn't sure how to put it together. Then last fall, fate intervened when internationally recognized sculptor John Zidek moved to Pennsboro and a partnership was born.

John Zidek has exhibited at Art Expo NY and has pieces in the collections of such well known people as Kenny Rogers, Waylon Jennings and Ross Johnson, former CEO of Nabisco. In addition he was an invited Artist at Planetfest 1997-NASA Celebration of Rover Landing on Mars and has a large installation at the Fox Cities Children's Museum in Wisconsin. He has worked with several materials, but currently is focused on copper wire sculpture which works so well for Blenko Man. Thus Zidek took on the project eagerly.

Mr. Wilson provided 18 glass objects from his personal collection noting that it was hard to give up the piece that forms the right arm as it is signed by Richard Blenko, fourth generation president of the firm. In selecting the glass to be used, Wilson tried to include as much variety as possible in color, size and shape as well as age including pieces from the 1960's until the present time. A problem arose when he had only one hand and one foot, but the Blenko factory graciously made a special production run of hands and feet that were originally made in the 1970's. (The hand represents the company's outline logo indicating that the products are handmade.) The only minor glitch was that the glass molds are only for left hands and feet, yet the Blenko Man proudly lifts aloft his right left hand.

A western theme was selected to use the glass cactus, steer heads and cowboy hat available in Wilson's collection. Originally the cowboy hat was to be of clear glass, but his two year old son made a move that caused a shift to a rare ruby colored one instead. The hats are currently in production in clear and topaz.

Adding to the western style, Blenko Man sits surrounded by sand and cactus creating a little bit of desert in West Virginia.

Showcased inside the museum is beautiful American made glass arranged by form and or by company. It is amazing to see how many glass houses once operated in the region of Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Once a thriving industry, there are only a few handmade glass companies still in business and one is Blenko which began in 1893. Located in Milton, WV its colored glass for stained glass windows and architecture has long been widely used. And the lovely shapes and colors of its decorative and utilitarian wares can be found in homes throughout the country.