The Specht's have referred to the farm we live on as the old homeplace since 1918. I have included a picture of my family that you are free to use on the Blenko Project web page as well. From left to right sitting on the fireplace hearth is Kayla, Debbie, and Bruce with Katie sitting on the floor.I should add that this is in our new home that we are just completing construction. This has lots of areas to display what has turned out to be quite a large collection of Blenko. We got started, as most people who haven't had the pleasure of living in West Virginia, when we caught the broadcast of "Hearts of Glass " on PBS. For some reason it just "clicked" with me since I grew up in a large Methodist church that had incredible stained glass windows. Now I would like to be able to say that it was Blenko Glass in those windows, but I have no way to know. The colors reminded me so much of the panels that depicted the life of Christ and the clothing and other details that it touched me on a very emotional level. I had already assembled a large collection of Southern Highland Guild Pottery from the likes of W.J. Gordy and Charles Counts and this just connected with the whole handmade or handcrafted nature of items that my family identifies with. Debbie and I set out to research and try to start a collection. After reading Leslie PIna's book "Blenko: Cool Glass of the 50's and 60's" we set up an Ebay account and jumped into the fray. We learned real fast that Ebay is unlike any auction we had ever encountered. Lots of different strategies we had to learn before we ever won our first auction, but learn we did, so that now I can say Ebay has been great.
But that only accounts for a little over half of our collection. Since I was originally raised in Georgia and still have real estate interests, family and friends there, we have found ourselves making the thousand mile trek several times a year. So what better way to take a break from the road than to do a little antiquing. We have also made trips annually to South Dakota for my daughters competition in National Pedal Pulls and south Florida to visit other family. Of course we have made, at last count, three separate trips to Milton to watch the craftsmen at work in the Blenko factory which was an incredible experience for the girls to see. My youngest daughter, Kayla, has definitely got the Blenko "bug". She has studied all the Pina books as well as the Eason Eige reference book and is a real lifesaver when it comes time to searching the antique stores and estate sales we frequent. She has more than once popped up behind me with a great big grin and holding up a piece that the rest of us overlooked or stopped me with the dreaded words of "Dad, that's got a crack". Many of our best pieces in the 600+ piece collection are finds in small out of the way places we stopped at during our trips.
"Two goals that I set for our collection was to complete a set of '36-37 "Cobweb" vases and a complete set of Gump's decanters. The first we met this spring (2008), and just in time for an exhibit of part of our collection at the Kemp Center for the Arts in Wichita Falls, Texas. Several of the pictures are related to that exhibit, or were made in preparation of a catalog of the pieces that were on loan. I am sure that with a little luck and time we will eventually be able to complete the Gump's collection as well.
"Our collection spans almost every year of Blenko's production, and rightly so, since it all reflects the beauty and craftsmanship distinctly Blenko." - Bruce Specht