Blenko Lights Up Your Life
It’s never not time for a feel good story, especially one that you can read by the glow of a glamorous lamp. To help create that light, a feel good story from Milton, West Virginia by way of Rejuvenation in Portland: the welcome reissue of Blenko handmade glass lamps. These lamps will look familiar to those who troll eBay or thrift stores, or whose parents and grandparents didn’t throw things away every three years. Lucky, those folks.
The traditional lamps are hand blown glass in graceful shapes and rich saturated colors of blue, amber and amethyst. Rejuvenation is reissuing a whole line of these exuberant blown glass beauties originally produced from 1947 to 1963. Blenko was a family company (it still is) begun by English immigrant William Blenko. In 1921, they began hand blowing translucent colored glass, creating a line of vases and decanters. The tableware morphed into lamps by the 1950s. The company heyday lasted into the 1960s (think I Dream of Jeanie), but in 2011, they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
This new joint venture with Rejuvenation will certainly rejuvenate them. The glassware will be blown (using traditional methods) in West Virginia and then assembled and wired in Rejuvenation's Portland facilities.
The line nicely expands Rejuvenation's mid-century offerings beyond the Sputnik style they have concentrated on, into a less googie, more elegant look that can blend with any number of other styles and periods of furniture.
The line includes five table lamps, each with its own silhouette (Cylinder, Round, Flare, Wave, and Carafe), offered in a “variety of vibrant colors.” Decorative finials are taken from the “hallmark” decanter stoppers found in Blenko’s earlier tableware. The lamps also include an adjustable harp, with a base made of sustainably harvested Eastern walnut, and drum shade in burlap or linen.
Prices begin at $450.
Pam Kueber at the mid-century focused RetroRenovation website has a good write-up and excellent appreciation of the lamps. (If you haven't seen her over-the-top website, check it out.) She's even running a giveaway of a lamp at her site (enter by Friday November 9). And you can also visit the Blenko Museum, which exists in cyberspace only, though for a few years it was based in Seattle and mounted a few gallery exhibitions there.