Blenko Glass to sell vases, in honor of W.Va.’s 152nd birthday

MILTON, W.Va. — The designer of Blenko Glass in Cabell County says when creating each year’s West Virginia birthday vase, he likes to think about what life is like in the Mountain State.

“I try to think about things that are symbolic of West Virginia, people of West Virginia and of course the mountains and the forests are really important,” designer Arlon Bayliss told 58-WCHS on Friday, as he spoke of this year’s vase, that goes on sale Saturday at 8 a.m, the day of West Virginia’s 152nd birthday.

The 2015 piece is entitled “Autumn Flame,” symbolizes West Virginia trees with one single leaf, beginning with a bright red color at the top and bottom that fades into yellow with a clear center.

While designing a plan for his now ninth birthday piece with Blenko, Bayliss said he thought a lot about how trees impact West Virginians.

“A lot of the things we do are because of the trees,” he said. “Trees purify the air, they give us the oxygen that we breathe, and, of course, a lot of the recreation, building and farming is protected by trees.”

A lot of preparation goes into designing one singular piece. Bayliss said he typically starts thinking of ideas for the birthday vase one year in advance.

“As a designer, I have to think about making something that is different to the year’s past because there are collectors that want to get West Virginia birthday pieces,” he said.

Those collectors and people that want to get their hands on this year’s piece began lining up outside Blenko Glass on Tuesday. Bayliss said it was exciting to see nearly 35 people Friday morning outside, anxiously waiting to make their purchase.

Every year for the past several years, Blenko has cleared out their birthday vases in the matter of hours. Bayliss predicted the 152 vases they made will be all sold out by lunch time Saturday.

This year’s birthday vase can be purchased for $152. Other Blenko works will also be on sale Saturday, including two “Happy After Hours” pieces, “Spring At Last,” which is sold in a group of three and “Summer Shade.”