MILTON, W.Va. -- Cindy Beck said she is excited to hear that Blenko Glass Co. is back to boosting business again.
Beck and her husband, Jim, traveled from Columbus, Ohio, to surround themselves in all things glass Saturday at Blenko's fifth annual Festival of Glass in Milton.
The couple cut lead cames and smoothed triangular-shaped pieces of glass to create their own stained-glass panels during one of the many workshops at the festival.
This is the third time the Becks have attended the festival.
"It's good to know Blenko is doing better again," Cindy Beck said as she cut another piece of lead to separate the glass pieces. "I'd hate to see art like this lost."
Blenko Glass -- which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2011 -- has seen an increase in production and account numbers in the past year, Vice President Katie Trippe said.
In recent years, high natural gas prices and the latest recession have hurt the nation's only factory that makes mouth-blown, hand-pressed glass products. Recent lower natural gas prices and an increased interest have caused sales to surge, she said.
"We're feeling good," Trippe said. "We're making a very strong effort to move forward."
The festival started as a localized event, Trippe said, but has since gained the attention of residents from other states.
The Becks traveled to the Mountain State for the event because they enjoy "the whole big Blenko family," Jim said.
Others visited from Texas, California, Missouri and beyond for the two-day festival that kicked off Friday, Trippe said.
"There are people with a passion for Blenko all over the United States," Trippe said. "[The festival]
is starting to grow now that people are learning we are doing this kind of event, and they truly are interested."
Lewisburg resident Kathleen Martin is definitely interested: She owns more than 100 Blenko Glass products.
Martin and her husband, Scott Maxwell, got into glass-making mode for the glass-blowing workshop. With an experienced instructor, Martin and five other participants created a piece of handmade glass from start to finish.
The couple got to blow and make at least four glass pieces each for their first time during the workshop.
Martin said that, even though she accidentally dropped and broke a piece of glass, her instructor was quick to grab a new piece for her to continue the process.