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W.Va.'s 150th birthday vase by Blenko has heart theme

MILTON, W.Va. -- Blenko Glass is producing limited-edition vases to commemorate West Virginia's 150th birthday.

The Milton-based glassmaker will make 150 of the 11-inch vases. They'll be available to the public for $160 and go on sale June 22.

The Herald-Dispatch reported the vase is made of light blue and crystal glass and is called "Birthday Hearts for West Virginia."

Blenko Vice President Katie Trippe said the company wanted to be a part of celebrating the state's sesquicentennial celebration.

Blenko has been making hand-blown glass products since 1893, including glass for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

West Virginia joined the Union as the 35th state on June 20, 1863.

"As I thought about a theme for this important Blenko birthday piece, my mind kept returning to how West Virginians hold each other in their hearts, to their generosity, hard work and love," designer Arlon Bayliss said. "The priceless skills of our mold-makers and blowers have led to a remarkable commemorative piece that not only celebrates love but is made with love too."

On June 21, Blenko's factory in Milton plans to offer other heart-themed vases for sale in two sizes. There are 150 of these vases available in cobalt blue and topaz. The vases have hearts stamped on two sides -- one representing the past, the other the future.

Blenko also will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 22. Visitors will receive a free commemorative medallion while supplies last.

A judge approved a reorganization plan in December for Blenko, which had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2011. The company sells its products in 45 retail locations throughout the state.


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