Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

17671 Candlewood Court
Penn Valley, CA, 95946
United States

415.433.4656

Back in the 1950s, when he was fresh out of college, Wayne Husted was hired as Director of Design at the venerable Blenko Glass Company in Milton, West Virginia. During his ten years at Blenko, he created over 60 new designs every year, resulting in over 600 unique designs, many of which are included in museum collections and sought after by private collectors nationwide. Think of mid-century modern glass design, and you picture Wayne’s distinctly sculptural, often nonfunctional “architectural scale” designs.

 

Now, at the age of 88, Wayne is still designing in glass, working with glass studios nationwide, developing new techniques that push the properties and capabilities of hand-blown glass in the creation of big and colorful art glass. He is currently working with Effetto Glassworks, Slow Burn Glass, and Public Glass in the San Francisco Bay Area on the new Jazz in Glass Collectors Series of designs that recall his work of the 1950s, as well as other new art forms in glass.

 

This website will have a blog “Can We Talk?”, written by Wayne Husted, and a store in which Wayne’s current designs, including the Jazz in Glass Collectors Series line of art glass, will be sold.

Can We Talk?

Wayne Husted writes about his experiences and career beginning as design director of Blenko Glass Company from the 1950s to 1960s, and subsequently as a product designer for many U.S. and international manufacturers. He also discusses his current work, including the Jazz In Glass Collectors Series, and invites readers to ask questions about his designs and their art glass collections.

 

THE ID AND THE OLD

Wayne Husted

I designed the "Id" vase at Blenko Glass Company in 1954.

I designed the "Id" vase at Blenko Glass Company in 1954.

Recently, Blenko glass collector Steve Stoops of Stevens Fine Art (Phoenix, AZ) sent me an inquiry about a vase that he’d acquired. It was the Id vase that I’d designed at Blenko in 1954, and he asked me what had inspired the design.

THE ID

The Id vase is three-sided, about 23 inches tall, in charcoal gray, with a freely blown out relief of abstract figures. It’s a rare find, as not many were made.

“Glad you asked, but it’s a long explanation,” I replied. In the summer of 1954, I went to Black Mountain College in Ashville, NC, to visit with my friends David Weinrib and Karen Karnes, who were teaching ceramics. (More about them in a later blogpost.) Black Mountain College brought in famous avant-garde people like Albert Schweitzer, Robert Rauschenberg, Josef and Annie Albers, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham to conduct workshops and give lectures. At the time of my visit, Marie-Louise von Franz, a Swiss Jungian psychologist, was there as a guest lecturer. She was very approachable, and I introduced myself to her and had many conversations with her during that week.

The Id vase was inspired by those conversations. ML von Franz preached that there are two levels of reality—the psychological inner world of dreams and myths, and the outside world of daily experiences. And she explained the Freudian concept of the Id. Here is a simplified explanation from Wikipedia:

The id (Latin for "it"), is the unorganized part of the personality structure that contains a human's basic, instinctual drives. Id is the only component of personality that is present from birth. It is the source of our bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly our sexual and aggressive drives. The Id contains the libido, which is the primary source of instinctual force that is unresponsive to the demands of reality. The id acts according to the "pleasure principle"—the psychic force that motivates the tendency to seek immediate gratification of any impulse—defined as seeking to avoid pain or unpleasure (not 'displeasure') aroused by increases in instinctual tension.

Jungian psychologist Marie-Louise von Franz, and Carl Jung's popular book about images from the subconscious.

Jungian psychologist Marie-Louise von Franz, and Carl Jung's popular book about images from the subconscious.

When I returned to Blenko after my week with von Franz, I was determined to create a piece that would explore my id, the personal dark images that I harbored in my subconscious.

Back in the outer world of daily reality, I brainstormed in the Blenko shop with an electrician-welder about how to make a mold for the piece I imagined. We went out to the yard where there were some junk iron plates and selected one. I drew the figures that I conjured up from my id onto the iron plate with chalk. The welder cut each of three figures out of pieces of the plate with an acetylene torch, and then these pieces were hinged together on two sides to make a mold that could be opened after the figures are blown through the cut-outs. It was a lot of fun!

That Bill Blenko, Sr. let me put this design into the Blenko line is oh so typical of how this man appreciated and respected the work of the artists he hired from Alfred University.

 

One of my "Horse and Rider" vases.

One of my "Horse and Rider" vases.

The Jungian influence is still strong, and 60 years later, I created what I call the “Horse and Rider” vase pictured above. Jung’s interpretation of dreaming of a horse was that you usually were dreaming of your own basic animus or self. How you commanded the horse of your dream told of how you were commandeering your life. I had the horse and rider figures cut out of sheet glass using a waterjet cutter, and then these were heated to 600 degrees, and applied to the side of the vase during the glass blowing process. This is an uncommon process in blown glass, and only six Horse and Rider vases were made, each in a different combination of colors.

CREATING NEW USES FOR OLD STUFF IS FUN

Like the Id vase, another of Blenko’s very popular designs was cut from rusted scrap metal. A stone’s throw from the Blenko plant, in the same pile of junk metal we used for the Id vase mold, I found an abandoned cornhusker.

A cornhusker is a machine that has a metal tubeabout the size of a barrel, cut full of holes. Dried corn husks are shoveled into it and as it tumbles, driven by a small motor, the dried kernels are stripped from the husk and into a pan below. “Hot damn!” I said to the welder, and before he had even taken off his welder’s face shield we were making a mold from the junked corn husker. The holes were already in the tube so all we had to do was cut out two sections and hinge them into a mold. When molten glass was blown into the mold, it flowed freely out of the holes. The size of the “bubble” varies based on the thickness and temperature of the glass. I named that vase “Vintage”, but now I call it the Cornhusker vase.

The Vintage, or Cornhusker vase in tequilla sunset that I designed at Blenko in 1960. On the right, a hobnail pattern in cranberry over opal is vintage and by Fenton Glass.

The Vintage, or Cornhusker vase in tequilla sunset that I designed at Blenko in 1960. On the right, a hobnail pattern in cranberry over opal is vintage and by Fenton Glass.

The Cornhusker vase was a very successful design for Blenko. It was made for many years in several colors, and I think we made it in two sizes.

The “Hobnail” vase, pictured next to it, has a similar bubble pattern, but the hobnail texture, a traditional Victorian pattern, is in the mold, which is made of cast metal.

In case you were wondering, I did not invent bubble wrap.