Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fenton Baskets


The Fenton Glass Company is located in Williamtown,WV. While this is where they make beautiful and diverse pieces of art glass they also have several dealerships all over the United States. If you go to their website you can find the Fenton dealership nearest you. Fenton has also been associated with QVC and they occasionally schedule TV infomercials showing off Fenton’s newest creations.
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I have several glass baskets, five of them are Fenton baskets which I purchased through a flea market booth buy out. In the picture the lovely hobnail baskets, the light pink basket, the carnival white and the purple hat shaped basket are all Fenton Glass Baskets.
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Fenton first started making baskets in 1949. A skilled glassworker by the name of Frank O. Myers became one of Fenton’s first Basket-Handler’s. He was extremely good at it and trained many of the other glassworkers in the art of making baskets and attaching the handle.
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The process of making a basket is quite interesting, in less than half of a minute the basket handler has to attach a ribbon of molten glass to one side of the basket then twist the glass before it cools and the cooling down process is so rapid there is little time to spare. They then have to stick the twisted glass to the other side and impress each side of the handle with a handler’s mark all the while making the basket handle appear gracefully arched.

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Sometime during the 1950’s the Fenton Brothers decided that each Fenton Basket Handler should have a helper to attach the handle. These people are known as the “handle gatherer“. It is there job to judge the size of the basket and using a tool called a punty gathers the glass for the handle.
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In the 1940’s the decision was made to have each glassmaker put a mark on their basket at the base of the handles. You can view the history of the artist's marks at "http://www.blogger.com/Fenton%20Baskets". This information will not only help identify the artist it helps identify the time period in which each basket was made.
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The Fenton Art Glass Co gives tours at their plant in Williamstown, WV. You can view the process of basket making during the tour, it takes an amazing group effort to make one basket.

1 comment:

Fenton Carnival Glass said...

These Fenton Baskets are gorgeous. I just love the dazzling colors and designs. The blog was very interesting. It was nice to know about the Fenton Glass Company. The company has made a special place for itself. Thank you.