Art Glass fan base worldwide
August 1, 2005
By DAVID PAYNE Sr.
Parkersburg News, Parkersburg, WV
WILLIAMSTOWN - People from virtually every corner of the country
and across the world gathered in Williamstown Sunday to help
Fenton Art Glass mark a century of red-blooded, American-made
The Fenton parking lot had as many vehicles with out-of-state
plates as ones from West Virginia and Ohio. People drove from
Nebraska, Arkansas, Nevada, Iowa, Connecticut, Tennessee,
Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Kansas, Maryland, Arizona, Georgia,
Alabama, Indian, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina,
Illinois, New Jersey, Kentucky, Minnesota and Florida.
The event began Friday and ends Tuesday.
Norma Fennel drove all the way from Vina, Ala., an area known for
the Sunshine brand dog food produced there.
Fennel has been collecting Fenton pieces for almost 40 years and
has about 100 pieces.
"I like it because it's American made. You don't see much of that
anymore. I collect Fenton, really, because I'm too old to do
anything else," she said.
She had pieces signed by members of the Fenton family and had her
picture taken with Tom and Scott Fenton, two men Fennel considers
- and treated like - celebrities.
Fenton Art Glass is the largest manufacturer of handmade colored
art glass in the United States and has 450 employees. Its products
are available for sale in more than 4,500 retail shops across the
Fenton has crafted a special collectible for the event. The
Centennial Celebration Exclusive is a Mandarin Red Sherbet glass.
The mould was designed by company founder Frank L. Fenton during
the 1930s. The piece is only available on the grounds at Fenton
during the Centennial Celebration.
One Sunday highlight was the Centennial Collector Auction held at
Marietta College. Shelly Fenton Ash also signed pieces. Just Us
Friends and the Mid-Ohio Valley Players provided musical
Dozens of vendors sold their wares in an arts and crafts area.
Among them was Belmont resident Eddie Seese, a former employee of
Ritchie County marble-maker Mid-Atlantic of West Virginia Inc. and
Fenton Art Glass.
"I love working with glass. You create a vision of your own art
and then try to pull that off in glass," he said.
The event also attracted area residents who had never seen the
facility before. Sunday was the first time Ritchie County resident
Steve Minardi had visited.
"I've never been here before. I think it's a great place," he
Minardi couldn't help but notice that many people traveled
thousands of miles for the event.
"I saw on the sign-in sheet where someone from India had signed.
Some people we took a factory tour with were from California," he
Tuesday's schedule of activities include:
8 to 11:30 a.m. - Glassmaking School.
9 to 11 a.m. - Glassmaking Workshop (Master Craftsman Seminar).
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - QVC Broadcast "live" from Fenton.
1 to 3 p.m. - Glassmaking Workshop (Master Craftsman Seminar).
1:30 to 3 p.m. - Signing with QVC Host and George Fenton.
2:30 to 4 p.m. - Fenton Family Tours.
[PHOTO CAPTION ABOVE]
People browse through items at the Fenton Art Glass Centennial
Celebration event Sunday in Williamstown. (Photo by Dave Payne