Blankity Blank Blanks

By Gloria Lopez

Reprinted from The Hobstar, October 1986


In the past years..months..days, at shows, at meetings, in my home, wherever some of us Cut Glass enthusiasts congregate, the subject comes up of...WHAT MAKES A BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF CUT GLASS?

This is a subject where, I believe, you will get many a varied opinion. But, in my opinion it is the BLANK itself. For I do not believe that you will get a beautiful piece of Cut Glass without first having a beautiful blank.

I was at a meeting several months ago where this question was asked. The person who asked the question, was, I am sure interested in finding out the answer. What ensued was, not quite a knock—down drag out fight, but a close facsimile to a knockdown drag out very heated discussion. Some of us said, "It’s the blank". While others said, "No, no, it’s not the blank, it’s the cutting!" Yet others said, "No,no, it’s not the blank or the cutting, it’s the final polishing." Then there were still others that said "It’s the pattern, if you don’t have a beautiful pattern, you don’t have a beautiful piece of Cut Glass." I am sure that at the end of this discussion, the person who had originally asked the question was more than likely sorry they had asked it, or definitely more confused about the subject than before they asked the question.

I have seen blanks that were yellow, grey, pink, sometimes a blueish gray color, and I have to believe that the color of the blank was determined by what I believe was an improper mixing of the ingredients that it takes to make the glass metal in the first place.

I have seen the Pinwheel, or Buzz pattern; which was a very prolific pattern of the brilliant period -- many glass houses cut it -- on magnificent blanks and on very poor blanks. The cutting was the same, or at least let’s say, the quality of the cutting was the same, and the polishing also; but the blank -- ahhhh, here was the difference. The magnificent beautiful white blank reflected the beautiful cutting, polishing, and pattern; while the other piece sat there in all it’s yellow glory reflecting nothing but YUK!! On the right blank -- Pinwheel is a beautiful pattern.

I was recently at the home of a friend and client who related a story to me. This friend owns a lovely tray in the beautiful Hawkes Panel pattern, which is cut on a magnificent, fabulous, super-duper blank! This friend also had other pieces in this pattern which, when put side by side, did not compare in beauty. What was the difference? It was the same pattern. The polishing was the same. The signature on it was the same. In my opinion it was the blank!

But now back to the story this friend related to me. He said, a relative was admiring the beauty of the Panel pattern tray, and turned to him and said My goodness, it is like there's nothing there; you can see right through the clear panels, and my friend simply said, "that’s the key".

I believe my friend was right, the KEY to a BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF CUT GLASS is the BLANK.
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