Monday, August 8, 2011

My Trip To Glass Heaven! (But First, A Doggie Report)

Of course there's always something ELSE to tell y'all before I get to the raison d'etre for the post.  This time it's not some cranky anonymous person calling me a liar, but rather my big dog, Boogie.  She has a big cyst on her left flank--apparently it's called a sebaceous cyst which isn't the correct term according to Wikipedia but everyone calls them that anyway.  I JUST got her and BooBooKitty out of boarding (or as Boogie refers to it, Doggie Hell) and as you can imagine it wasn't cheap to board them for 10 days.  I keep telling the vet he ought to thank me for contributing mightily and frequently to his kids' college funds, ha ha ha.  So now I have to go BACK to have this cyst looked at and that will involve outpatient surgery and antibiotics and changing dressings (YUCK) and at this point I'm about ready to, well, I don't know what I'm ready to do with this dog who half the time irritates the hell out of me.  She was Mom's dog, Mom's gone, and I've got Boogie, who couldn't walk in a straight line if it killed her--she's one of those dogs who curves over to the side when she walks in front of me so she can make sure I'm following her, I guess.    Update:  it's a sebaceous cyst and slightly infected so he "gave" us antibiotics and everything's hunky-dory.

So, just what did I do on my vacation besides drive a total of 2,200 miles up as far north as Cambridge, Ohio and back to southern Mississippi?  I HAD ONE FREAKING HELLUVA GREAT TIME!  My main reason for going was to attend the National Fenton Glass Society's annual convention held in Marietta, Ohio.  Fenton Glass is actually located in Williamstown, West Virginia but Marietta has more and bigger hotels and is just across the river from Williamstown.  Here's what I did once I got to my destination:
Day 1: 
Arrive in Williamstown area.  Drive upriver to see if the defunct Paden City and/or Martinsville glass factories still exist.  They don't.  Did get to see a great big nuclear power plant, though.
Wander around trying to find Fenton factory, thanking god for the GPS thingie on my iPhone.  Tent sale being held outside of factory.  Spent first of many dollars.
Check in at Microtel with Holly dog.  
Here's some of the things that came from the Tent Sale:

Key lime green handpainted elephant and dark amber handpainted egg on stand.  Both are signed by the artist.

My main mission at the Convention was to get stuff to sell at the antique mall booth as well as add to my collections, one of them being the Fenton cats.  Here are two beautiful additions: a dark green handpainted sitting cat, and a dark purple handpainted grooming cat.  The grooming cat's decorations are so cute--a little daisy, a ladybug and a pink heart smack on her nose! 

Gorgeous purple iridized fish.   

Day 2:
8:00 a.m. NFGS Newcomer's meeting at Comfort Inn.  Discover this one allows pets.  Grrrrrr--had I known that I would've stayed where all the action was.  I'm kidding about that--if you just happened to wander into the hotel during this convention you would've assumed it was a gathering of  The Old Farts & Fartesses Society.  Grey hair was everywhere!  Sensible shoes on every foot! Everyone grunted when they got up or sat down and every event featured at least three people suddenly jumping out of their chair (grunting, of course) and running to the bathroom!
So, all the newcomers are asked to tell the room where they're from.  Though I'm loathe to do it, I say "Picayune, Mississippi" and get the usual blank looks.  Then I said "It's 50 miles north of New Orleans".  Oh, OK.  The next thing I knew, one of the men walks up and says, "You're from Mississippi, huh?  Say something."  So even though I had explained where Picayune was in perfectly normal English, I knew what he wanted to hear and said in my best Blanche DuBois voice, "Wahl, honey, ah just don't know WUT to say" and batted my eyelashes at him.  Everyone laughed and he was satisfied and I did alot of silent internal grumbling about how I LIVE in Mississippi, I'm not FROM Mississippi.
Next, we newcomers were escorted into the Convention Sales Room, or as I like to call it, "The room that no one can go in except NFGS members, hardy-har-har."  As newcomers, we got to cut in front of everyone else, which was nice.  The room dazzled with mice and elephants and cats and baskets and vases and bowls and I nearly swooned with the vastness of it all.  
Spent more of many dollars on stuff, including an amberina iridized "working" elephant available only to convention attendees:

 and a beautiful handpainted and signed by the artist Burmese "Violets" basket, also only available to attendees:

One of the best parts of the convention is the Fenton Company Collector's Sale held upstairs at the factory.  We were assigned specific attendance times and when my 2:30 slot came due we drew numbers for a line position, making this all seem EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!  The convention program explains this sale: "Fenton has created some wonderful pieces available first to NFGS members."  Since the room had been open since 12:30 I assumed the really good stuff would already be gone (and wondered who you had to bribe to get the early spot) but I think I managed to snag some goodies, particularly these four cats: a little Burmese kitten, a translucent blue cat with a rhinestone pendant, a little black Halloween kitten (of course I couldn't leave without getting a black cat!), and a gorgeous pink and white satinized "Violets" cat.  All are handpainted and signed.  If you're interested, here's a link that will explain Burmese glass.

This vase is probably the most unique item I got, simply because it has those two OOAK Fenton stickers plastered on it.  OOAK stands for "One Of A Kind"!  Now, this black vase with handpainted hydrangeas isn't all that uncommon BUT what makes this one unique is (1) the yellow tag that says Lenox, and (2) it's not only signed by the artist but by Scott Fenton, Director of Sales. 

Fenton created a series of animals specifically for Lenox, and I suspect that this vase was a prototype for possible use.  From what I can determine from the Lenox website, however, apparently this was never done.  I'm just guessing about this but I do plan on researching it further.  This one I'm hanging on to.

The next installment of  My Trip To Glass Heaven will feature my evening at the Fenton auction.  I LOVE auctions, and this one was incredible (if a bit frustrating regarding my inability to get any cats).

By the way, every cent of the money spent on this trip (hotels, gas, food, glass) was earned by yours truly during a three month stint at the flea market selling whatever I could lay my hands on.  Towards the end of the three months, it was all I could do to muster up the will to go due to the freaking insane high temperatures.  Sitting outside all day long with a puny fan blowing hot air in your face REALLY makes you appreciate air conditioning.  When it's so hot, you feel crabby, your customers feel crabby, and let me just say that I won't be going back until it cools off enough so that the "Feels Like" temperature isn't 113! 


  1. Dont you just HATE it when people do that?! (in refrence to the Blanche thing) When I went ot New york My frist time, all these people wanted me to go horse back riding with them and show them to rope (Being from Texas an all) So when the day came to go rid in the park I purposly mounted the horse backwards and said "HELL, I dont know how to do this... HAW - YEE!" :P

  2. Oh I am so in love with your finds! Of course you know I love the cats! My fav is the white one with pink flowers although the blue one with a heart on it's nose is also very cute. Of course there is the Black cat and it's very cute...oh I love them all. Now that vase that is OOAK is spectacular! Hope you can find out more about it. I knew you were killing yourself in the heat selling stuff for a reason and I must say you were determined and looks like it paid off! hugs, Lindag

  3. I bet your trip felt sooo much better because you worked hard to get there! Good on you Christine!
    I would have loved to watch you there....not in a weird way of course but to see your face when you saw all this Fenton in one place! The OOAK items would be really nice to have!
    Welcome back Miss Mississippi! lol

  4. OOAK. I always loved that acronym lol. Former ebay artist myself, so I'm familiar with OOAK.

    Gee so many wonderful things!! Glad you had fun, glad you found some finds, glad the dog is better (my Chris had kitty laryngitis, and I was sure he had throat cancer or whatever, because my beloved pets ALWAYS get the bad stuff, you know, because the powers that be WANT me to suffer, but so far all is well).

    But you worked so hard, I'm glad you got a fun vacation!! Yay!

    Funny, I'm on the phone a lot, and people have told me I have a southern accent, a NY accent and an accent of undetermined origin. pffft do we Californians have an accent? When asked, I tell them "I'm from the south ... (pregnant pause here) then I say "southern California hahahaha (I'm usually the only one laughing lol).

    So next time someone wants an accent out of you, I'd give them something completely different, like chinese or something lollll....


  5. I love the glass but I want that tea towel in the background! It's a doggy dog world around here too! Always something!

  6. Sounds like you had a great time. I really like that vase.

  7. I love the cats! ALL of them. Sounds like a great trip, aside from the knuckleheads at NFGS and the requests to "talk that southern talk". You rose to the occasion and they are probably still talking about it and what a hoot "that gal" was.
    Our dog has those darn cysts too. We spend more on vets than we do on our own medical stuff.