Virginia’s only glass show takes place here

Posted: May 15, 2014

The Winchester Star

Valley Glasshoppers members Guylaine Pullen (left) and her husband Chip Pullen show examples of American glass similar to those that will be featured at the group’s 25th annual Glass Show and Sale this weekend.

Winchester — Glass enthusiasts or those wanting something beautiful to decorate their homes will have plenty of eye candy to choose from this weekend.

The Valley Glasshoppers’ 25th annual Glass Show and Sale will bring dealers, collectors and people who simply like American glass together to see a sample of the array of products available, said Chip Pullen, co-coordinator.

“I love glass. It is so diverse,” said Chip, of Stephenson, who is a collector along with his wife, Guylaine. “There are so many different things in the colors, the shapes, and the history of glass.”

The show will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church’s Family Life Center, 1309 Opequon St. Admission is $5.

A card for $1 off admission may be picked up at GNC Antiques, 50 West Antiques or Blue Peacock Antiques.

Valley Glasshoppers, started in 1988, is a nonprofit organization made up of collectors and dealers of American glassware in its many forms, Chip said. Part of the group’s mission is to promote awareness and education of American glassware.

The show is the group’s biggest annual event, he said. Some of the money raised by the show is used to help cover the costs of educational trips group members take to learn more about American glass.

The Glasshoppers also put part of the proceeds in the group’s Lucy Welsh Trust Fund, which donates money to three nonprofit organizations each year. Proceeds from last year’s show went to The Laurel Center, Literacy Volunteers – Winchester Area, and a children’s advocacy group.

About 15 vendors will sell different kinds of glass, with most of them specializing in a particular area — “elegant glass, kitchenware, certain manufacturers,” said Jim Coverston, co-coordinator. “Everyone has their own niche.”

Almost all of the vendors have been coming for the last decade, he said. Twenty years ago, there were probably six or seven glass shows in Virginia, but now, “this is the only one left.”

“I don't know if we just outlasted them by being stubborn or if we have something people look for, but we have a good club,” said Jim, of Front Royal.

In addition to the sale tables, the Valley Glasshoppers, the American Brilliant Cut Glass Club, and the West Virginia Glass Museum will all have displays of glass items that aren’t for sale, Chip said. The theme for the Glasshoppers’ table this year is decanters.

If people own glass they don’t know anything about, they can bring it to the show to be looked at by the club members, who between them are “experts in almost every type of American glass,” he said.

The show is always a lively event for glass lovers because it is “like being a kid in a candy store,” Guylaine said, adding that there are usually people who come in as soon as the doors open to get first crack at the merchandise.

She and her husband collect several things, but her favorite is pedestal cake plates in all colors and patterns. “I have way too many — probably 200 of them.”

Most collectors come looking for either certain manufacturers, styles, or colors, Chip said.

He likes jadite glass, which is an opaque, green-colored glass used by different manufacturers. “Once one glass company made something and it was successful, other glass companies were right behind them.”

The focus of the show, as with the club, is on American glass, most of it made between 1860 and 1960, Jim said. The biggest glass-making period during that time was the Great Depression in the 1930s, “when times were hard and people needed a bright spot.”

“With the Depression glass, a lot of it was giveaways. You bought something at the grocery or hardware store and they gave you a piece of glass,” he said. “People started sets because of that.”

Even movie theaters had “dish nights” where people would receive a glass item for coming to the movies, he said. “During the Depression, they had to give it away. The companies were actually manufacturing the glass to create jobs for the workers.”

Mount Carmel church members will have concessions for sale.

The Valley Glasshoppers meet at noon the second Tuesday of every month at Greenwood Methodist Church, 726 Greenwood Road. The meeting always features a special program about American glass.

Information

The Valley Glasshoppers will hold its 25th annual Glass Show and Sale from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church’s Family Life Center, 1309 Opequon St. Admission is $5.

For more information, call Chip Pullen at 540-974-9001 or Jim Coverston at 540-622-4921 or go to facebook.com/pages/Valley-Glasshoppers/315512155917.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com