Hank Murta Adams discusses being a designer for Blenko.

Hank Adams

Hanks Adams discusses being a designer for Blenko. Oral history interview with Hank Murta Adams by Barb Elam, conducted via telephone, June 7, 2019, Bard Graduate Center. Clip length: 01:54.

Hank Murta Adams: I was the seventh designer for Blenko, and the really interesting thing to me is that there was always this respect, and this sort of aura of, quote, ‘the designer.’ There was only one designer at a time, I was the seventh, and there was a complete respect for the job and the person doing that, although they would tease the hell out of you and run you through the ringer and—but Blenko—it’s a very fascinating—and it’s actually taught me a lot in my career in non-profit and in teaching. They gave, kind of, quite a liberty to us, and as with me. And I wasn’t disdainful of it, just like, ‘Well, how hard could it be to do this? You do these shapes, and give them to the teams to make, and then they do them.’ Well, I soon realized that I had 140 families that I was responsible for their livelihood and for the company, and the longer that I was there, the more that I just sort of observed this incredible piece of history. I took it more and more seriously, and more in earnest, and yet the company was falling apart. It had no money. It was a very bizarre situation. But as I cared for the men, and as I engaged with the men—and this is when I stopped blowing glass. I started to phase the casting, but I really stopped blowing glass there because I wasn’t going to get into a competition with these dudes cause I [laughs] wasn’t that orthodox a glassblower, and it was like, ‘This isn’t my job. I’m here’—and so it became more European, which is very different than Joel Myers, and very different from some of the others; closer to Winslow Anderson, and closer to a few of the others that were not actually hands-on. But the trick with me was that I had blown glass for 10 years so they couldn’t get anything by me.