How long have you been glassblowing?
Have been my whole life and I’ve only had 1 returned pipe in 21 years. The industry seems exciting now because it just opened up but it’s also become foreign. Before it was a tight-knit community where everyone was trying to figure it out and survive; keep an industry alive that the world doesn’t want. Now it’s widespread and globalized, mass produced.
How’d you fall in love with it?
Humboldt boxes with pipes were the inspiration! When I was a kid I was under the legal age and I used to have weed mailed to me from Humboldt in the 90s. Put pipes in the boxes. “What magician is making this? How did they make it?” Gold/Silver fumed pipes, amazed by it. Figure out what I needed to get going and got a hold of it and started in the kitchen. No idea what I was doing. blown away by the fact that you could take this thing that allows you to connect to people and the world. Connecting with others that know the secret and wanted to share the secret, and it was a secret.
What’s inspired you from the jump to continue?
Being a young and free spirit. Generations of people all within the fold of the secret that is cannabis and glass blowing. The stuff of legends – living a free life – I knew that cannabis was innocent and making pipes was an innocent thing. Remember going to Barnes & Noble’s and got a book on speaking Dutch. Then I went to Amsterdam in my 20’s, met a girl, came home, and moved back a week later. After the age of 18 never grew weed because I was too paranoid and didn’t want to risk my residency.
What was the first bong you owned or made?
First one was a bubble base pipe, rubber grommet – favourite bong ever as a kid was from an Oregon company (1999) called Thunder Head. Shiva Dance website time. Oversized rubber grommet downstem, gold/silver fumed. Still to this day would think it was beautiful – perfect sized water pipe (15 inches tall) – very good craftsmanship.
What’s your focus now?
Making things that are already accepted and have some level of success to them. Function well, make people happy… 6 years ago cost twice as much but because the industry has flooded. Now a lot of the building blocks are already there. Like a recipe.
How has the industry changed?
Reverse inflation – in 2013 had 1-year waiting list. Glassblowing is dying financially – poverty level income. After 21 years, don’t see it growing. See it imploding. Now not a lot of effort into the really elaborate stuff. Production is engrained. The market needs to allow it financially. Drawn out to know the order of operations but you learn skills as they happen. Just think and do. My early designs were drawn on napkins, etc. those types of materials. The creative process started there.
If you weren’t blowing glass what would you be doing?
Challenging my mind with anything. Cooking, programming, etc. Always challenge the normal way your mind works. I’m actually taking 8 hours per day learning computer programming from MIT’s online course. 24 hours per day listening to lectures: at the gym, at the shop. Doing everything possible to pass this course. I dropped out of high school in 10th grade. I’m self-taught with everything: cooking, photography, etc.
Do you smoke weed? If so, what’s your favourite strain?
I smoke weed but I live in NY where it’s not legal. Don’t have the luxury of picking what I want, when I want. But definitely loyal to the old school Amsterdam genetics. THSeeds Catalogue, Gren House, DNA, Barney’s Genetics, etc. Any of it. Just links me back to memories of happier times and happier places.