By Marisa DeZara
Glass blowing is an industry that has been undermined in the past. Many times, people neglect to see this medium as art, especially if the glass is a bong, bubbler or bowl used for smoking marijuana. However, as more people take an interest in marijuana, they are also making serious investments in the glass they buy.
The budding legal marijuana industry has prompted a more prominent glass blowing scene. Glass culture is growing in conjunction with marijuana legalization, as both are on the forefront of cultural acceptance. Much like the closet stoner, closet glass blowers are finding their niche within the legal pot trade. Talented artists are speaking up in order to showcase and sell their masterpieces to the general public.
Darby Andrews, a glass blower based in Girdwood, Alaska, spoke to Megan Edge, a reporter for Alaska Dispatch News, regarding his glass artistry and opportunities made possible by legalization. “The possibilities for Andrews’ business seem vast if marijuana is legalized,” said Edge. Andrews agreed, “The mind just goes wild with ideas.”
Whether Andrews has “closet blowers” stocking the shelves or he transforms his shed into a workshop waiting area, Andrews’ work will gain a larger following as legalization gives consumers permission to spend money on glass pieces they are proud to show off without repercussions.
A growing pipe culture is indeed more than just a culture, it is a business that brings in a ton of revenue. No one is proud to smoke out of an apple or a tin can, but if you can whip out a Mothership Faberge Egg pipe, then you’ll be the talk of the tokers. This pipe, which sells between $1,200-$2,000, is considered some of the best glass an avid smoker, or collector, can own.
Mothership Glass, a Washington-based glass company, which operates and markets through Facebook, produces some of the most expensive, functional and sought-after pipes in the marketplace. In a group on Facebook, “Mothership Glass Auctions/Appreciation,” one contributor was actually willing to trade his car in exchange for a Mothership Mini Faberge Egg piece.
Glass collection is serious, although I can imagine that for most people, it’s not to the point of trading a car for a pipe. Nonetheless, this person’s willingness to trade a car ties into the idea that smokers will go to great lengths and spend a lot of money to get the glass they want. The demand for artful and functional glass is here, and the trend will only continue to rise as marijuana becomes legal.
A glass shop is not, by any means, a new business model that has arisen as a result of legal marijuana. However, glass galleries and a genuine vested interest in pipes is definitely a trend that headshops around the country are starting to embrace.
One particular glass gallery, Illuzions Glass, which has two locations in Colorado–Boulder and Denver–contains a wide variety of glass, and spans multiple price points. Whether a buyer is looking to spend $30 or $3,000, Illuzions has the pipe to please any smoker or collector.
This area of the marijuana industry is growing and more present than ever, but it is often overlooked. Head shops, as an ancillary business, should not be dismissed, as the demand for beautiful and expensive glass is on the rise. And glass blowers aren’t the only ones doing the blowing, smokers are blowing large sums of cash to add admirable pieces of art to their glass collection.