Joe P. Glass
by Samuel Farley, Twitter and Instagram @THC_Samuel
Cannabis has permeated American culture in many ways. Music, movies and other forms of media have embraced cannabis in some form. Glass artists, and the pieces of functional artwork they create, are a large part of that culture. Joe Peters is an example of a glass artist who showcases a wide spectrum of artistic talent and expertise via glasswork. He’s also found a unique way to get his work into the hands of influential musicians who support cannabis culture.
Joe began painting in high school and dabbled in pottery in college. His interest in pipes began when he was 18 and saw functional glass in a head shop for the first time. Around age 20, he began taking lessons, learning how to make wine goblets and glasses, and started to learn flame working, or glass blowing with a torch. About two months after his first class, he quit his part time job to make pendants in his parents’ garage. Although he loved pipes, his mom wouldn’t allow him to make cannabis paraphernalia in their garage, so he first had to pursue the more formal side of nonfunctional glass blowing. According to Joe, she was so adamant about him not making bongs in the garage that she would go in with hot tweezers and break any pipe she found him making. While his parents were stern, they allowed him to continue blowing glass, but only nonfunctional artwork.
He began going to small events, such as farmers markets, to sell his work. Initially inspired by aquatic life from a love of scuba diving, it only took five years before he was going to prestigious glass art shows, completing installations for children’s hospitals in different cities across the country and being commissioned for private work. The nonfunctional glass artwork took him far in the high-end glass craft circuit, until around 2008 when the market crashed. In 2009, he was worried that the next generation wouldn’t appreciate the artistic medium as much and began questioning his ability to make a living as a glassblower. After seeing the work of artists like Banjo, he decided to make the shift to creating functional art. By then, he had his own studio space and could comfortably start honing his functional glass craft. “It’s where I always wanted to be,” said Joe, “But it was a really good path, because if I had started off making pipes, I would be a different glass blower than I am now. I wouldn’t have all of the years of taking classes in Italy and learning to blow soft glass and all of those experiences contribute to the artistic techniques that I incorporate into my work now.”
While in Portland, Oregon in 2015, he got front row tickets to see country music and cannabis legend Willie Nelson, and decided to make him a pipe. Joe’s original plan was simply to get the pipe to him after the show. However, through a random series of events, manifestation, mutual friends and a little luck, Willie Nelson was able to see the piece beforehand, and Joe was able to give it to him personally.
Joe’s work has infiltrated the world of hip-hop as well. In early 2016, rapper Action Bronson purchased a collaboration piece from Joe, continuing to solidify the place of high-end functional glass
artwork within music culture. Joe’s work was recently featured at the 2016 Big Industry show in Denver, and it can also be seen on his Instagram @JoePGlass and will also be on display at the Heaterz Glass Show later this year on December 9th and 10th at the Space Gallery in Denver.
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