On Sundays I reflect.
I didn’t drink alcohol this week.
I did finally make some time to blow glass this week after what feels like a few weeks of hardly turning on my torch. I have been meaning to make my friend Max a set of twisty cups he requested months ago. The project is not intimidating, but I have realized that I have to be in the right mentality for any project I tackle or it will not come out the way I want. I stopped trying to force it a while ago, and I no longer take on custom work unless I feel as if I have complete artistic freedom within boundaries the client wants.
I broke down a tube of 60mm scalloped tubing and made four cups with Max, as well as a collaboration with Rob @logglass that sold before it was cold. I also made one little experimental cup that came out nice except for a little devitrification so it will be a giveaway piece. Upon inspection of the cups when they came out of the kiln I decided that I want to make a few more to try to get a closer matching set of four. The extras will be available to other friends and family once I complete the set for Max this week. I was able to enjoy my session on the torch because it wasn’t correlated to a paycheck or work. Max is of course paying me for the cups, but never once did he nag me about the timeline or the specifics. He just told me to make them when I felt like it, and the other night I felt like it.
As an entrepreneur and an artist, I am constantly under a lot of stress. As a person with debt and people who rely on me for paychecks, I am often feeling financial stress. It is challenging for me to step outside of that and just blow glass for fun because I know that if I make “x” then I can use that object to generate more money for my business. This inherent concept has become a barrier between my self and my art.
My client in California finally unwrapped and looked at the Trastherpiece this week. He posted a little video with the caption “the headiest piece of art in the collection”. I can’t describe the feeling this statement gave me, knowing what else he has collected until now. Most of the work Matty has bought from me has been created by other artists that I have been able to broker. Over the few years we have been connected, Matty has also made a point to purchase some of the very special solo cups and collaborations I myself have made. He is a strong supporter of Business Ben and Ben the Artist. To me the Trashterpiece wouldn’t have been at home anywhere but with Matty, and I am eternally grateful for his continued support of Ben the Artist, as well as his ongoing support for my company Drinking Vessels.
This moment in time for me is crucial in beginning to separate my personal identity from my company. As my team grows, I am able to create space for myself. As I continue making progress from being in business mode 24/7 to allocating times in my week to work, I am hoping to be able to also allocate time for creating art. I have mentioned with ski season approaching that snowboarding is the only place I can go where I escape work entirely. I think I have been dreaming about the runs I want to be riding at Vail already. I hope to be able to get to a point where glass blowing can also provide me with that outlet, as I develop boundaries between work and art even when they overlap.
I went to my friend’s birthday cookout at his place out on Tennessee Pass. For those unfamiliar, he lives about 30 minutes down the road from my studio where he is at least that far away from a gas station or any other store. I met Mike Page when Weston @westonbackcountry who he works for moved in next door to my studio. Later at a family wedding I met his aunt and uncle who are related to my cousins. When I told them I lived in Minturn they said I must know their nephew who works for some snowboard company and lives in his camper in their parking lot. I said surely you can’t be referring to Mike Page, who lives in his camper in MY parking lot. They were indeed.
Page is building his own house on an acre he bought just over a year ago. He has a well and solar power and plans to be independently sustainable. THE DREAM! We caught up outside for a few hours though fire bans prevented us from building a bonfire to keep warm. We grilled some food and enjoyed the outdoors. I left my phone in the car for probably 4 hours without checking it once. It was great.
Skinny has been editing photos non-stop and we have more cups available than ever before. Taylor has been getting oriented with our social media and is helping plan content weekly. She has also been practicing melting glass on the torch and so far she can polish two clear puntys herself and weld them together straight without devitrification. If you have never tried blowing glass, just imagine trying to spin two pencils - eraser to eraser - with a glob of honey between the two that you can’t let drip. Add a few thousand degrees and fire to get the real idea. What I mean to say is that this is a big accomplishment in just a few sessions on the torch, and she hasn’t gotten fed up with the slow progression of blowing glass yet.
And now for the CUPDATE you have all been waiting for:
We sold out of Watermelon Tumblers from Kim @busywashingmyhair again but she should be back in the hot shop to make more tomorrow. These have quickly become some of our best selling cups and I understand why. I haven’t kept a pair for myself yet, but I did gift a set to my good friend Michelle who has been a huge supporter on my journey. I will add a pair to my personal collection at some point as well but for now I am just trying to keep them stocked on the site.
Most of Stephan’s Stemware sold but we do have one pair left from @stephan_peirce who will be working on more drinkware in a few weeks. I personally have multiple pieces of stemware from Stephan in my personal collection and very few people have perfected the art to his level of proficiency and artistry. Eric Goldschmidt from CMOG refers to him as the best Tazza maker in the biz (of which I have a few available for sale and a few in my personal collection). They truly are exquisite.
Jason Gordon @gordons_glassware has a batch on the way that I think have all presold, but after these his work will begin to be available on the site. I am hopeful that will be soon, but he has also been working on making furniture out of wood and resin. I can’t share those pictures yet, but I can let you know that he asked me if I would be willing to release the work when it is ready. We have a few months, but definitely stay tuned to see some of the coolest furniture I have come across.
I will be back at Everdream this week where N8 @nathan_miers is finishing up his first batch of cups for me. He texted me this week and said: Me making practice cup number one: “man, fuck this shit I hate making big stuff!” Me making practice cup number two: “I can’t wait to make cup number three!” A lot of collectors don’t seem to understand that making a cup perfect can be just as challenging as making a technically complex pipe or rig. The size and weight alone pose a challenge unlike most products within the pipe world. That being said, the same standards of quality apply and each of the artists represented on this page have incredibly high standards for their work.
I feel privileged to be able to provide an outlet for these artists to explore other forms from their usual body of work. I am grateful to be able to work with such incredible individuals, and I am beyond grateful for the support from collectors to continue doing what I do. Sometimes I encounter disrespectful customers that make my job a drag, but for the most part I really do enjoy engaging with almost everyone that reaches out to ask about cups we have or artists we work with. To have an audience that shows up with over 1000 likes on a post I made condemning white supremacy is a good feeling. Of course I got a bunch of negativity on the post and criticism, which I simply deleted. To me it isn’t a discussion. White Supremacy is not welcome here. This brand condemns white supremacy, and I am glad to see that my audience is with me on that.
As always thanks for tuning in!
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