On Sundays I reflect.
I didn’t drink alcohol this week. I was slightly tempted Friday at Opening Day at Vail. I have not put myself in many social environments lately due to the virus, and a lot of friends I haven’t been seeing lately were on the hill. Regardless, it was nice to see old friends and get in a few laps. Shoutout to the @vaildudenews for everything they’re doing here in the valley!
A few of my local friends have the virus, and cases are spiking here in the valley. My team and I are doing the best we can to stay safe, but it also feels like I will get the virus sooner or later.
My brother arrived yesterday from Miami to spend a few weeks with me. He is working remotely in addition to helping me prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Hopefully we get some laps in together too. They say it should snow Monday!
Forgive me but I have to mention this next bit here. The holidays are coming up. Please choose to shop locally and with independently owned businesses when you can for gifts. It is each of our own responsibilities to spend our hard earned money consciously. Artists and small businesses have been some of the hardest hit by the virus. Whether you shop with us, or other artists and small businesses this holiday season please know how important your support is.
We are gearing up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday Specials, but if there is a cup you have had your eyes on please reach out and lets make a deal.
I think I will use the rest of this post to write about my brother Jon and wrap it up with a CUPDATE.
I am three years older than my brother. I was not especially stoked when he was born. It probably took me years to get used to him being around. We did not share many interests growing up, and I don’t think we were very close. We spent a lot of time around each other but probably not by choice. Once we got old enough to spend time independently from the family, we rarely hung out with each other. I don’t think either of us disliked each other, though I am sure he resented me for being selfish. I definitely didn’t recognize how selfish I was as a kid, but I see that as an adult looking back.
I have never felt understood, for as long as I can remember. I feel foreign wherever I go. My brother is not like me, but he understands who I am better than probably anyone I have ever met. Maybe he has spent the most time with me, or maybe he has spent the most time observing me. I hope during his time here he will be able to write a blog for you all to read providing some insight other than my own lens on who I am and what this brand is. My brother is the only person besides myself that has witnessed everything that makes up where our company is today.
My brother is very smart and even harder working. He attended the University of Miami in Florida, with no idea of what he wanted to do with his life. My brother played sports growing up, but he never had hobbies that I knew of. I played bass and guitar and was in multiple bands growing up. I got into blowing glass in college and my career formed around it. I also had no idea what I wanted to get out of college. My brother and I did both enjoy snowboarding growing up, a hobby he maintains today. He also got into scuba diving when he was in college, and to my knowledge doesn’t make much time for it. He also got into kayaking and biking living down in Miami, and he reads a lot of books.
My brother worked for a start up digital marketing agency right out of college. A lot of what he learned there has been applied to this company. Ultimately my judgement is that was just a job to pay the bills for my brother, but I also know he worked his ass off to do the best job he could do. Whenever that job ended and before he found his next job at another agency my brother came out to stay with me in Fort Collins and help me. He slept on my floor. Without a job, he spent all of his time helping me with my life and business. We went snowboarding together too. I was at a pretty low point of my life back then, and without his support I have no idea how I would have gotten through.
My brother and I talk on the phone almost every day, and at the minimum we text daily. I think this started in college but maybe later. Mostly these conversations are about business. Over the last few years I have made an effort to ask my brother more about his life before we get to work. The thing is my brother doesn’t talk very much and I rarely shut up. Maybe he doesn’t talk much because I never shut up.
I would not be able to have brought the business this far without my brother’s help. I will never be able to emphasize that enough. My brother does not know what his passion is. I know he is passionate about this company. I know he is passionate about supporting artists. I know that he wouldn’t have put in the years of hours to help me if he didn’t share my vision for what Drinking Vessels will become. I have shared my vision in bits and pieces with various friends and colleagues, but my brother (and maybe JCOST) are the only ones who really know the details. If I were unable to continue to run this company, my brother is the only person that I have enough confidence in to do so in my absence. I doubt he has that confidence in himself, but he should.
Last night my brother and I reminisced on where we were five years ago. We came up with the idea for what Drinking Vessels would become at Thanksgiving dinner in Lake Geneva Wisconsin. I had probably made less that 20 cups total at that time, and was not representing any other artists. I was gearing up for my first show in Conway Arkansas that December at Natural State Glass Gallery. Shoutout to one of my longest supporters down there Amy Wood for putting me on and believing in my vision early on.
I asked my brother what the most noticeable difference is looking at our company now compared to five years ago. He said everything. We talked about when I had nowhere to go and traveled around the country. We talked about the cups that stand out over the last five years. We laughed about the first AGE convention I took my brother to in Vegas, where this company began to take shape.
My brother knows me better than any other person. He brought me two books, as he often does. Typically the only books I read are the ones my brother gives me. This time in addition to “The Last Interview” with Hunter S. Thompson which we all know I will enjoy, he brought me another book on an artist I have been trying to learn more about for years; Jean Michel Basquiat. This book is actually a Composition Notebook comprised of 8 Composition Notebooks and a few loose pages that Basquiat kept. For those of you who don’t know about my obsession with Composition Notebooks, the primary technique in my work is based on these patterns. I use the notebooks to correspond with my “pen pals” who are terrible at writing back to me. I hate technology and the internet. This is my return to reality.
I find it so interesting that the same object played such an important role in the life of Basquiat and I look forward eagerly to learning more about him.
So now for a brief CUPDATE!
I am expecting a box of 28 fresh EWGG @edwolfesgotglass cups. They told me I have purchased 382 cups from them over the last 3-4 years. I can’t believe this figure, but then again I have almost ten myself and multiple friends and collectors reached out to tell me they also have ten or more. I use my EWGG cups more than any other cups I own.
I also have a box with three fresh Ned @nedglassman blues on the way. I almost sold out but Ned came through just in time with the restock!
I have been on the torch a bit this week working on a custom set with Composition Notebook prep. I am also working on some extra prep for a few collaborations on my plate. I gave Rob a section and he made an awesome pendant that is available still. We try to make one pendant together every month but lately I have been slacking on getting my prep made. I am also back to working on holiday gifts, mostly twisty cups which I am enjoying making.
On that note, I need to get back to work before it starts snowing. Catch me on the hill tomorrow if you’re around Vail!
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