On Sundays I reflect.
I didn’t drink alcohol this week.I’ve actually been laying low most of the week.
It turns out I came home from Vegas sick with Covid for the first time. Fortunately, I wasn’t hit too hard. Despite my case being minor, it did certainly change the course of my week. I was planning to spend most of this week on the torch but apparently that wasn’t in the cards for me.
I’m feeling better now, and just in time because snow is coming this week! It looks like we will have a few days of fresh powder before the 5th Annual Vail Cup Collectors Club. I have been spending the week getting ready behind the scenes at the studio when I wasn’t resting at home. I have never been more excited for one of these events as I am for this one. Despite all the hiccups along the way I have received every submission for the show with the last one on the way due to extenuating circumstances. Graham has been shooting photos for me to get everything ready for the show and also to list the work I brought home from Glass Vegas.
A few collectors in the DC area recently discovered cups and this week they ordered so many heaters from me that I have booked a flight to DC for after my show to deliver their cups. It will be a quick trip but I will get to connect with two of my oldest and most serious collectors while I am there in addition to these new clients. It is long overdue that I get to meet these supporters who carried me through some of the toughest times and who have some of the most important work of the last five years in their collections. I am even more excited to introduce these OG cup collectors to my new clients who are just learning about cup culture. We have a hell of a night planned!
Today I have a lifestyle photo shoot planned as well as a few more this week before the cups from the show disappear from the studio to their homes. These are some of the most impressive cups I have ever seen and it is a priority to document them before the show. It is also a priority to snowboard (at least a few laps) if we get the snow they forecast. My last priorities are working with my team to prepare the studio for the show, and spending as much time as I can on the torch this week. Orders are piling up and I committed to make two fully worked composition notebook cups for other shows happening in March. In addition to DC, I have a few other trips taking shape after the show and I don’t want to leave town with obligations unfulfilled.
I wish I had a way to illustrate the growth that has happened in the cup community we have created over the last few years. A serious collector told me recently that they have noticed the prices of cups have doubled in the two years they have been collecting. Now that I have all of the entries for my show on the table together it has become clear that we have half as many cups as earlier shows, and at least twice the value. Years ago when I told people a cup cost multiple thousands of dollars, most of them were completely uninterested or even told me they were not worth that amount. New collectors today are paying $5-10k for the top cups being made and kicking themselves for not getting on board when the same artists were offering cups for only $1-2k or even less than $1000 just a year or two ago. I am definitely kicking myself for making some of the deals that I have in times when I simply needed to liquidate inventory to continue operating but that is the cost of doing business. To all of the people who got in early, I really appreciate you. Some of my clients have been selling some cups from their personal collections recently and I have seen more than a few of them make substantial profits on work from just a few years ago in the current market.
I have been having these conversations with collectors and artists and shop owners lately. They have been approaching me and asking what cups and cup makers are good investments in the big picture. They have been asking me about up and comers to be watching. They are trying to understand this emerging market before investing too much money without the knowledge of the past 5 or 10 or even decades before of borosilicate cup making. I am doing my best to share as much information as I can because I want an educated and sustainable market to evolve here. This is something I will be trying to share more about here in my blog, and something I have enlisted a friend to do some research so that we can provide more educational content here.
At this point there are way more artists making cups than I can carry or even keep up with. Of the artists that I carry and the collectors that I am in touch with I can confidently say that almost every serious cup collection has at least one cup from Jason Gordon, Rob Retza (Log), and EWGG (Ed Wolfe). Over the last few years these have consistently been the best selling cup makers. These are affordable cup makers putting out consistent product at the highest quality. On the more expensive side of things I have been saying for years that SALT and Stephan Peirce are the two most collectible cup makers. I can hardly keep their work on the shelves when I get it. That being said there are more artists than ever before putting out work on that level more and more often. With Jake C’s project moving along I would have to add him to the list and when you see the cup he made for my show next weekend you will see that he is completely pushing the boundaries of borosilicate drinkware. I also mentioned AvantGarde in a recent blog though consider him to be in a league of his own. Our presale has already sold out and once completed I will open up another round. The prices are going up slightly with every batch and continuing to sell out, so I would say this is a great product to get in your collection before they reach the value I think they are worth (which is much more than they are selling for).
The last five years have been a wild ride. Thank you immensely to everyone who has been a part of it. I would not have gotten here without you. I am still processing the presence of cup at Glass Vegas and as a result the presence of cups in the pipe art industry. I am so excited to see what these artists do with the incredible skills and talents they have developed over the last two decades. I am beyond excited that cups are now a part of that cultural movement and becoming accessible to our community.
It’s time for me to shower and head to the studio for some Sunday Specials and a photo shoot. Tune in on Instagram live later today to see the newest unlisted cups and feel free to bring any questions you have about the cup community!
Thanks for tuning in!
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