I didn’t drink alcohol this week. It was definitely a change of pace for me being at Glass Vegas and not drinking, but it was for the best. I missed out on some of the nightlife to get some much needed rest.
My team and I had so much fun seeing everyone in Vegas, and we had two first timers. Stan has been on the torch since the late 90’s and this was his first real industry trade show, and our content queen Grace also had her mind blown attending her first real industry show of that scale. I’m so grateful to them as well as to Eric, Oldgreed, and Tucker for all their help and support. Another special thanks to our friends at Taglia Tool for sharing a booth with us, and to Amy and the entire Glass Vegas team for putting on the show.
It was honestly mind blowing to see how many cups were on the show floor this year compared to years in the past. For the third year in a row we sponsored the Drinking Vessels category at the World Series of Glass and this year’s submissions were out of this world. For the third time in a row AKM took first place and people’s choice with his OG skull goblet but this time on another level. This time the goblet top (which took him two attempts to complete) featured a double jaw and 3 eyes creating one of his split images, atop a double spine with an incredible faceted gem as the heart and a mega foot flared to perfection. The piece took him almost two weeks to complete and came down to the wire. I got to hold it for a picture and it was easily one of the heaviest borosilicate cups I have ever held. I remember the first time I saw one in person from AKM at the Copa show at Witch Dr. so many years ago and considering it one of the most impressive cups I had ever seen at the time, and Andrew continues to push the limits of our medium year after year. Evan Cals also placed with his sculptural crypt keeper goblet - a well executed conceptual piece. Our homie Barto was the final winner with his incredible technique that I can’t wait to show you February 24 at the Vail Cup Collectors Club. Thanks to everyone who competed and continues to elevate the competition year after year.
From Vegas my team drove the van back to Vail with brand new cups and drinkware from an impressive group of artists from around the country. We can’t wait to share this new work with you as soon as we get photos edited and products listed on the website but in the meantime make sure not to miss the first live stream when I get back home for all the freshies.
I made the choice to fly to Chicago while the team made the drive home - thanks so much to my crew for allowing me some personal time during such a hectic week. I spent two nights offline at my parents with my girlfriend and was able to be present in a way I have struggled with previously. My work life balance is beginning to feel like a healthier relationship, and I couldn’t achieve that without the support of my team.
We spent time playing music and singing at the house, and two of my best friends Max and Molly came by for brunch. I always enjoy spending time with my work friends and colleagues, but it’s sometimes hard for me who my real friends are in the scene and who just gives me the time of day to get a paycheck. With Max and Molly I get to step outside of Business Ben and just be Ben, knowing that my friends don’t give a fuck about my role in the glass world and they don’t need anything from me professionally. It’s special for me when I get to spend time with them, and I’m so grateful for their support and friendship. We keep in touch pretty regularly in between visits, but being able to turn off my phone and be present with them is some of the most important time I have. We all get to be together in April when our friend Joel gets married to Meg and I’m so looking forward to that auspicious occasion.
I’ve mentioned the woman I’m dating here before, and that it’s pretty new for me to be in a relationship after being married to my work for the last decade or so. Our relationship is long distance and has other challenges we face together, and I feel so lucky to have someone in my life that I can talk to openly through these challenges. Yesterday I got to introduce my partner to my oldest friends and it felt so good to be able to spend that time together.
Now I need to get back to planning our annual Vail Cup Collector’s Club which is right around the corner. We’ll have a flyer and tickets live soon but make sure to mark your calendars for February 24 at Bat Country Studios and February 25 on the hill at Vail or out in the backcountry riding snowmobiles with Stan.
As always I appreciate you tuning in for the journey, and if you’re interested in acquiring any of the new work please reach out to see the new artists we have added to the lineup.
Enjoy your Sunday,
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On Sundays I reflect.