On Sundays I reflect.
I didn’t drink alcohol this week.
I was too distracted last weekend to blog. I had a beer in Chicago with my dude Willie one night, and a few beers at my friend Lando’s club House Calls the following night. I’ve been doing pretty well at managing my drinking, and it’s better when I don’t drink. Sometimes, and mostly while I’m traveling, I make exceptions to my decision to abstain from alcohol. I can’t remember the last time I drank liquor as opposed to beer, and I haven’t let myself get back to a pattern of drinking beer daily in over five years now. It hasn’t been easy. Socially it has gotten easier over time, but it’s still hard.
I spent last weekend with my family in Chicago to celebrate my brother Jon and his wife Pri. They got married during Covid and we never threw them a wedding, so my mom wanted to get the family together for a “Tea for Pri” celebration.
My dad asked me to accompany him for a few songs, so I reacquainted myself with my old bass and learned Proud Mary and Can’t Help Falling In Love. He almost messed me up when he started playing in a different key than I had already transposed with him the day before but I caught it early enough and we had fun playing together for our family.
When I was a kid I thought a lot about being a musician professionally when I became an adult. In high school, college, and when I lived in NYC after graduating I played in bands. Glass came into my life and there was a time when I thought I could pursue both. Until recently, I have been so distracted with the “work” of running Drinking Vessels and have spent very little time focusing on my art.
I talk with my team, my family, and my friends about the duality of my life. Broker Ben and Ben The Artist are two different identities that share one body and 24 hours each day. One of the primary goals of Drinking Vessels is to create support for artists battling the same challenge in order to help them focus on their art. Until now, I have not really included myself in the group of artists that Drinking Vessels is supporting because of how seriously I’ve taken my job representing these other artists.
Before I left for Chicago I made two signature solo cups for Marta and Grace. The cups are both fumers (a technique I am just starting to explore) with composition notebook bottoms. When I returned to town I made one more that will be available today to the first person to see it and lock it down. I also spent two days this week building my solo submission for the upcoming Philadelphia Cup Collectors Club on October 7 at Ruckus Gallery in Philly. My cup for the show came out at 13 oz which is a bit shy of the desired 16 oz pint. It’s still one of my favorite cups I have ever made, and I also really enjoyed getting back into the process of building a fully worked cup. The last time I attempted one was in April for my May show at Stoked which also came up shy of 16 oz and was recently purchased by my good friend Craig.
I haven’t gotten back to my painting series but it’s been on my mind. There are ash trays currently available that I made with Red Cliff Bob and more in the works. I’m trying to blow glass more, and it’s happening.
The only reason for my being able to make time for Ben The Artist is because of the team of people supporting me. I really don’t have the words to express my gratitude for the team we are building. For the first time my studio is full of people every day. It’s really an exciting time.
Marta and Grace are at the studio 5 days a week typically and I’m spending a lot of time on the annex side with them (or on the phone) most of the middle of the day. Stan is on the torch 6 if not 7 days a week developing our production line and helping NüBen and myself along the way. Eric comes up every week or two to help with projects and also works from Denver to help get these blogs live and emails sent out. Seth is always in the background helping any way he can with logistics and booking travel.
It’s so special to me for these people to all come together with their unique and individual talents to work for a common goal. As I mentioned earlier, the primary goal here is to provide support to artists.
Speaking of artists, a new artist moved into the studio yesterday. Ryan Maksou has officially taken residency at Bat Country Studios where he will continue his exploration of glass after learning at Robert Mickelsen’s studio in Florida. Ryan has a better understanding of fume than I do, along with some exciting drinkware designs we will be sharing with you soon.
As always, with growth comes the need to sell more glass. I would be lying if I said I didn’t need to sell more glass, but the team helps lighten that load for me by supporting all of us and going above and beyond.
This week should provide me with more time on the torch than the last few weeks and I plan to take advantage of the time. There are so many big projects on the horizon that I want to get ahead of schedule while I can instead of falling behind.
I want to give a huge shoutout to Ian @holdingolden and Geoff @geoffmade for a sold out drop last week on their Sparkle Series Thick Bottom Retti Pints. Make sure to jump on the website tomorrow morning and get one of the Flexpresso Sippers we're releasing from @flexglass and friends!
As always thanks for tuning in, and I hope you enjoy your Sunday. Tune in on Instagram live for Sunday Specials and check out the deals on the Specials Page!
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