Sunday Reflection: September 6, 2020

Sunday Reflection: September 6, 2020

September 06, 2020

On Sundays I reflect.

I did not drink alcohol this week. 

I’ve been listening to the same song on repeat for most of the week: Down The Line (It Takes A Number) by Romare discovered via Bonobo.

Let’s just get some stuff out of the way here so I can dive into the good stuff. I have been working out most mornings and feeling good. I am getting excited for snowboarding season, as we had our first dustings in the mountains and more coming! I went to my favorite hot spring adjacent the Colorado River the other day very early in the morning. I had the pool to myself for over an hour where I enjoyed breakfast and meditation before returning to my routine. I have been using my camera more and am starting to feel more confident shooting. I also stopped by Everdream Studios Friday very briefly, and what I can tell you is that I am very excited about what they are working on.

Over the last few months I have been conceptualizing an art piece that Marta and I have been working on bringing to life. This weekend we took major steps forward, and the piece should be complete this week. This is the largest scale project of my life, and unlike anything else I have ever done. I will be writing more about this next week, and sharing a blog about the entire process when it is ready.

But now for a CUPDATE I know a lot of you have been waiting for.

Jason Gordon is back! After over six months off the torch, and an even longer break from making cups Jason has finally got a new torch and is back in business! Jason will not be using social media, as it distracts him heavily from creating his work. I will be purchasing all of Jason’s cups and making them available here. Upon making this announcement on Instagram earlier this week, our presale has completely sold out. 15 pints and 3 mugs that Jason has begun making are all sold sight unseen. Don’t worry, there will be more!

For anyone reading this blog that in unfamiliar with Jason Gordon @gordons_glassware I will provide a bit of context. 

Before Drinking Vessels existed, it was rare that a pipe maker would choose to make drinkware. If and when they did, those cups were typically reserved as gifts for friends and family. Those cups very rarely became available for purchase, and it was not common to be able to track down cups from pipe makers to buy. Jason gordon has been exploring drinkware for at least 15 years in addition to making pipes, marbles, bowls and just about anything else you could imagine. I know this because when he most recently decided to take a step back from glassblowing he sent me a fully worked cup he made in 2005 with a note explaining that this piece had been part of a set and was the only surviving piece. It had served as the inspiration behind Gordon’s Glassware focusing on home decor and specifically drinkware. It was the cup that ignited Jason’s passion for cups. He had no idea that I was on the brink of giving up, not knowing how I would myself get past some obstacles in my way. He sent me the cup with the note, and for the second or third or even fourth time may have saved this business. At the time he did not have a cell phone and was not logged in to any social media. I had virtually no way to reach him even if I wanted to. 

The first time I met Jason was when I was in college and attended the Pure Virtue Flame Fest in Rockville Maryland. I was apprenticing for Huffy at the time and I couldn’t even make a chillum or a spoon pipe at the time. I ended up in a studio full of legends, many of whom remain friends of mine to this day. Jason was using a crucible, and at the time he was probably going bigger than almost any other borosilicate flame worker. I will do my best to contextualize this for the readers who do not blow glass themselves. There are two different types of glass, and each type of glass is worked with a different but similar set of tools and techniques. Soft Glass has a lower melting point than Borosilicate Glass which is used by pipe makers and most of the cups we carry. Soft Glass starts in a melting pot as a liquid, and can be worked for long amounts of time and in large scale. Borosilicate Glass starts as cold raw tubing or rod and is warmed in the flame of a torch. It has a very limited working time and in effect a limit on scale and size. In my early days in the pipe scene a decade ago, borosilicate flame workers were just starting to experiment with crucibles (melting pots) for boro and beginning to transfer soft glass equipment and techniques over to the flame working studio.

Jason Gordon was a pioneer with the furnaces. The liquid glass is around 2250 degrees fahrenheit, and the peripheral heat alone is enough to turn someone off from what is the hottest and most challenging work in borosilicate flame working. Glass is difficult to control when molten, and the bigger the mass of glass the more challenging it is to control with just your strength and gravity working against you. In addition to those challenges, the bigger a piece of molten glass is the more residual heat the person shaping it will feel. Jason pushed these limits time and time again, defying the concept that “floppy bowls” and other large objects could only be made from soft glass.

Jason was either the first artist or the second to provide me with cups to sell other than my own and my collaborations. I remember I was living in a friend’s basement and Jason would mail me huge boxes of cups inside handmade wooden boxes that had “Gordons” burned on the side. I sold some gems I wish I still had today back then, and would sometimes buy the cups from his daily auctions on his own Instagram. There were so few artists making cups back then, that Jason established himself as essential to any collection early on. His fumed colors are spectacular, and his creativity is never ending.

I continued to see Jason at industry events over the years, and we developed a friendship. Jason was one of the only glass blowers putting energy into making drinkware back then, and we were both eager to support each other. I will never forget when I was traveling the country with really nowhere to go except whichever glass blower had a lathe and a couch and a willingness to take me in. I was creating collaborations for my philanthropy project at the time. One day I woke up at G-Check’s studio and overheard Jason talking with Michael. Michael had offered for me to come through his place in upstate NY and work on his lathe for a few days before giving me a ride to the Michigan Glass Project. Jason came down to see me and carpool to Detroit. Michael didn’t really know me, and I heard him ask Jason who I was and what the fuck I was doing. Jason said something like “yeah Ben just goes around the country collaborating on cups and gives the money to different charities.” 

Jason believed in me before this was anything. He supported this brand by consigning me work I couldn’t afford and accepting payment once things sold. He vouched for me when other artists asked if I had references because at the time nobody knew if I was legit or not. He took on custom projects for my clients on countless occasions and he sold me his work for pricing that nobody else in the industry would or could match. He got people excited about cups on his own page, but ultimately realized that running daily auctions and sales is too much for him to handle. 

Jason Gordon wants to blow glass for as many hours of the day as he can stand. Many of the other artists I represent feel the same way. There are so many distractions that prevent artists from being able to create. My job is to eliminate as many of those distractions as I can for as many artists as I can. I spend countless hours creating content with my team. I spend even more time communicating with artists and collectors alike. It is my goal that people like Jason could put a box in the mail to me and know they will get a paycheck without worrying about any other details. 

I use Jason’s cups for my smoothies multiple times a week. Some of my best clients have sent me pictures featuring 10 or more of his cups in their cabinets. I have received messages from many collectors asking me to thank Jason for one thing or another and extending their appreciation to him as an artist. Without Jason’s work, a cup collection is incomplete. I have been asked often who my favorite cup makers are and Jason is always on the list. I have a collection spanning 50 artists and cups worth up to thousands of dollars, and I still don’t get tired of the mesmerizing colors of Jason’s fume.

So I still have Jason’s gift on my shelf among many other things he has made. Sometime in 2018 Jason gave me some fumed tubing prep for a collaboration. The sections ended up in my first fully worked composition notebook cup. After spending a full day working on the piece which I thought was perfect, I opened the lip to find that my frit section was far from melted in. At this time it was too late to go back, and the cup was not good enough to be sold. It has been sitting on my shelf ever since. The cup has been a reminder of the evolution of my work for the last few years. Now it is on the way to Jason to be appreciated by him and hopefully serve as an inspiration for him to keep at it. 

 

These relationships are the reason my brand exists. I am here to support the artists I have looked up to and admired for a decade or more. I am here to alleviate all the extras that artists face and help them stay focused on their art. I finally have a team developing to support me in doing that, because I definitely cannot do it alone.

Special shoutout this week to Marta, Skinny and Rob for helping me at the studio and my brother and so many other for helping behind the scenes. 

Our team and our studio are growing, and over the next few months we will be expanding next door. Weston Snowboards will be sharing their space with us as they switch to 3PL for shipping. We will be renovating the space so that it can work for both of us together once they are transitioned into their next phase of growth. If you are interested in supporting this project specifically please contact me about how you can help us grow together!

If you are interested in owning Jason Gordon's 2020 drinkware, please feel free to get in touch with me regarding orders. As soon as Jason gets through the current requests he will be making inventory for us to list on the site too. He is starting with fumed pints and mugs, but is definitely open to making more fully worked cups as well. On behalf of Jason and myself I would like to say how truly grateful we are to be doing this and working together. Your support means the world to us.

On that note I need to get back to work but I hope you enjoy your Sunday!

BB



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