Ben's Lens: An Interview with Christian Luginger

Ben's Lens: An Interview with Christian Luginger

June 04, 2020 1 Comment

Christian Luginger (@flameoneproductions) has been on my radar since a few years ago when I discovered his work through the Armadillo Art Glass Initiative in Austin Texas. I probably first got introduced to his work through a goblet collaboration with SALT @saltglass that I was unfortunately unable to scoop at the time. Fast forward to just a few weeks ago when he popped up on my feed and we got to talking about his first order with DV. Some have already sold and more are on the way. When I mentioned to SALT that I was picking up Christian’s work, he told me he had parts for collabs waiting to be assembled and got three of those to me right away as well.

Let's get to know Christian!

BB: What is your background on the torch? How and when did you get started?

CL: My background is mainly flame worked borosilicate glass at the bench and lathe as well as cold working, and a little offhand soft glass at the furnace in a hot shop. I got started in the winter of 1998-1999 in North Boulder warehouses after I saw Dale Chihuly on PBS and it hit me right there that this is what I was called to do.

Where do you currently reside? Do you torch at home or in a separate studio?

I currently reside in Amarillo ,TX where I rent a separate studio from my house.

What kind of torch are you running?

I use a Carlisle CC on my lathe and a CC+ and a GTT Phantom at the bench, plus a National hand torch and a Smith mini torch.

Got a favorite tool?

My Jim Moore jacks.

What about a go to color?

I have a crucible and I make my own color. I melt a lot of color from Paul Trautman including Blue Stardust, Pink Slyme, and Green Slyme. I pulled a bunch from the five gallon buckets of cullet that I got with Jeremiah Kern in Denver. We had hundreds of pounds of glass and did a lot of layering. I am colorblind but the go to colors for me depend on the project. I learned on a lot of Chinese color with Cesare. Ultimately I like to use a lot of scalloped clear tubing.

Wild! Tell us about artists you have learned from and taught with.

I took 2 classes with Robert Mickelsen, one in 2000 and once at his house in 2009. Don Niblack, Roger Paramore, Emilio Santini are all teachers of mine and I did an internship with Milon Townsend at his house too. Cesare Toffolo taught two classes I took; I spent one week in the Eugene Glass School with him and a month at his studio in Murano. Chad Holiday was my teacher for 9 years, along with Paul Marioni and Frantajeck Janic from Prague. I have learned and worked with Dina Kalahar sharing the same studio. I’ve mainly taught alone or with some assistance from Jerimiah Kern in the past. I have also made collaborations with the top glass makers around the world. 

Any idea how many cups you have made with SALT? I know about one large one from AAGI and the three I just got. Any others?

I have worked with SALT @saltglass at my studio with Cowboy @cowboyglasss making pipes. Also, in Las Vegas we competed at the IHGI Team Lone Star. He took a goblet making class in Austin that I taught where he made a martini cup he still has. We have made five cups in all together, three of which you have. There will be more to come!

What are your favorite style of cups to make?

On a good day I would say a Tazza which is a low bowl shape. One time at the Armadillo Art Glass Initiative they auctioned off a Tazza made by Stephan Peirce @stephan_peirce and Milon Townshend @milontownshend I was standing next to SALT as he bid against your bids coming through on the phone. Craig @craiglewisatx was running the auction and mentioned how challenging the Tazza shape is to make. I may have said a bit too loudly to SALT “yeah, maybe they are challenging to some people” and the entire room heard me. 

SALT won that auction by the way. I was driving a car at night and remember he got it for a steal! Do you have a favorite cup maker?

Cesare Toffolo is my favorite cup maker.

Classic! Who are some of your inspirations?

Dina Kalahar, Banjo, SALT, Joe Peters and Kiva Ford are some of my inspirations.Besides them, there are many furnace cup makers that inspire me.


Do you have a favorite cup on my website?

Salt and Stephen Pierce mugs! 

Something about the Texas boys and cups… Let’s talk about tacos! Got a favorite Taqueria? What are your favorite kind of tacos?

My favorite Taqueria right now La Tacos Hacienda, adobada, Grilled shrimp tacos. I also enjoy Torches sometimes.

Hot dogs or hamburgers?


How’s your cup collection?

I have had a rather large cup collection over the years of my favorites. I downsized because of having too many, though I saved some of mine and a goblet Robert Mikelsen and I did together. I also have a Cesare Toffolo cup and an Emilio Santini cup.

Any favorites that you have made over the years? Please include pics and let us know a little bit of the back story.

Jubilee with Dina Kalahar. The first goblet Salt and I made, which was purchased by his father is a personal favorite, and the electroformed cannabis Tazza cups Timothy Lortie and I did.

You mentioned you lived in Colorado. Where at and when?

Will Sanders from Evergreen introduced me to glass. He got me a job at Bruce B's shop, then Prometheus and Diablo Glass. I lived there for two and a half years and kept going back over the last twenty two years.

And at one point you had a Jamaican restaurant too? Was that in Texas? How long have you been down there?

Yes Jamaican Flame! It was a time that I was experiencing Jamaican food from some Rastas that were great friends of mine! I loved the Italian and carribean food I had them cooking for me, so I started selling it at bars and catering. My two friends eventually taught me and I opened it up. That lasted almost three years here in Amarillo Texas where I have been back since 2001.

Do you create art in any other mediums? 

Graffiti murals.

What kind of art are you into besides glass? 

I have been practicing Aikido for twenty two years. In the garden I am into pepper farming, Bonsai trees, and cactus. I also kept bees and harvested lots of honey! 

Any up and coming cup makers I should know about? Any OG glassblowers I should be carrying that I don’t have in stock?

I can’t think of any up and coming cup makers, but you should get some of Kiva Ford’s work on the site.

How has cup making evolved over your career? You have been at it longer than many of us!

My cup making started in 2000. I have continued to watch myself grow the whole time and working in Murano for a month affected me greatly! I really love the pipe makers techniques and other backgrounds they bring to the medium. I have been seeing super awesome pieces I can barely keep up or wrap my head around some of the new glass!

Do you have hobbies aside from glass blowing?

I enjoy walking, cooking, continuing the path of Bushido and other Japanese arts.

Anything else we should know about you?

I’m pretty open minded and flexible for the most part. I have a great appreciation for life and the outdoors. I hope to collaborate and teach more with others I look up to. Thank you very much for featuring my work here!
Thanks for being a part of the project! Your work is incredible, and it has been really nice for me to piece together more of your story through this interview. Honestly, before this I didn't really know anything about you. I appreciate your willingness to jump into this interview and working with me, and I am excited to bring more of your work in soon!

1 Response

Freya Adelle Read
Freya Adelle Read

June 06, 2020

Thank you for featuring Christian. I have been a fan and collector for over 15 years. He is a truly gifted artist. Also worked in two galleries over those years and had the opportunity to sell many of his cups.

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