I was not blowing glass before the gallery but I had been fascinated by the art but was too scared to do it until I had a lot of time on my hands and the equipment of my own to do it. The gallery was called Heady Mountain Glass Gallery and I learned so much from the experience while meeting so many wonderful people in the process.
Tacos or Pizza?
Tacos all day. I could eat them every day of the week. I also can’t/don’t eat cheese so pizza has lost it’s luster.
What kind of torch do you run? What are your favorite tools?
I use a Bethlehem Bravo. I've had it since day one and I will most likely have that torch until the end. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to add some other torches to the arsenal but I can do everything I want to with the Bravo. I could make a flower pendant all the way through with just one small 1" by 2" graphite paddle and a pair of tweezers, but I do utilize about 1.25ft of 4mm rod during each flower. I have other tools but if I am just going to a buddy’s house to grind for a day, that is usually what I will bring.
You’re obviously a Sunflower King. Tell us about your exploration of flowers from how it started to how you feel about them years later. Do you have a favorite flower?
So the flowers were not the plan from the beginning. I had started doing mountain scene disc flips in my first few months, but I wanted more detail so I asked Ryan Coon how to do dots because he is incredible at dots and always has been. He told me that I needed to learn how to do a flower before I could start doing dots. So that is what I did, and I did that for a couple months while trying to create some random designs and such. The sunflower came about because I was dating this girl who loved sunflowers and her birthday was coming up and ya boy was very broke, so I had to think creatively and that started the wave. I took the knowledge that I knew and tried something newer, and here we are today. I honestly do not have a favorite flower, they all are fun if I don’t have to make matching sets hahaha. But I do love doing the dots, so any flower with dots in it is super fun and meditative.
Who is your favorite cup maker?
I can never pick a favorite for anything. Different cups are better some days and other cups are better for others. I feel the same way about all art. I was about to name all my favorite cup artists but there are too many so I will just say that I loved working with Stephen Pierce and Robert Mickelson on some super special cups, or tazzas and chalice style thing. Those were special moments and the pieces always make me smile when I see them.
Do you have a favorite cup? A favorite type of cup to use?
I have a cup that Justin Krunk made for me when I was Oregon staying with them. He wrote “Sunshine” in reticule morse code on it. He might have been making a joke at the movie Remember the Titans and the character Sunshine from it, but I don’t care, it is a gorgeous cup and I use that cup whenever I drink juice, and I love juice hahah.
While we’re at it, what’s your favorite drink?
Water all the time, but if I am indulging then juice of any kind except grapefruit. Grapefruit juice is just sad pink lemonade. If I am drinking alcohol then Forteleza Blanco, a wonderful blanco tequila.
What’s on your wishlist from Drinking Vessels?
I can’t keep up with what is available anymore and what isn’t, but my favorite piece to come through your shop was the Salt x Stephen Pierce taza with the offset ovolio in the top connection. I think it is sold at this point but that is a piece that I just saw a picture of but will never forget.
What can you tell people about Bat Country Studios as someone who has visited on more than a few occasions?
Oooh I love Bat Country Studios. I have stayed there winter, summer and fall and loved them all. We have created some wonderful pieces, learned a lot of shit together and I’ve even explored the depths of my mind in that studio thanks to Trixie Garcia and you for bringing me to that show. But seriously, its a gorgeous studio and I love your vision. Also I love area of MInturn/Vail/Avon, so it always fun to explore when I am there.
Did you get an epic pass this year?
I slacked and will have to be purchasing an epic pass while it is more expensive but I will be doing so. I love Beaver Creek and am starting to love Vail more too.
I’ve also gotten to hang out with Blake on our snowboards at Vail. Even though he hates the cat walks to the back bowls, and his board definitely needs a wax next time we ride, I’m looking forward to getting some days in the season with him. It’s nice for me to get to connect with other artists outside the studio. Sometimes I’ll realize I’ve gone days without having a conversation about anything besides for glass. It’s crucial for me to expose myself to the outside world every now and again so I can keep everything in perspective.
Anything else we should know?
Ummmm I guess I should maybe let everyone know that I have not been nearly as productive because I got back in to college. I am getting a Spanish degree because I want to start a non-profit where we create studios in less fortunate countries, and also our own country. The studios would be decked out with tools and glass while also giving them oxygen generators and leaving a resident artist there for a little bit to teach and manage. But the goal would be to let them run and profit from it, while also showing a new art form to the communities.
I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Blake over the last year or two. He’s a young kid with tons of ambition. His attention to details in his flowers is admirable and his commitment to the study has allowed him to really evolve the work over time. I’ve noticed he’s been tackling cups since getting to know me and I’m stoked to have some of his first ones available on the site alongside some of his finest collaborations.
So Blake is one of the guys coming up. I’m often asked by collectors who they should be looking out for and Blake is for sure one of them. I’m excited to see what he comes up with for the drinkware department, integrating his detailed work into larger shapes.