On Sundays I reflect.
I didn’t drink alochol this week. I quit drinking more than a year and a half ago, and have had no more than three drinks since my 28th birthday. It’s been a long and hard transition for me.
Our page reached 13,000 followers this week. We’ve achieved that in about four years through organic growth and word of mouth. They say you have to pay to play in the world we’re living in. I would rather spend my money on things I can giveaway for free to people that help us grow, rather than investing in Facebook or Instagram ads. It seems like our method is working. Never did I believe that our audience would get this large, and I can’t imagine how big this will become. So for that, thank you. I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to do what I love every day, despite the endless challenges. I wouldn’t have gotten here without help from my brother and J. Cost, along with countless others who have volunteered their time and resources to help me build this into what it’s become.
This week started with a photo shoot with Reda for both products in the lightbox and lifestyle. We got some awesome photos around the studio and in our backyard on the river, on what might be one of our last chances before everything is covered with snow. They say a big storm is coming... I’ll be riding Vail opening day Friday, and hope to get one day in at Breckenridge or Keystone before then if the snow is as good as they predict.
As always we hosted Taco Tuesday this week. Among the attendees was an old client named Adrian who I just found out moved from Denver to Vail. He was introduced to me years ago in Denver by a mutual friend and commissioned four of my stemless tumblers with blue bottoms. At the time I was so broke and the brand was so young it very well could have been my only sale that month. I’ve never forgotten that sale, though I was unaware he had moved to my neighborhood. I think I saw him once at a Phish show since the sale but I never got to tell him how much his support really meant to me.
I made a cup on the lathe as a demo for everyone as we ate tacos. Adrian watched in awe, telling me afterwards that he had a spiritual experience watching the glass move and thanked me. We caught up for a few hours and I got to show him what his support had contributed to. He couldn’t believe what he saw, knowing what the situation was just a few years ago when I was living in Fort Collins fresh off a year of being homeless in NYC. It was a very intense evening for both of us to reconnect and catch up. I suspect he’ll be coming by for a lesson soon, after I let him melt a stick of glass on my torch and he got the itch.
Wednesday we hosted fourteen kids from Battle Mountain High School and Red Canyon Alternative High School for a half day job shadow. Of the fourteen students we’ve already offered five of them internships for the spring in graphic design and glass blowing. The kids will receive high school credit to come to the studio a few days a week assisting J. Cost and myself while learning real life job skills. I had one high school student intern for me through this program in the past and I’m thrilled to bring some new kids on board. We’ve offered these internships to a diverse group of kids that all come from different backgrounds with different experiences in art. Two of them came by for their second job shadow already and the other three are scheduled for next week.
Allow me to share a little about my high school experience which should illustrate why this program means so much to me. First and foremost, high school was a miserable time for me. I felt trapped in a cage, in a high school that loved to brag about how many of their 4,500 students went to Ivy League schools. Everything was based on statistics and I felt like a cog in a machine. While I did get to take a few classes with teachers that really stimulated me and helped me to learn and grow, most of my time felt wasted by busy work intended to keep me occupied for four years.
So I graduated high school a semester early after being accepted to Indiana University and threatening to drop out and take my GED (which would have been a statistic against my high school). They let me finish after first semester senior year. I got in the car with a friend and drove from Chicago to California. That was the trip of a lifetime. I was seventeen years old and my life changed forever. For the first time I was free.
To me high school was a system of oppression. I was discouraged from thinking outside the box and pushed into a mold that they wanted me to fit in for reasons I did not understand. This made me severely depressed which caused me to struggle socially and personally. I had a few escapes like my weekly guitar and bass lessons with music teachers who I felt “got me” and assured me everything would get better once I was liberated as an adult. They were right.
So now I have an opportunity to provide kids with an outlet. They come over and perform some shop chores, they’re given materials to create art with and we teach them skills that can apply to their own projects.
My first high school apprentice got to a point where he could make product he sold such as pendants and marbles before graduating high school. I’m looking forward to helping the next group of kids achieve the same experience, while also teaching them how to market and sell their own work. One of the girls painted a mural on my garage door on her second visit to the studio, and we’ve got her working on hand drawn stickers to include in future mystery boxes and other special deals. The other girl (who has the same name spelled the same way) has begun illustrating some of our cups into characters on USPS labels which will be used as incentives in our online auctions. The look on their faces when I asked them to make art that would end up in the hands of a collector (or on my wall permanently) was one of real joy. Once they started, neither of them took a break or asked for anything. They seemed grateful to just have a place to make art for the sake of making art without grades or rules. I wish I had something like this when I was their age and that’s why I participate in this program.
We got a ten pack of fumed tall boys and pints from Jason Gordon this week, a few of which we’ve already shipped out to collectors. Unfortunately they arrived after our shoot with Reda so we won’t have pro pics for a bit but you can shoot us an e-mail or a message to request photos of what’s available. We also got a dozen Ed Wolfe mugs and the colors are hot! I’m stoked about both of these drops and can’t wait to get them photographed in the light box.
Stephan Peirce made a mug with JD that we’ll share tomorrow for Mug Monday. This one is for the fume lovers! Rumor has it that since I sold all three Cowboy x Rone collaborations, Cowboy is sending some prep to Stephan for what might be the mug (or mugs) of the year if it gets done in time so stay tuned for those as well.
I got on the torch almost every day this week, working on my scalloped pint glasses. I’ve gotten a few fresh collaborations with Rob’s sections in the bottoms, and I have a few sections from other friends that I need to make cups for this week!
Holiday season is upon us whether we’re ready or not. Please keep us in mind as you shop for friends and family this holiday season. Your purchase supports artists who don’t have the guarantee of a paycheck so shopping early helps them celebrate the holidays as well. On behalf of myself, my shipmates, and all of the artists represented here I want to thank you for your support and say how much we appreciate you.
Have a good week,
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I blew glass almost every day this week. That felt good, mostly. I’m working on a lot of repetitive projects and prep, which can get old. I’ve been able to squeeze a few fun little experiments in between the monotonous work, and overall I’m having a good time on the torch.
I’ve been working on a playlist on spotify for you to tune into, and a correlating blog with my thoughts and anecdotes about the chosen songs and artists. Check that out here.
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