This month, we spotlight local glass artist Gage Shaw to find out why he became a glassblower, what type of glass he specializes in and the artists that inspire him.

 In Art, Interviews

This month, we spotlight local glass artist Gage Shaw to find out why he became a glassblower, what type of glass he specializes in and the artists that inspire him.

TAHOE CANNABIS: How long have you been a glassblower? And, how did you get into it?

GAGE SHAW: I started blowing glass in 2012. I knew a glassblower in Truckee that supplied me with glass beads for weaving hemp necklaces when I was younger. I came to him wanting a custom sherlock made and he let me watch him make the whole thing. I spent about four hours in his shop that day with my jaw on the floor, watching him make a smaller sherlock with a national hand torch. It had never occurred to me that you could just get a simple torch like that and melt glass, and to top it off make awesome pipes! I went home that night and bought a used national off of eBay, some hoses and regulators, and the guy who made me my piece sold me my first oxygen tank. I started using that little setup in my parents boiler room of all places and after I almost burned it down I moved my setup to our barn. It was a torrid love affair that continues to this day, except now my equipment is a lot nicer and I work out of my garage.

TCM: Are you originally from the Northern Nevada area?

GAGE: I was born in Reno and my family moved to Truckee when I was less than a year old, so I grew up in Truckee. My parents started a small farm on our property when I was a teenager, it was a great place to grow up; spent most of my time out climbing on Donner Summit, running around the woods, or melting glass.

TCM: What type of glass pieces do you specialize in? Do you have a signature piece?

GAGE: I love making pipes. I also love glass, but I definitely wouldn’t do it as much if I couldn’t make pipes. For me, making a ceremonial object like that makes the work far more satisfying. It’s one thing to make a beautiful flower sculpture, but there’s nothing like pulling a warm pipe out of your kiln in the morning and being able to use it right then. The glass almost takes on a personality when you can connect with it on a regular basis. I’ve accidentally broken dear pieces that I had communed with for a long time and cried like I lost a dear friend, and in a sense I did. If you ask me, that’s more than just making pretty glass, it’s something much bigger and more beautiful.

TCM: Are there any glassblowers that inspire you?

GAGE: Absolutely, in my opinion the American pipe makers working now are some of the best artists/craftsmen to ever walk the earth. Banjo would have to be my idol; not only is he pushing the limits of borosilicate glass but he’s also an incredible human being.

TCM: Do you have your own shop? If not, where can we find your work?

GAGE: I do not have a shop of my own, but you can find my work at Art Dogs, Happy Dayze and on my Instagram.

TCM: Do you consume cannabis? If so, what is your favorite strain and favorite method of consumption?

GAGE: I do, but choosing a favorite strain is hard. It’s like asking a parent which is their favorite child, I love almost all of them for various reasons. That being said, some favorites of mine on the indica side are the fruity kushes, and as for sativas… I’d have to go with Green Crack or a Jack Herer cross, also the fruity hazes can be super tasty. As for consumption I almost always smoke flower out of a dry pipe, I don’t smoke a ton so I don’t really need a bong. Even though I use them infrequently, concentrates are my favorite. The flavor and potency is unmatched.

TCM: Does cannabis play a role in your art?

GAGE: Cannabis is arguably the whole reason I make this art, but I don’t like to work medicated for the most part because I can get distracted. But, if I’m working on something easy, or just messing around in the shop with my free time I do love to get my creativity flowing. There’s definitely something to be said about smoking a bowl and watching glass melt, in fact some of my best experiences behind the torch have been through that process. Designing my pieces is heavy on the herb, most of my new ideas come to me when I use my glass and marvel at it. Sometimes, when staring at one of my pieces, I get so inspired that I have to get to the shop and make whatever glass piece is in my head.

TCM: What is your favorite cannabis and/or glassblowing event to attend?

GAGE: I haven’t really had the opportunity to attend many glass and/or cannabis events, but I would absolutely love to attend Chalice, or the Degenerate Flame Off. I’m sure I would meet many awesome, like-minded people and that’s what I’m all about.

TCM: Any last words? What recommendations would you give to those wanting to become glassblowers?

GAGE: Being a glassblower is a lot like being a musician, or any other artist for that matter. Many people love playing music, and it’s how they want to spend their life, but trying to make a living at it can turn that relationship sour real quick. If you want to blow glass, get a cheap starter setup and dance in that flame, but don’t expect to start making money at it until you pour years of blood, sweat, and tears into your craft. It’s punishing work, but there are some people that want this life bad enough to do whatever it takes. If you’re that person, get after it, but if you’re not, I wouldn’t bother trying to go pro. It’ll just make you hate blowing glass, and nobody wants that.
>>>> Instagram: @gagesgarageglass

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