by Warren Rubin
Nearly a year old, Smoked Volume 1 is still a platform for the importance of pipe blowing within the glass blowing industry. Connecting pipe blowers to a broader audience, the book aims to highlight how pipe blowing pushes the boundaries of the art form, testing the medium's limitations whenever possible and placing it as a driving force among glass art and sculpture.
An open invitation to glass pipe blowers around the world, Smoked Volume 1 is a result of their best work, submitted specifically for the book, with the intent not to reveal or sell the work before the book's release.
Published by Grit City Inc., the 160-page full color book has been printed with the highest quality inks and paper, containing over 100 beautiful full-color photographs and interviews with each artist.
Many artists feel a negative sentiment toward the art of pipe blowing, but Smoked Volume 1 reverses that stigma by expressing the creativity and innovation behind the craft. Often glass art was hidden in studios and garages until word traveled to a collector, who absorbed the art into a private collection.
Adding a new element to glass blowing, in the year 2000 artists began to move away from soda-lime glass in favor of borosilicate, which melts at a much higher temperature due to its low thermal expansion coefficient, leading to a reduced risk of breakage and allowing the artists to work on small sections of a large piece without the entire item being heated. "Truly, borosilicate isn't even a revolution; it's a tsunami, and the 30 artists featured in this book aren't riding the wave, they caused the quake," states Henry Grimmett, co-owner of Glass Alchemy, Ltd.
Combined with a wide array of new colors and palates, the glass pipe movement has changed dramatically in ten years time. With so much to the industry, Grit City Inc. is working on making another edition, Smoked Volume 2, which will consist of over 200 pages of beautiful in-depth color photographs.