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Excessive Glass Society: Operation: Pipe Dreamers Brings Legitimacy To The Glass Pipe World | Excessive Instances

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The time period “pipe dream” originated within the Nineties to explain opium customers’ wild hallucinations and have become related to unattainable wishes. For the previous 4 many years, glass pipe artists have lived a pipe dream as they tried to develop companies whereas combating for legitimacy and acceptance within the artwork world and with mainstream society, and all whereas below the draconian gaze of the federal authorities. However in 2021, millennia of glass artwork, pipe growth, and marijuana legalization efforts will converge within the televised competitors sequence Operation: Pipe Dreamers, a present which guarantees to show these glass artists’ pipe desires into actuality. 

Conceived by tv director Jason Wald and glass-blowing entrepreneur Jason Harris, Operation: Pipe Dreamers will pit grasp glass artists towards one another to trend beautiful flame-blown bongs, pipes and rigs worthy of museum show. One distinction from different competitors reveals is that every one artist creations will likely be auctioned off for charity. One other is the group factor carried out when a bit shatters – an inevitability when working with glass.

“Typically the glass gods take over,” says Harris. “And a few good items simply need to go to heaven.” In such cases, the contestants will crew as much as restore the piece, demonstrating the tight-knit group inherent on this tribe of modern-day alchemists with historical roots.

High Glass Society: Operation: Pipe Dreamers Brings Legitimacy To The Glass Pipe World
Photograph credit score: James Ballerstein

An Artwork Type Steeped In Custom

Glass artwork has wowed our ancestors for hundreds of years. Whereas Moses was hot-footing it out of Egypt, his pursuer, the Pharaoh, was possible dipping his finger into core-formed glass kohl tubes to use dramatic eyeliner. A number of thousand years later, three rich astrologer kings introduced extravagant items to a barn-born toddler, their frankincense and myrrh probably housed in receptacles of blown glass, a nascent Syrian artwork kind. Throughout the Center Ages, glass blowing within the Republic of Venice grew to become so prized that all the trade was moved to the close by island of Murano to protect their glass blowing secrets and techniques 

Pipe smoking’s historical past is simply as wealthy. Pharaohs’ pyramids housed copper pipes utilized in non secular rites. Scythian tomb excavations uncovered 2,500 year-old golden bongs that tribal chiefs hit. Native Individuals had been smoking tobacco from pipes hundreds of years earlier than European explorers within the 1500s introduced the profitable leaf house. And in 1728, the invention of porous carvable meerschaum led to an explosion of artistic pipe designs which can be nonetheless valued as artwork collectables.

Flash ahead to the Nineteen Seventies, when the pipe and glass worlds lastly coalesced. Bob Snodgrass, a glass artist who toured with the Grateful Lifeless promoting pipes, revolutionized the pipe trade together with his elaborate designs and improvements. He developed borosilicate or arduous glass pipes and found fuming, whereby glass combined metals change colour as they’re heated.

He began the Eugene Glass College in Oregon and constructed a following of devoted glass blowers. Glass pipes and bongs grew to become extra intricate and experimental. What had been as soon as objects of utility grew to become fantastical artwork layered with colour and light-weight. The trade unfold globally, and Snodgrass secured his place because the glass pipe Godfather. 

High Glass Society: Operation: Pipe Dreamers Brings Legitimacy To The Glass Pipe World
Photograph credit score: James Ballerstein

Attending these Lifeless reveals, Jason Harris was mesmerized by the artwork kind. “The glass itself is an historical alchemy. It’s like magic,” he says of the malleable, expressive substance.

Harris sought out Snodgrass and have become his apprentice for years earlier than venturing out on his personal to create Jerome Baker Designs. His firm grew to become a multi-million-dollar chief within the creation of high-concept pipe artwork, promoting glass to such notable figures as George Clinton, Snoop Dogg, and George Clooney. However in 2003, the glass pipe market collapsed in the course of the DEA’s sting “Operation Pipe Goals,” which focused dozens of companies promoting drug paraphernalia. Harris’s total inventory was confiscated and he was positioned on home arrest. Famed actor Tommy Chong, who operated Chong Glass Works/Good Goals, bought 9 months in jail. The U.S. authorities handled these artists as in the event that they had been cartel members. 

Authoritarians attacking artwork will not be a brand new idea. In 1937, Hitler denounced and banned “Degenerate Artwork,” typically created by Jews, Communists, the Expressionist, and even jazz artists. The Soviet Union censored and destroyed literature, artwork, movie, and music and arrested artists deemed damaging to their ethos. Within the final century, underground types of expression together with graffiti, rap music, and even skateboarding have met authorities push again. But time and standard acceptance have reworked the subversive into the traditional. Now Banksy avenue artwork is a collector’s dream, the X-Video games are televised internationally, and Kanye West is engaged on his subsequent billion. 

The 2011 documentary Degenerate Artwork highlighted the underground artwork of glass pipe blowing and its seek for legitimacy within the artwork world. Actually, the mainstream glass artwork scene has instantly benefited from the evolution of the glass pipe world. Within the movie, glass producer Henry Grimmett of Glass Alchemy says, “Any development you’ve seen within the sculptural world has all come from developments within the pipe.”

But pipe artwork continues to be considered the glass world’s prodigal son due to its affiliation with marijuana. Many items may compete with any Dale Chihuly sculpture within the Corning Museum of Glass, however add a bowl and carb and immediately it’s lambasted as mere paraphernalia like every previous crack pipe.

Operation: Pipe Dreamers Encourages Legitimacy, Group, And Competitors

However generally the celebrities align. Jason Harris and Jason Wald, director of “The World Sequence of Poker,” conceived of the present Operation: Pipe Dreamers, a cheeky play on the cruel governmental sting. The aim of Operation: Pipe Dreamers is partially to reverse the gen-pop notion of glass pipe artwork and marijuana consumption.

“We’re simply a part of a bigger-picture political means of legalization,” says Harris. “I’m tremendous stoked to be alive throughout this, it being a little bit arm of social justice.”

To strengthen the validity of the artwork kind, they’ve recruited famend glass sculptor Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen as one of many judges to preside over the competitors. She studied below such revered glass masters as William Morris and the late Pino Signoretto of Murano.

“By bringing somebody as elite as Karen, we’ve got modified the entire canvas,” says Wald, who goals by means of Operation: Pipe Dreamers so as to add legitimacy to glass pipe makers and the marijuana trade basically.

“I have a look at pipes just like the wonderful goblets of Sixteenth-century Murano,” says Willenbrink-Johnsen when requested about pipe artists’ future within the better glass artwork world. “I feel inside the subsequent few years, it’s going to be accepted in museums as a result of they’re going to remove that wall of uncertainty. They’re allowed to acknowledge the aesthetics of it as a substitute of ‘this can be a vessel to smoke this unhealthy, unhealthy marijuana.’”

High Glass Society: Operation: Pipe Dreamers Brings Legitimacy To The Glass Pipe World
Photograph credit score: James Ballerstein

Prime on Jason Wald’s listing of objectives for Operation: Pipe Dreamers is highlighting the altruistic nature of those glass makers. “If you happen to watch any present that’s actuality based mostly round competitors – they make cupcakes; they make knives – what occurs after that? The place do these knives go? The place do these cupcakes go? In our present, the pipes which can be made, and they are going to be stunning items, will likely be up for charity public sale.”

“All of us want to recollect we’re a group. All of us want to present again,” says Harris. “That’s why we’re going to donate … proceeds to Pilchuck Glass College to coach younger glass blowers. It’s main by instance.”

A stalwart of this group and prime ambassador for the glass piper motion and marijuana legalization, Tommy Chong, has signed on to the Operation: Pipe Dreamers crew. He’ll voice the opening of the present and carry out all of the voice over work for every episode. He’s additionally full dedicated to be a sitting decide for season two of Operation: Pipe Dreamers, which is already within the pre manufacturing phases.

Harris, who, alongside Chong, has skilled first hand the cruel realities of presidency crackdowns and has fought within the trenches to legitimize marijuana and its related companies, sees Operation: Pipe Dreamers as being the vanguard for mainstream acceptance and political change. 

“Have been on the cusp right here. All we’ve got to do is tip it off the sting,” he says. “It’s about schooling. Operation: Pipe Dreamers is a little bit pawn within the massive chess sport of legalization.”

The primary season of Operation: Pipe Dreamers will air this yr on YouTube.