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How Puffco’s Glassmakers Contest Advanced the Artform

In the modern age of smart rigs and pocket vaporizers, what becomes of the underground art of glass bong-making? When does technology silence culture?

This question prompted upscale vaporizer manufacturer Puffco to collaborate with popular independent glassmakers such as Ryan FittJosh Ford, and Joachim to apply their vision and talent to the Peak, a portable dab rig, by incorporating and honoring the vivid glass culture that paved the way for new modes of consumption.

Puffco has been making a serious impression on cannabis users with the Peak smart rig — a state-of-the-art electronic rig, also known as an e-rig, with a sleek, conal design. The glass chimney piece captured the imagination of glass artists who saw how the simple, transparent cone could be replaced with more vivid and imaginative interpretations.

“When the company was designing [the Peak], we had high hopes that the glass world would latch onto it like they did,” Kevin Chapman, Puffco events and production director, told Marijuana.com. While at a trade show in Las Vegas in February 2018, the Puffco team came across an Instagram post of a custom-made Peak attachment by glass artist SOLO.

“The whole team’s kind of dancing around, just excited that an artist had done on his own what we had hoped for,” Chapman said. “There was no commissioning of this piece or anything. He had just seen this as a new, very cool way to consume and something that he wanted his piece on top of.”

Josh Ford’s “Boiling Flask” was entered in Puffco’s Glass Open contest. Ford’s was one of the many pieces submitted by heady glass makers, including Devol Oner, Joachim, and Ryan Fitt. (Photo by Gina Coleman)

As a result, Puffco started the Glass Open, a creative competition for glass artists to submit photos of a custom-made glass piece that would attach to the Peak vaporizer base. “We kind of found it in ourselves to want them to put out their best product for the world to see,” Chapman said.

According to the contest rules, entries were judged according to one criterion: Who made the most “creative use” of the Puffco peak vaporizer.

Puffco’s webpage of 2018 Glass Open winners shows the diversity and striking variety of entries that emerged from the open-ended contest criteria.

“It was great to see not just one particular type of thing, but completely different things, and shine a light on everybody’s hard work,” said Chapman. “We didn’t want to limit anybody to any kind of bounds or restraints.”

Online votes piled in from all over the world for the inaugural contest. Glass artist Ryan Fitt took first place with a glass attachment that stayed true to the Peak’s signature conal shape, infusing it with intricately layered electro-formed metalwork and custom-cut opals.

Glassmakers Enter a Whole New World of Vaporizers

It was actually the Peak’s signature conal shape that made Fitt aware of Puffco in the first place.

Glassmaker Fitt is considered a veteran master of the craft of heady glass, a type of hand-blown, high-end, intricately designed bongs and pipes. Collectors know Fitt as a bonafide mascot of the artform and the community.

Among Fitt’s most well-known heady glass designs are his cone-shaped pipes called kužels (a Czech word for “cone”). As the Peak’s popularity rose online, friends in the heady glass community alerted Fitt to the striking similarity between the Peak and his own kužels. For Fitt, the similarity was an opportunity to collaborate with Puffco on a design that could be championed by the technology and culture of cannabis.

“The Glass Open popped up shortly after that, and I contacted them and said, ‘Hey I’m gonna make a piece for the show,’ and just kind of went for it,” Fitt told Marijuana.com. “And that was really it. I didn’t have any grand desires or any angles or anything like that. I was like, I know how to make a cone. I’ll go ahead and do this.”

Heady glass artist Ryan Fitt’s submission was voted the Grand Prize winner in Puffco’s 2018 Glass Open. (Photo by Gina Coleman)

The end product echoes Fitt’s attitude of welcoming new consumption technologies into the independent glassmaking world. Fitt’s winning piece, which he describes as a “tron design,” blends his intricate glass and metal layering work neatly into the latest cannabis innovation.

“We have a glass piece of art on top of the modern technology that’s starting to pop up more and more within cannabis use. It was really that simple. It just made sense,” Fitt said.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Andy Anderson on Marijuana.com

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Published: November 01, 2018

Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News

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