GLASS PIPES

By J.J. Colagrande

snoddy2For sale or trade at the glassblower’s table are chillums, spoons, Sherlocks, and bubblers. Chillums are skinny funnel pipes smoked by placing the bottom of the tube between the index and middle finger then clasping the hand tight. If held correctly an airtight pocket forms and the smoke is sucked through the thumb and index finger. When smoking a chillum, one’s lips never touch the pipe—the hand serves as a mouthpiece. Spoons define simple—a one-piece pipe, mouthpiece on one end, bowl on the other. Some spoons have sidecarbs, some don’t. A sidecarb is a little hole in the side of the glass. The smoker covers the hole with his finger while inhaling, the pipe fills with smoke, the finger is released from the sidecarb, and the chamber is cleared like a vacuum. Sherlocks also have sidecarbs, as do bubblers. Sherlocks get their name from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes character. They are big pipes curving downward then upward. Bubblers are expensive bong pipes. A glass tube runs down the middle of the bubbler and water is put into the pipe. The water filters the smoke creating a bubbling effect when puffed. A lot of bubblers, because they’re so expensive, at least $200, are considered headies. A headie is a pipe a head calls his favsnoddy3orite. Headies can be bubblers, Sherlocks, chillums, etc. They’re unique in some way. Either a popular glassblower blew them, they’re expensive, or they’re extra intricate in design and form. The vender on Shakedown has a whole bunch of headies. Many of his Sherlocks are special because they are blown inside-out. Inside out pipes have patterns of color worked onto the inner surface of the glass giving an added depth to the design. The vender on Shakedown also has a collection of pipes blown by Snodgrass—the Picasso of pipe glassblowers. His trademark pipes have skull marbles attached to the side. Glass is colored by the addition of metals to the melt. The blower attaches to the end of a glass rod the metal he chooses and the pressurized flame from the torch sprays the burning metal onto the glass. Cobalt creates blue; gold creates red; silver makes yellow; copper green.  The head selling glass on Shakedown has a huge setup with the glass displayed in guitar cases padded in Styrofoam egg crates. The cases are sprawled along three long tables forming a square around the vender from Eugene. All his glass are Pyrex pipes. Pyrex is just a type of heat resistant rolled glass. The unique feature of Pyrex pipes is that they change colors. Before smglassblowinoked, Pyrex pipes are for the most part clear. Maybe there is some blue or green from the cobalt and copper. But, as people smoke, the glass heats up, resin builds, and the pipes change color, the clear spots on the Pyrex turn yellow and red. When blowing colored glass, blue and green show their colors immediately, while red and yellow are at first invisible and only come out when heated. The vender on Shakedown has enough glass to fill a gallery. And that is where a lot of the pipes belong for they are like pieces of art. Their beauty and originality, unique in the fact that no two are exactly alike, make his pipes collectibles, appealing to the aesthetics of heads.

If you like this, check out Thelonious comment on glass pipes from a headie perspective