*A Story By Jake The Professor*
Recently, I was invited to a collaborative art exhibit in Las Vegas, Nevada called Bongzilla. The event is a celebration of large decorative art installations that resemble functional working bongs. Bongzilla was co-sponsored by Leafly and Weekend Unlimited, a Washington 502 Producer.
The Bongzilla event was festive with the spirit of celebration. There was food being cooked on the spit and beer and other drinks were flowing. There were dabs and other forms of weed being passed in every direction, plus a very talented graffiti artist created a large piece in real time while we enjoyed ourselves. It was cool. I’ve been to some awesome parties before but I’m gonna say those folks down south in Las Vegas have made an art out of having extremely lit parties.
Earlier that day, I had the opportunity to attend the CHAMPS trade show. Once inside the Las Vegas Convention Center, I come across a large area where there were several torches with Boro glass artist creating pieces to be judged at the show. The winner was to receive $25,000.00 for the best creation. It was fascinating to see them carefully and thoughtfully crafting each new intricate piece precisely where they wanted it.
Commonly called Boro glass. Bongs, rigs, bubblers, and pipes are items we see all the time in the cannabis community. Creating this type of glass art is commonly known as “flamework.” Learning about the history of this art, Jerome Baker, my host, shared that he began his flamework career in 1991 in Eugene, Oregon, eventually taking an apprenticeship with the godfather of Boro glass, Bob Snodgrass, the world-renowned glass artist.
While mourning the death of the famed Grateful dead band leader, Jerry Garcia in 1991, Jerome Baker Designs was born. JBD techniques are revolutionary. His style is all his own and is recognized by their distinct JBD functionality and stand in a category entirely his own. Back in 1991, Jerome began this unique technique to place marbles to help you better grip your bong when you do a big rip. Celebrities, rock stars, and even the Dali Lama enjoy JBD custom Glass. In Jerome’s latest venture, Jerome worked with another renowned glass artist who has been known to collaborate with Dale Chihuly.
For this trip, I arrived with my friends David Raynes of Marijuana Business Association MJBA, Michael O’Malley of Curved Papers, and Kerri Accardi of 420 Media. I also ran into our good friend from Washington, Jeremy Miller who operated the first Cannabis Farmers Market in Washington before cannabis went legal in 2012.
The highlight of my night was seeing Bob Snodgrass The Godfather of Glass. Bob began crafting pipes and bongs in 1971 and was influenced by decades of expansive cannabis smoking artistic culture and touring with the Grateful Dead in 1981.
Glassblowing was Bob’s main source of income and he traveled all over the world selling, teaching, and touring with the Dead. Bob and his family live in Eugene, Oregon. That is the hub of modern functional glass, the Mecca of Boro. With celebrity guests in attendance and popular famous graffiti artist, Bongzilla and the Boro glass community provided me, Jake The Professor, one hell of a trip.