Who Are the Best Living Bong Craftsmen? - Culture | MERRY JANE
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Who Are the Best Living Bong Craftsmen?

We're not even blowing smoke.

by Brenden Gallagher

by Brenden Gallagher

Recent years have seen a marked step forward in the artistic exploration and technical developments in glass for smokers. Whereas bongs were once simple tools to get high, theyre now functional art that should be cared for and cherished. There has never been a better time to be a smoker. In case you have any doubt, let’s take a look at some of the most innovative people and outfits changing the game for smokers everywhere. From breakthrough advancements to artistic epiphanies, here is the work of the best living bong craftsmen.

Scott Deppe

 

Auction is today for the @universegateson mothership collab at 730 message your number if you want to be involved

A video posted by Scott Deppe (@scott_deppe) on

Known as one of the most creative living glass blowers, no one has done more than Scott Deppe to elevate bong making as an art form. His extraterrestrial influenced “Take Me 2 Your Mothership” offered similar psychedelic themes and went for $20,000. His gold encrusted skull bong came with a reported asking price of $100,000.

It has only been in recent years that Deppe has been able to place such extreme price tags on his work. Deppe’s already high profile rose worldwide after he formed the Mothership, a collective of glass artists that pushed the limit of what glass can do. Some of their products, like the Fab Egg, put the Mothership on the radar of smoke shops and enthusiasts across the country. After working with Deppe, a number of Mothership members, including Quave and Dosa, have gone on to find fame and fortune as solo artists as well.

FREEEK

 

Fourtex made with @eross4point0 Green stardust and purple lollipop. #available photos by @tokecity

A photo posted by Freeek (@freeekglass) on

Not only are FREEEK’s glass creations some of the most interesting in the game, but his work also stands out from the crowd. FREEEK clearly looks to steampunk and the occult for artistic inspiration. Some pipes give us some serious Cthulu vibes while others make us feel like a stoned Sherlock Holmes.

Martin Birzle/ROOR

The team at RooR, led by founder Martin Birzle, is known for high-quality glass that allows for the construction of big-ass bongs of high-class quality. The six-foot tall Excalibur carries a price tag of $15,000 thanks to RooR’s industry-leading craftsmanship. The RooR team doesn’t offer the aesthetic creativity of others on this list but is known for making the highest-quality bongs in the game. RooR approaches the glass craft like furniture makers and automotive manufacturers. They look for innovations in their glass like anti-rolling systems, ice notches, and diffusers. Their products also often offer a modular system for a personalized smoking experience, as they seek not only to make the best bongs, but also to give each customer the best bong for them.

Quave

 

Function on this recent solo bidi. #quaveglass #kleinrecycler #bloodsport

A video posted by KJMapparatus (@quaveglass) on

When Scott Deppe formed the Mothership, getting Quave on his team was a priority. Quave’s glass approach is a bit toned down when compared to Deppe’s, but no less impressive. Quave often takes animals as his inspiration. A quick look at his IG reveals amazingly detailed pieces inspired by the animal kingdom, featuring fish, camels, and bees.

Luca Falso/Illadelph

Seeking out a midpoint between the formal exploration of the Mothership and the functional exploration of RooR, Illadelph has established itself as an industry pioneer. Though Illadelph produces beautiful pieces, it also can boast a number of innovations, including Coil Condensers, Disc Perc Technology, Up Stem Ash Catchers, Multi-Hole Bowl Designs, and Pyramid Percs. Formed in 2002, Illadelph has remained atop the industry for over a decade, inviting myriad artists to collaborate and producing some of the most memorable pieces of  recent years. As new glass artists emerge, many of them add an Illadelph collab to their résumé.

Craftsmanship invites imitators, of course. Illadelph faces such a counterfeiting problem that they’ve opted to post a warning on the company website. Illadelph is just one business in Philadelphia’s booming functional glass scene that has produced a number of dynamic artists and set up functional glass as a potential industry option for post-industrial cities.


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Brenden Gallagher

Brenden Gallagher works in television and writing in Los Angeles. He worked on Revenge, Heartbeat, and Famous in Love. His writing has appeared at Complex, VH1, and MERRY JANE. Follow him on Twitter @muddycreekU



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