By Erin Chessin
On display and for sale at Humboldt Glassblowers, is a $75,000 bong. You can find psychedelic and intricate glassworks of nearly a hundred local artists at the bong and pipe store located in downtown Arcata.
Arthur Ecker works at Humboldt Glassblowers. He said the asking price for the bong, made by local glassblower Banjo Glass, is appropriate due to the intricacy and precision of the bong.
“The amount of time and energy that was put into that piece shows just how hungry that artist was,” Ecker said.
Ecker said the amount of hours these Humboldt County artists put into their artistry is unfathomable. An artist can spend anywhere from 300-400 hours creating just a single piece, which equates to four to six months of hard work and craftsmanship.
“These people have families, and children they need to put food on the table for,” Ecker said. “These artists are incredibly hardworking people.”
This new breed of contemporary artistry sprouted new beginnings for Banjo Glass. Ecker said Bango Glass is a devoted father who was driven in his earlier years to make his best quality work in efforts of supporting his children.
Utilizing his past experience in art school, the aspiring artist was committed to creating iridescent, three-dimensional, and functional glass pieces.
Humboldt Glassblowers was in awe when they obtained one of his most extravagant pieces which is on sale for $75,000.
Customers are also impressed by the quality of the work when they walk into Humboldt Glassblowers.
Isaiah Harris was visiting a friend in Arcata for the week and made a point to visit Humboldt Glassblowers on his trip.
“I was impressed by the intricate artwork,” Harris said.“The quality of the glass is what sets them apart from other glass shops in different areas.”
Located at 815 Ninth St. the Arcata Plaza, Humboldt Glassblowers has the works of numerous local artists for sale and on display. Artists from all over Humboldt County bring their artwork to Humboldt Glassblowers. The shop holds pieces from 80 to 100 different artists, many of them local.
For efficiency, the shop is divided in half. On the left side of the store, customers will find small, multicolored glass pipes where prices ranges based on the complexity of the glass patterns.
Then there is the right side of the store, where Humboldt Glassblowers puts its finest glass pieces on display. Prices can run through the thousands depending on the intricacy and size of the bong.
Glass bongs and pipes have become not just a functional aspect of weed culture, but also an artistic element.
What use to be an online-only market for glassblowers has now become a state-of-the-art level of craftsmanship. Nowadays, the public is able to walk into a store and visually experience the glasswork.
As customers walk in and experience these inspiring pieces of art, they gain appreciation for the artistry.
“People are now respecting the art by being exposed to it,” said Dan Belo, who works with Ecker at the shop.
Belo and Ecker agreed that with legalization, glassblowers should gain more recognition for their craft with time because there is no longer a reason to be secretive about their artistry.
“With legalization you will start to see artists become more public about their work,” said Ecker.