Tucked in an alley just off Commercial and Venables sits an inconspicuous example of one of Vancouver’s fast commercializing arts scenes—glassblowing.
Myles Rasmussen, known as Mimzadellic, took over the garage-turned-glass studio he shares with four other glassblowers this year. They call their studio Mainframe, and produce whats known as “designer glass” in cannabis circles—intricately designed high-end pipes, bubblers, and bongs.
Rasmussen started blowing glass while he was living north of Toronto. He moved to Vancouver four years ago and his career has been heating up since. At 25 years old he’s already been nominated for awards and had pieces sell for $2,000. He primarily uses the internet to self market and sell his products, although some pieces do make their way into stores.
Despite his commercial and critical success, he still considers himself and the Mainframe artists as children in the developing industry.
“We’re up and coming but we’re still the young guys,” he said, noting that there’s artists who have been producing locally producing pieces for two decades.
Tye Lakusta, an employee at Puff Pipes on Granville, has seen a steady progression in high end paraphernalia sales over the last two years. In addition to artistic value, he cites perceived risk mitigation as another factor pushing cannabis smokers to buy local as opposed to imported hardware.
“China glass has an unfortunate use of paint in their products. If things are painted and then heat is being brought to them, it’s gonna cause health issues further down the road,” explains Lakusta. “In any of the bigger city centres people really take pride in artistic value. Even if it’s not a custom piece, you can go into a shop and some of the stuff speaks to you from the sheer creativity that artists put into it”.
Although some independent pieces have sold for over $10,000, there’s plenty of locally made hardware available for under $100.
For his part, Rasmussen advises anyone seeking to learn more about the Vancouver scene simply to look at what’s around. According to Lakusta, close to 80 per-cent of products at Puff are locally made, or at least “fair trade”. Another good place to start could be at local glass shop Boro and Beyond this Saturday. Starting at 7 p.m. they’re hosting a show highlighting work by JonK, Hippo and, Stratisphere, all of whom are highly regarded by both Rasmussen and Lakusta.
Boro and Beyond can be found at 1340 W 4th Ave. in Vancouver.