• Bear-ly Legal: An Interview with Shurlok Holm

    In the world of functional glass art there are some well known names - Snodgrass, Tony Cray, Mike Philpot, Darby - names conjuring images of intricate borosilicate art pieces. Precious metal trapped in glass to form rainbows and skulls, graal-worked labyrinthine patterns and puzzle pieces, spinner jets and razor marias, glittering dichro cacti and peyote buttons...These men are some of the peak artists in the community but they have also spent years working on their greatest collaborative achievements: Their children.

    Some children of these modern glass masters have followed their parents onto the torch, some of their grandchildren, too - Snodgrass, particularly, already has two generations lampworking with him! Tony Cray's son, Niko, is well known to collectors and artists alike for his amazing work forming glass into functional shark sculptures. Mike Philpot's eldest son, Mike Junior (known as Coilpot in the lampworking community), is an up-and-coming artist based out of Oregon with peerless color-working ability.

    In this particular blog we had a chance to interview the talented but humble Shurlok Holm (Darby Holm's eldest son) about his work, family roots, and future. If you are not familiar with Shurlok Holm let's go over the basics: Coming out of Grants Pass, OR, (Another hotbed for the functional glass industry) this twenty-one year old is already years on the torch - A GTT Delta Elite, in case you were wondering. Without further adieu let's get to the interview!

    Illuzion: All right, thanks for taking the time to chat. So how long have you been on the torch?

    Shurlok Holm: Probably, let's see, do the math now, I wanna say I've been making it my job the last three years but I've been on the torch for as long as I could remember. So there's kind of a little patch in there where I was still playing on it, but it wasn't a job. So I'd say I picked up the flame around seven and learned the basic fundamentals. That is where my addiction [to glass] started.

    Illuzion: So what did you learn to do first when it comes to glass?  

    Shurlok Holm: So like I said, I started playing when I was really young, like elementary school still. I started making just clear marbles then on a real regimen and I kinda went from there - I made a certain amount of this and that and then I made some mushroom marbles, then some mushroom pendants and some simpler pendants. I went from that to - I started learning, let's see - Eush showed me how to make vases to test out my hollow themes, like little tiny ash vases for people - for their loved ones [cremains]. So I started on basically the fundamentals and after I learned flowers and mushrooms I learned how to twist dichro and pull spikes.  I turned 18 and then he (Darby) finally gave me some hollow tubing and said, "This is how you make a pipe", that's when I started at making functionals.

    From that point on, I've always had my eyes set on functionals because of the fact that was who I've been around.

    Shurlok Holm Panda Bear Rig Desiigner (Panda panda panda) glass.

    Everybody's always been like, "When are you gonna do that?  When are you gonna do that?", so it's always been a goal of mine, but I knew it was all for a reason and there was a purpose for the way it was being done. He (Darby) was honing me into the shape that I needed to be before I could actually produce what I wanted, anyways so I took the steps necessary to learn my craft.  

    Illuzion: Very nice. Now, obviously, growing up as Darby's oldest you've been exposed to glass from an early age but if an alternate reality had happened, if you were just coming into this, you think you'd still be interested in working in the medium? Would it have been something that you would've gravitated towards even if you weren't raised in it?

    Shurlok Holm: Yeah, I think the only reason I'm actually so into it, to be honest, is the fact that this community and this lifestyle, it's a staple in our [American] culture as it is already. You know what I mean? So, for me, this is kinda like, it's my lifestyle no matter what. I don't see any other life, really.

    Illuzion: That being said, have you found it to be good or bad to be growing up as Darby's kid in the industry, both trying to be your own artist and just growing up as Darby's son in general?

    Shurlok Holm: Well, there's definitely the sides of both coins with every question, you know what I mean? Being my dad's son has got me to meet amazing people. It's brought me to amazing places and I've seen amazing events. I've been a part of amazing changes within our culture [the glass industry] that I've actually seen firsthand, which is rare and beautiful. That's honestly the best thing about being his son is the fact that I'm just able to be alongside most of the greatest things that are happening in [functional glass] history at the moment.  

    There's also the side of it that, yeah, I do get a lot of stress sometimes, cuz I have to live up to that but at the same time, I'm my own artist and I'm my own name. I will make my own image and whatever that turns out to be, my dad is pretty proud of me because I'm working hard. As long as I work hard, he will continue to be proud of me and that's fine with me. As long as I do what I do, I feel like I'm doing a good job.  

    A field of teddy bear pendants by Shurlok Holm Bear-ly legal skills.

    Illuzion: So what is the story behind the name?  

    Shurlok Holm: I actually really like this story! So Merc, like the Merc's Minions MERC, so it was Colorado project. I wanna say this was, wow...yeah, it was just a little before I turned eighteen. It was around 2000, I wanna say maybe '13 or '12. That way I was still fidgeting with the name a little bit back then, how I was gonna do the logo and the style and whatnot. So anyways, I got on stage with the Chicharrones..they were playing at this afterparty [for the Colorado Project] and Merc happened to know them and he got me up on stage with them. Then I was beat boxing with them and before I walked down, he was like, "So those of you who don't know...this is Darby Holm's son, aka Shurlok Holm", and he kinda just said it and made my name. He just said it in front of a lot of glassblowers and everybody was like, yes, I love it.  

    Illuzion: It stuck, nice!  

    Shurlok Holm: Yeah, it really stuck and it was kinda cool. So from that night on, I was always trying to just make it more me and become that name. More or less, I didn't become the name but it became me.  

    Illuzion: So what is your favorite subject matter, man, when it comes to actually working glass - even if you haven't worked it into glass yet - what is your big thing?

    Shurlok Holm: I don't have a favorite subject per se, but my thing is I like to expand my knowledge. Where I stand now on only 5, 10% into what I could know, I really wanna learn how to do soft glass. I don't know anything about soft glass, the techniques in that I feel like I could bring back over into borrow and utilize those techniques like way better than I have been. Just from observing and using those techniques and honestly, the more I collab, the more my knowledge grows. The more I work alongside these amazing artists, the more I find new techniques and new things that make my work better as it is. So, I can't really say I have a favorite subject. I can't really say I know what I'm working towards because in the end, I'm just working towards being better than I am yesterday, you know what I mean? Tomorrow is [my work] better? Because tomorrow is a better day. That's how I wanna see my work. If it can come out cleaner, more precise - sharper edges that don't look bad - just that clean sharp, sexy look. If I can get that to look that much more every time, that's what I work towards.  That's what I've always worked towards, excellency, I guess. Without working for excellency, you're not gonna get excellency.

    Shurlok Holm x Hoobs Sneaker Rig Mille, and bears, and sneakers, oh my!

    Illuzion: I got you. So, keeping that in mind, what is your current favorite technique? What do you like the most?  

    Shurlok Holm: Well, mille work is since I learned to make it two years ago now. That's what I have been using in my pendants, bear rigs, and all the tiles in Hoobs collab shoe. Really liking exploring it.

    Illuzion: So, all right, besides Darby (with him being pretty obvious) who's your biggest inspiration? What artists either in the glass industry or outside the glass industry are really inspiring you right now?  

    Shurlok Holm: Give me five seconds to think. [COUGH] To be honest, man, I took a lot of art school and if I could say anybody besides my dad - which is a really hard one to pass up because he is most my inspiration - yeah, so anybody besides him? I'm taking out the rest of the glass industry, cuz I don't feel like that really counts, and music doesn't count for me either because I am so iffy and so back and forth with music. But I'd have to say between the three, I really appreciate Van Gogh, Salvador Dali, and...Picasso, obviously. So those three artists - besides glass, music, and anything else modern - I'd probably have to say are really inspirational.

    Shurlok Holm Mille Teddy Rig Picasso isn't just an app!


    Illuzion: Very nice. So who's your fantasy collaboration, man, what's the fantasy collab for you right now, the artist you feel like you can't approach?

    Shurlok Holm: I've never been asked that...well, you know what? That is a hard fucking question! See, that's the thing, because I've collabed with quite a bit of people. The thing is, is I would really, really - honestly there's probably one collab that I see being the most beneficial for everybody but then, well, [whistles] I see two pretty dope collabs in my head [those] would be obviously a collab with Buck and then obviously a collab with WJC.  Those would probably be two of the heaviest collabs I can think of at the moment...or a Banjo, but we all know that would be sick as fuck no matter what. Those are probably the sickest in my mind I could come up, besides one with my dad.  

    Thanks for joining us here at this Father's Day week for our first artist interview here on the blog, we are incredibly happy it could be with one of the up-an-coming second generation glassblowers. Beyond this article we are also excited to announce, officially, that our downtown Denver location will be hosting father and son, Darby and Shurlok Holm, as a team later this year for live demos later this year! Happy Father's Day, one and all!

  • Fitted to the Industry

    Ryan "Ruga" Connolly is not your average CEO and Grassroots California is not your normal clothing line. Raised on the outskirts of Detroit, Ryan headed west after high school to earn his degree at the University of Colorado. During his time there he fell in love with the city but still heeded the siren's call of California upon receiving his degree. Once arriving in California Ruga first went to work in the corporate culture of real estate finance.

    As with many coastal Californians Ryan fell in love with the ocean, surfing, and the vibrant culture found at the beach, as well as in many of the beach communities. While enjoying his chosen past time Ruga suffered a severe skull injury - fractures in three spots - that caused him to seek and use alternative treatments for the recovery and chronic pain. With this new perspective on the healing properties of the plant he took a hard look around the real estate industry and saw a lot of his colleagues making a huge profit off of this healing movement and realized he desperately needed to change focus and find a new passion that more closely aligned with the counter culture.

    At this point Ryan decided he wanted to make a difference more than a dollar and, after receiving his end of an $11 million dollar real estate deal, left the finance industry to begin work on a film documenting the burgeoning California cannabis scene and culture. While beginning work on making his film a reality he used friends as a sounding board and think tank to develop funding ideas and raise awareness about the culture in general, that is where the seed that would grow to become Grassroots California was planted.

    In 2009 Ruga launched the progressive clothing company known as Grassroots California and since then has quickly come to be one of the most recognizable brands of hats in the game. Beyond his clothing line Ryan was also instrumental in starting the 710 Cup, a competition for herbal concentrates that ran until 2015. Between these ventures he has worked with counter culture legends like Jerry Garcia, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Method Man, Griz, and many others. His company is also incredibly well known for working directly with many different glass artists and companies to create some of the most cutting-edge headwear on the planet - Embroidered, silk interiors, hologram bills, and more!

    Grassroots California is now an established brand with followers worldwide. Beyond being carried at all Illuzion Glass Gallery locations and they can be found in all fifty states and twenty other countries around the globe. Last year they put another trophy on their wall by successfully opening two permanent locations in Denver, CO, and Chicago, IL, as well as a successful pop up store in Barcelona, Spain. Ryan Connolly and his atypical company are definitely spreading the gospel of our culture across the globe and into the cultural mainstream - we cannot wait to see what this design-a-day company has in store during upcoming years!

  • Seeing is Believing

    The largest, most heavily worked, Absolute Krunk tube ever. One of the largest, most heavily worked, Absolute Krunk tubes ever. Only available at our Denver, CO, gallery location.

  • Planetary Alignment

    Half normal light, half UV light photo of Ill Glass 50 Watt Cycler Custom w/ Planets The planets have most definitely aligned!

  • Sovereignty Glass

    High Priestess Ayesha_GotGv2 "We are The Sovereign."

    In the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe grand saga - "Guardians of Galaxy: Vol. 2" - we are introduced to a host of new characters and races, perhaps the most stunning of them being The Sovereigns. These golden-skinned humanoids are not birthed, but designed and grown - each perfect for a specific task, beautiful, intelligent, and proud. Since Sovereignty Glass appeared on the American production scene in 2007 they have continued to innovate since their inception with percs and shapes that were designed with specific uses in mind. Not unlike The Sovereign from the MCU Sovereignty Glass has quickly become a gold standard for the industry.

    Founded by Steve (a.k.a. - Machine Maker, "The Brains") - a native Californian on torch since 2000 - this company has engineered some of the most cutting edge percolator designs from the word go out of Southern California. These days you can find Sovereignty pieces in a variety of sizes with stemline, Stem8, gridded G8, recycler, pillar, and peyote pillar percolators. Beyond just expanding this line with percs Sovereignty also now produces everything from an affordable no-frills option to a sandblasted mid-range on up to heavily worked, heady, peyote pillar perc tubes.

    Sovereignty Glass Banner "So are we!"

    Having always been about quality - first, last, and forever - Steve has remained on the cutting edge of artistry, too, and maintained tight ties to the larger artist community. Some of these ties have resulted in SUPER heady collaboration pieces, truly the pinnacle of the Sovereignty Glass theme of pairing the best function and look. As one of the truly great American production brands Sovereignty is stocked at all three physical locations of Illuzion Glass Galleries - Denver, CO; Boulder, CO; and Omaha, NE - as well as our website via their own page.


  • Illuzion Glass Galleries' Annual 420 Party Featuring AKM, Cowboy, Darby, and ...Punty?

    Illuzion Glass Galleries 4/20/2017 Party Collab Darby Final Touches to 4/20/2017 Party Collab

    When you get four artists like AKM, Cowboy, Darby, and ...Punty? together something epic is bound to happen!  That's exactly what took place on 4/20/2017 at Illuzion Glass Galleries' downtown Denver, Colorado, location.  The day began early for the artists as there was much prep work and planning for the night to come.  Fans and collectors gathered around the viewing window as the industry's best began their mega collab to celebrate every enthusiast's favorite day!

    Cowboy at Illuzion Glass Galleries Cowboy adding opal encasements

    They worked all day while massive crowds flooded into the gallery to watch live glass blowing, and to take advantage of Illuzion Glass Galleries' annual "Buy One, Get One for $4.20" sale.  Many new pieces of solo work and collaborative pieces were displayed behind the viewing window, along with artist apparel and the event's official poster.

    Official Illuzion Glass Galleries Annual 420 Event Poster The Illuzion Glass Galleries' 2017 4/20 Poster

    Freddy's Cuisine food truck catered to the hungry party goers out back throughout the night while the artists captivated the crowd inside the gallery.  Other additions to the festivities included:  body painting by David Caballero inside the studio, fire dancers, a lounge, beverages, and all around good vibes.  Guest appearances by Buck, JD Maplesden, Shackman, BMFT, Burtoni, Eric from AGE, Kuhns, and Dabbing Granny were also a treat!

    The finished results were definitely worth the wait when everything finally wrapped up around 2 AM.  Three collaborative pendants and the annual 420 piece were created in front of the live crowd.  The first pendant was an AKM x Darby Illuminati over Watermelon skull and the other two were rainbow linework tubing Cowboy x AKM skulls wigged to perfection.

    AKM X Darby Illuminati Watermelon Pendant AKM X Darby Illuminati Watermelon Pendant

    The party piece itself was outrageous! The piece consisted of a large AKM skull split perfectly in half between Darby's dichro Watermelon tubing and Cowboy's rainbow lined tubing.  Other features of the mega collab were Cowboy tile stacks, large encased opals, cacti, and cow skulls.  The mouthpiece was later faceted and a signature AKM murrine slide was added to the piece.  Each artist's unique style was represented to the fullest.

    Many memories and friendships were made manifesting another epic party at Illuzion Glass Galleries.  Many thanks to all of the artists, collectors, and guests that attended the event!  The pieces that were made during the party are available to be seen in person at our Denver Glass Gallery.  Stay tuned for our next First Friday Event!

  • Illuzion Glass Galleries' "Pineapple Rising" First Friday Party 4/7/17 with Mr. Gray and Friends

    ILL Glass x Mr. Gray Custom Satellite Recycler ILL Glass x Mr. Gray bringing the heat in Denver, CO, at the "Pineapple Rising" First Friday Party.

    Mr. Gray and friends definitely brought the heat to Illuzion Glass Galleries' First Friday event on April 7th, 2017. An entire cube of collaborations and new work sat waiting to be unveiled as the party goers began to arrive. With Pelican cases in hand, the fans began to gather around the viewing window as Mr. Gray and friend Justin Knoferl began prep work for an amazing night of collaborations with local artist Ill Glass.

    Mr. Gray X ILL Glass Custom Satellite Illuzion Glass Galleries' First Friday Event - Custom Satellite Recycler - ILL Glass x Mr. Gray

    As the night went on, the back parking lot of Illuzion Glass Galleries began to fill with many familiar faces of the industry. Groovy tunes, Amore Pizza, and beverages floated all around as Mr. Gray began decorating two of Ill Glass's custom Satellite recyclers. Around 9:00 PM the Mr. Gray "Pineapple Rising" display cube was uncovered and fans began to swarm and gawk at all the various pineapple rigs and recyclers manifested over the last few months. The showcase displayed many collaborations including artists N8 Miers, Joe Peters, D-Wreck, Bishop, Ben David, and F-Time. A number of solo pieces were also presented, including a new line of rigs featuring almost every color of the rainbow!

    Adding the final touches to an ILL Glass x Mr. Gray Collab Satellite on 4/7/2017. Adding the final touches to an ILL Glass x Mr. Gray Collab Satellite on 4/7/2017.

    At one point in the night, Mr. Gray and Justin decided to bring another medium into play and a completely functional homemade pineapple water pipe was constructed. All around, the night was one for the books! The finished pieces are still available and on display in store at our Denver location. Thanks for joining us if you managed to make it, we hope to see you all for our next event!

    Mr. Gray at Illuzion Glass Galleries Mr. Gray takes a break and makes fresh pineapple into a functional piece at Illuzion Glass Galleries.

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