• 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 Illuzionglassgalleries.com 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!

  • Manifest (Glassworks) Destiny

    New York state-based Manifest Glassworks (or MGW) has been making quality American production glass for over a decade now as though it were their destiny to do so. Bonz, the owner and company mastermind, has been working glass for over fifteen years and made a name for himself back in the day by making functional art out of custom stick stacks and early dichroic glass that has truly stood the test of time for both design and style. Priding themselves on being part of the American Craft movement they use all American manufactured materials to make stemless water pipes, traditional water pipes, bubblers, vapor rigs, ash catchers, and more. Their work is not restricted to simple single color or clear glass, either, they also produce tubes with reversal work and fuming, too.

    When it comes to scientific diffusion MGW is probably best known for their distinctive CIRQ and Birdcage percolator designs. The CIRQ, a perc tube inside an oversized showerhead perc , gives you 360° diffusion through the precision cut slits for maximum filtration on Manifest Glass tubes; the Birdcage features four different uptakes feeding 360° of percolation. Between these two percs once you add in a diffused downstem you have all the right elements for perfectly filtered smoke or vapor...Although don't be surprised to see these New York madmen stacking multiple levels of vapor refinement onto a single piece.

    Illuzion Glass Galleries' have been proud to see Manifest Glasswork's crowned and three-eyed lion staring out from our shelves since the beginning, they were one of the first tube companies we stocked to try and get affordable, quality, American-made production to the consumer. Since then we have only seen their style and technique get better all the way around, we truly look forward to seeing what the next hot thing from this company is over our next ten years in business!Manifest Glassworks Illuzionglassgalleries.com Banner


  • Pendants: 101

    Obligatory Intro
    Welcome to Collector’s Corner, a little blog we here at Illuzion Glass Galleries' are bringing to you to try and help illuminate the wider world of collecting borosilicate glass art!  To kick things off we are going to be talking about pendants, not just because they are an up and coming way to collect work from our favorite artists but also because they are a great introduction to collecting glass in general -or- bringing someone brand new into the scene.  This will not be covering pendant rigs or pipes, we will be focusing exclusively on non-functional work.  (It won’t be boring, promise, and there is a porpoise!)

    (Anything But) Basic Pendantry
    So you want to start collecting glass but that 2000-era Jake C inline bubbler is WAY too far out ofDONE02364-1-WR reach and even starting with a Cowboy onie is a two or three paycheck stretch, huh?  You could start a GoFundMe (#poser) or you could turn around and pick up a Paulie Two Fingers “Steal Your Face” pendant for half the price - and start a glass collection that rapidly becomes the envy of your heavy hitter friends with their room full of pipes that they can’t carry everywhere and show off.  With up-and-coming artists like Miyagi pulling off opal-inlaid disc flips (and collabing with HUGE artists like AKM) the pendant scene is where new folks show off ever tightening skills and well known artists can make their smallest work available to a wider audience.

    The Wider World
    What really turns you on about glass? Fume work? El Hefe.  Reversals? Eric Ross.  Opals? Adam Reetz.  Sculpture? Aquariust.  Electroforming? Shipwreck.  Sandblasting? Amani Summerday.  Carving? Rye.  Wire wrapping? Jason Burruss.  Implosion? Takao Miyake.  Cane work? Harold Cooney.  Dichroic imagery? Berzerker.  Drawn images? Punty.  Every artist and style can be found in the pendant game.  


    Honestly, when it comes right down to it, utilizing any technique cleanly in a small format really makes the techniques shine.  As you see more work in the same techniques from different artists you can start to clearly see what makes the headiest of pendants so amazing - not just the artist, or artists, involved but the consummate skill showcased making something so intricate.  Once you have a wider array of pendants in your collection you will also be amazed at how often someone will either recognize the artist’s work or simply start a conversation about what the pendant is, how it was made, and generally getting interested in the art as a piece of jewelry or for itself.

    Porpoises! (We Told You.)sherbertxtakao_blogedit
    As your collection evolves and you decide what techniques and/or artists you want to focus on it should also be pointed out that there are plenty of pendants with purposes, too!  Many pendants made today serve not only as jewelry, but also as carb caps or dabbers, with the rare glassblowing tool or titanium pencil tossed in for good measure.  The “carb” part of “carb cap” is short for “carburetion,” which is the process of mixing gas and air.  This is a fairly vital part to low-temperature vaporization - one of the best ways to experience the flavor locked in precious essential oils.  These types of pendants typically have either a groove or a small hole through them (not the bale) which allows air flow when the intended side is placed on a domeless nail...Vaporization and accessorization, harmonized.  As for the dabber functionality basically any longer point on a pendant COULD be used, technically, but artists like Sherbert and Jon E. Walker create uniquely jonewalker_blogeditdesigned pendants with obvious “designated use” areas.  The rarest uses for pendants, the ones that are seen more frequently on the artists, are as glassblowing tools for either in the process or finishing the piece.  Firebug Jay, in particular, is known for his fully functional graphite reamers that are the size of a quarter and Sherbert, once again, partnered with Happy Daddy to manufacture titanium pencils that will sign glass just as well as they serve essential oils.

    All Done
    Hopefully you have enjoyed our first Collector’s Corner, we will continue to publish these blogs - although not on any particular schedule - and cover topics primarily focused on educating or reaching out to collectors, new and old.  This could include topics like display and lighting; more pieces on categories of collectible glass; valuation and insurance; and potentially spotlights on specific collections and gallery displays.  Thanks for joining us!Green-nug-pendant-sized-WR


  • The Newest Blend

    DONE420Collab-2 Illuzion Glass Galleries 2017 Annual 420 Party Collaboration Vabor Bubbler by AKM, Cowboy, and Darby

  • 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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