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 of 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.)
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 designed 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.
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!