By Corbin MacDonald
You see glass corner to corner, driving around town, glass shops everywhere. Even local gas stations, adult shops, and so many other places carry glass or just have people selling glass nearby. People are always amazed at what glass blowers are able to do, it almost seems like magic to some people. Most people aren’t able to wrap their minds around how artists mold and warp the glass into the form or structure of their choice. Consumers have a hard time understanding how someone can take a solid glass rod and turn it into meaningful art.
Zac Gardiepy, also known by his artist name: Lift Ticket Glass, is just one of the many glass blowers you might stumble upon in Eugene. After asking Mr. Gardiepy why he got into glass blowing it, he said “It was so cool man. They were like rock stars back in the day, there was only like a couple of people doing it, and I was like ‘How come nobody else is doing it?’ Literally, people would be like ‘Oh my gosh! How did you get the mushroom in the glass?’ And we’d tell people these B.S. stories like ‘Oh yeah, you just gotta like sneak up on the mushroom and like shove it in this tube,’ but really it’s all just science.” I asked Mr. Gardiepy how he learned how to blow glass, he said that he didn’t exactly learn from one specific person because everyone shares techniques, the glass community is a teaching family.
Mr. Gardiepy says back in the day he and his glass crew would head down to 13th St. because that’s where all the action was at. 13th St. was the place people would sell all down the aisle, but nowadays most glass pushing is done on Instagram or Facebook. Mr. Gardiepy mentioned that there are a few ups and downs of being a glass artist. One example is that you are your own boss so you set the schedule but have to motivate yourself. In that sense, glass blowers get to do what they want, but they have to push their own product so they don’t always have a stable income.
Mr. Gardiepy also says that it can be hard to stay focused or creative if you’re just working out of your house, alone or even with just one other person, so it’s better to work with a crew so you can all give each other ideas, and you want to impress the others in your group so you are more motivated to make new and crazy things.
Gardiepy ends with saying that being a glass artist in Eugene is cool and fun but it can be a struggle, especially with all of the Chinese glass being shipped in and sold in America. Do yourself and everyone else in the community a favor and buy local glass in Eugene.