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Pipe Making

A guide to pipe making techniques, history, and community.

The following information is quoted from information provided about the 2019 Rakow Commission by David Colton

Since the late 1990s, glass has been the material of choice for cannabis pipes. Originating in the “parking lot” scene of Grateful Dead concerts, pipemaking has since emerged as a global phenomenon with a highly developed culture of makers, collectors, and enthusiasts. Operating outside the mainstream of glass and art, pipemakers looked to street art and pop culture for inspiration as they made works that obscured their function and skirted legality. Colton’s pipe enters the Museum’s collection amidst changing conversations about cannabis, with the decriminalization and legalization of its use being passed in many states and municipalities in the United States.

We, as an institution, strive to promote the scope of glass in all of its forms, and pipemaking is an important part of contemporary conversations. The fact that David Colton was chosen as recipient of this year’s [2019] Rakow Commission is a testament to the impeccable craftmanship of his work and the refined technical abilities of artists in the pipemaking community.

Karol Wight, president and executive director

Pipes are one of the most important areas of glass production in the 21st century. They are inventive in their material and technique and have a broad popular appeal. Colton’s expressive, abstract pipe, with its graffiti-like form and nearly hidden function, beautifully demonstrates the aesthetic influences and possibilities of this art form.

Susie J. Silbert, curator of modern and contemporary glass