The High Flying Art of Heady Glass
Travis - the owner of Buzz Smoke Shop in Tuscon, Arizona - said in an article with TheKindLand.com that, "the heady glass movement has a chance to become one of the biggest art movements in recent history". Given that some of the most experienced glassblowers in America focus solely on heady glass, he might have a point.
When the smoking community began to desire more advanced tools in late 70's, customers only choices were bright acrylic bongs, their father's wooden pipes, or if they were lucky, a high-quality ceramic water pipe. This led many professional glassmakers to start making some of the first high-grade smoking pipes, bringing in innovations such as carburetors on hand pipes. Not all of these professionals were interested in just bringing their technical prowess to the industry; many also wanted to bring in some artistry.
There's always been a close-knit group of artist pipe-makers in smoking community. The artist of the 60's mostly worked with ceramic, which is one of the oldest materials used for bongs but is harder to work with than glass. this meant that, unless you happened to be a member of in-crowd at a Grateful Dead concert, you probably weren't going to come across any heady pieces. Modern glass technology allow for independent artists to have a full studio in their garage, which has allowed inventive glassblowers to turn heady glass into an industry of its own.
As with conventional water pipes, high-quality heady glass is generally made of borosilicate glass, a high-grade glass used in many commercial products. Colored Boromax glass rods are used to add colorful designs, linework and base tones for pieces. Many artists incorporate traditional glass art pieces like flowers and marbles by fusing them onto their water pipes; the heady artists of Grogg Glass are known for this style. Some heady pieces go much further by designing the function of a bong around the shape of an art piece rather than the other way around. This is common with themed glass, which are pipes modeled after popular franchises or other concepts such as Lee Machine's line of Yoshi-based dab rigs.