An interview with an east coast glass expert.
We are huge fans of Burner Glassworks here at Smoke Cartel. Burner is a major player in the east coast glass scene, creating some of the cleanest functional glass in the game. Fronted by Aaron Galloway and two other business partners, Burner Glassworks maintains exceptional quality standards and offers reasonable prices. The Burner Glassworks team uses only German Schott Glass and crafts all percs in house. To learn about their signature Ratchet and Vortex percs, check out this knowledge base article!
Last month, the Smoke Cartel media team took a trip to Asheville to learn about the glass scene. We were lucky enough to speak to Aaron Galloway of Burner Glassworks. Here’s the feature we put together. Continue below the video to read the whole conversation!
When did you start glassblowing? What initially drew you to the torch?
I started blowing glass in 1998. To be honest I was a collector of pipes at the time, it was just something I wanted to get into.
How did Burner Glassworks form?
Me and my business partners Logan and Allen started this company about five years ago. We wanted to see if we could start a water pipe company and make very nice and functional pieces. We purchased lathes at the same time and hosted an intro class here on how to do basic lathe work and that’s when I met those guys. We just kind of got together at that point and decided we wanted and move forward with a company.
What glass blowers inspired you initially?
At the time some of the old school glassblowers such as Jason Lee, Marcel, Robert Michelson, some of the local cats like Casey Klein I used to do a lot of work with. I primarily started with dry pipes.
What is the process behind concept development?
Sometimes I start on a piece of paper and draw out how I think air and water should flow and what I think it should do. From there I’ll start making a prototype and sometimes I’ll go through 10-15 different prototypes before I come down to a design I really like and will move forward with.
How would you describe Burner's unique style?
It is the high quality in which we hold ourselves to. It’s also the high filtration of all of our parts. We don’t let anything go that’s not perfect.
How does working within such a glass-art rich environment such as Asheville influence your work?
There’s so many talented people here to work with. We can do a lot of collaborations here. You can bounce your ideas off of so many different talented people.
How do you think dabbing has changed the glass scene?
Dabbing has changed how I craft certain water pipes. Now, I have to look at if from the standpoint that it’s going to be used for oil.
Is there a difference in style for oil pipes?
Not necessarily, I just try and make it have the most filtration that it can and function the best that it can for either or.
Why should collectors buy American glass?
I just feel like you should support your local glass artist. These are people that work really hard to do what they do and bring a nice product to the market. I don’t necessarily have anything against imports, I just think you should support your local people.
What advice would you give to a beginning glass blower?
Keep practicing. Whatever is giving your trouble just keep at it and you’ll figure it out.
Many pieces feature detailed work on percs within the tube, what motivated this?
Trying to keep up with industry. We wanted to be as functional as possible. The fancier percs help you keep up with industry standards.
What are the challenges of working with glass that the average smoker may overlook?
It’s not a really easy medium to work in. It’s hot it can burn you. It breaks and cuts you. It takes a long time to figure out how to make it do what you want to do.
What are the challenges of owning a grassroots glass company?
There’s a lot of challenges. Keeping up with the industry is always difficult. We do all of our own sales too, that’s a challenge. Finding people that can get along with each other is always challenging. But I think we’ve done pretty well here.
Was there a specific moment that you realized Burner glassworks was really gonna take off?
Still kinda waiting for it. Hopefully we’ll take off here soon.
To support Aaron and his team head to Smoke Cartel’s Burner Glassworks Collection. Smoke Cartel offers a great selection of Burner Glassworks pieces. Take advantage of our “Make an Offer” on eligible pieces to get a Vortex or Ratchet piece on the low!