"There is nothing more liberating than wielding a glass rod to an open flame, twisting and contorting it to the stretches of your imagination."

One of the most impressionable and personalized forms of artwork, glass blowing has been around for centuries, but only recently integrated into the freeform street art scene and the cannabis community. And now, cannabis and glass are inseparable!
From water pipes ranging inches to feet in height, to more compact glass rigs and handheld pipes – glass has become a favorable and “cleaner” way to consume cannabis all over the world! Glass art is a form of self-expression with enthusiasts even donning glassware as fashion – wearing custom pendants and other forged pieces as jewelry, and amassing collections of favorite brands and one-of-a-kind pieces!

Maryland Roots

As a local, family-owned company, SunMed Growers is proud of our Cecil County roots – and our local artists! We were introduced to Dan and his amazing glass blowing talents and believed we could tell a great story together. We collaborated with Dan to create some one-of-a-kind glass, featuring the SunMed name for us to share with all our Maryland patients. As a fellow Marylander, Dan knows the importance and comradery of supporting local.
We sat down with Dan to put a spotlight on a great local artist, and we hope you enjoy meeting him and checking out his work! 

The Artist

Dan is a local Maryland-based, freelance artist who has been practicing the art of glassblowing for over 13 years. Growing up, Dan traveled to Vermont nearly every summer for family vacations. En route to Vermont, they would pass a local hot shop (a glassblower's workroom containing the furnace etc.) and stop to watch the glass blowers at work. After observing this artform up close (but at a safe distance) – an interest was ignited that could never be extinguished.  


I’ve always enjoyed playing with fire”

Dan got his start in glass blowing helping an old friend build their own personal glass blowing studio. In exchange for his help, he took lessons on the torch. Not long after, he was shopping for his own torch and renting a spot in the shop to keep learning and honing his craft.


Dan created 5 one-of-a-kind pieces for our raffle and we asked him to take us through his process and how our SunMed art took shape.


The Process

A lot of glass art and everyday glass objects are made from soda-lime glass, which likes to crack when subjected to rapid changes in temperature. The type of glass that I use is called borosilicate glass, which is the same kind of glass used in a typical laboratory setting. It’s ideal for situations where the glass is going to be subjected to heat and that makes it an obvious choice for pipes."  

The heat resistant properties that make borosilicate great for pipes also means that it takes a higher temperature to melt and manipulate. Dan uses an oxygen/propane torch as the heat source with pre-manufactured clear tubing and color rod as the raw materials. This process is referred to as ‘lampworking’ and is how these pipes were made! After combining colored glass with clear tubing, melting and manipulating the glass to its final form, the piece goes into a kiln. The kiln brings the final piece through a controlled heat cycle where stress is released from the manufacturing process and then it’s slowly returned to room temperature. While glass is always somewhat fragile, this ensures maximum durability.   


The Art

Each of these one-of-a-kind SunMed pieces is a variation of the traditional dry pipe, but with a unique combination of individual components that make them special.  The delicate fusion of hollowed glass, colorful accents, and intricate shapes are delicately melted together by an experienced hand with a vision for where every "S" shape and "wig wag" will rest.


sherlock, hammer, and side car all use three separate hollow pieces that are sealed together, and the spoons are a blend of two hollow pieces. 
In terms of process, the bulk of the pieces start with clear tubing and colored frit (crushed colored glass that is sifted to be a consistent grain size) When the frit melts into the clear tubing from the inside, it creates the textured look while maintaining completely smooth surface on the inside and outside of the glass.    

The Flare

Each of the pieces have a custom “SMG” murrine marble attached. Murrine is a traditional Italian glassblowing technique creating a rod with an image in the cross section that stretches through the entire length of the rod. "To me, the cool part about this is that you’re able to take chips off the end of the murrine rod that all contain the same, consistent image."

Fuming with silver (and sometimes other metals, like gold) is responsible for the classic “color changing” pipes. These metals can be vaporized and bonded to hot glass in a thin transparent film that has beautiful interactions with light. As a piece is used, resin can build up on the inside and create a dark backdrop that alters the way the light is reflected/refracted, and that makes it appear as a different color.


Advice for Aspiring Glass Artists

"It’s not the cheapest or easiest thing to get into, but there are some great resources out there for those who want to find out more. Bandhu Dunham is a glass artist who wrote a series of books that I was introduced to early on and highly recommend (Contemporary Lampworking).
There are formal education programs, and they vary from being art focused to laboratory glass focused. For someone interested in a glass career, I don’t think you can go wrong with that route regardless of the focus.

Starting with training from someone who knows what they are doing, especially with respect to safety, is key! A suitable workspace is important as well, I really can’t reiterate the safety thing enough. If fire, flammable/noxious gasses, sharp glass, and bright flares haven’t scared you off, make sure you do your research and always remember that safety comes first!!!
It continues to be a rewarding and challenging craft for me – somehow confidence-building and humbling at the same time. Be prepared to try and try again, there is always more to learn!"


We hope this is an opportunity for enthusiasts or even those new to the community to learn a little bit more about the process behind glass blowing and a great local artist! Maybe this will spark interest in someone to go purchase their first glass piece ! There are always tons of designs and custom work available to choose from – so a good chance you’ll find something that speaks to you! When starting that journey - don’t forget to start locally first! You just might find something a little bit more meaningful.  

Be sure to give Dan a follow on Instagram @Danglowsblass