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Shuhbuh | Interview


“Patience and perseverance are two major key factors. Glassblowing will reveal everything there is to know about yourself and exposes your weaknesses.” – Chris, aka Shuhbuh

Looking out the window around noon I see Chris aka Shuhbuh has pulled up to the location for our interview. Besides being excited, I’m a bit nervous. I know this individual is a master of the craft. I’m reminded of Macklemore and the song ten thousand hours. Referencing Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s always a thrill to speak with people who have put in the time it takes to become really good at what they do. Seeing Shuhbuh’s work was like a child going to Six Flags. That is to say, a child who loves roller coasters and theme parks.


Not only is Chris a great glassblower, he’s also a great guy. He loves blowing glass with vibes similar to The Dude. Wearing green reminded me of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and who doesn’t love those guys (not to mention a good slice of pizza – or more). The fact that he was willing to bring his work with him spoke volumes. An old saying my grandma used to have was trust through verification. Chris definitely verified and validated the truth behind his manipulating glass.


He brought along a wide range of glass to look at. I would be lying if I didn’t say I had to stop and admire the pure beauty of these pieces. I would relate seeing Shuhbuh’s pieces in person to seeing dreams in reality. These pieces are the living flesh of imagination and creation. Pulling up questions to ask the man himself was a task with such magnificent work at arms length distance. We did however manage to make time for a few questions and answers. Here are some of the insights from Shuhbuh.

Shuhbuh

How did you get started in blowing glass?

It was a freak accident. A friend working at a smoke shop left to go out of state. I took over for him when he left. I tried blowing glass a couple of times and one of the guys at the shop was able to get me into a production facility. I was learning to blow glass with the help of others funding me to do the same.


What did you focus on when you began blowing glass?

Pipes. I made lots and lots of pipes (laughs).


How long have you been blowing glass for?

For close to nine years.

Shuhbuh

Is being a glassblower similar to living a fantastic life?

This isn’t always the case. A lot of this work isn’t glamorous. There are certainly times and points in one’s career where traveling and going to glassblowing events is possible. But this isn’t the case all of the time. A lot of glassblowing is hard work and hours spent laboring to perfect the craft as much as one can.


What were and are some of your inspirations?

Everyone around me at the time inspired me to be better. It was a positive constructive environment when I was in the facility. There was a big team spirit involved. Most glassblowers don’t get this type of opportunity. All of the constant feedback propelled me into overtime where I was working and learning a lot and eventually putting in twelve hours a day on the torch. I was driven and determined to excel in glassblowing.


What are some life lessons gained through blowing glass?

Patience and perseverance are two major key factors. Glassblowing will reveal everything there is to know about yourself and exposes your weaknesses. Learning to accept things in life as they are is also big. You’ll eventually get there if you keep doing it over and over, hundreds of times.

Shuhbuh

How do you see the industry of glassblowing evolving?

It’s sort of a circular thing. Old techniques might come back to life while current techniques fade away for awhile. The nature of the industry is also rubbing off on more and more people as we go. One of the most challenging parts comes from creating something so different from other styles that the industry would consider it a new trend. There’s nothing new under the sun, so how does one create something entirely new from previous styles? Still, emulating and adding personal touches is possible and doable. Forcing oneself to be creative on a daily basis is without a doubt challenging as well.


What do you think is the most important part about making pipes?

It’s about manipulating the glass. It comes down to what myself and others are able to do with glass, how we’re able to manipulate it to a certain look and design. Smoking out of the glass is second nature for me. I value the art of the manipulation and the time spent to create the outcome. This is one of the best parts to being a glassblower – how I can manipulate glass.


Are there any movies or documentaries you would suggest to learn more about the industry and glassblowing?

Degenerate Art: The Art and Culture of Glass Pipes by Marble Slinger and Dan Sheats is a worthwhile documentary to check out.

Instagram: @shuhbuh Website: https://shuhbhub.com/

Click here to read more from Dietrich Dash.

Shuhbuh
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