Industry Spotlight: Era Glassworks
Era Glassworks is dedicated to making high-quality blown glass pieces for the Cannabis community. Unique and colorful, these high quality blown glass pieces include dab rigs, dabbers, hand pipes, bongs, and more. Driven by a passion for this style of art, there is a constant evolution and initiative to improve the craft. Read more to find out how the founder got started, what inspires and influences him, and what the future might hold.
1) For those who might not know you, give us an idea of what you do?
My name is Matt Canta, I am a pipe maker from Calgary, Alberta. The title says it all, I make pipes and other cannabis-related items out of borosilicate glass.
2) In your own words describe what a ‘heady’ glass artist is to you?
The term ‘heady’ means that something really grasps a part of who you are and connects with you, so heady can be different in everyone’s eyes. In my eyes, a ‘heady’ artist is someone who can incorporate many different styles and techniques into their work. Where some of your production work will take on average about an hour per piece, headies takes on average 10 plus hours.
3) Tell us how you got started glassblowing and how it evolved into being your full-time career?
I found lampworking through a documentary called “Degenerate Art: The art and culture of glass pipes” made by the legendary artist Slinger. Once I saw that there were guys out there literally making whatever they could come up with, I knew that I had to at least try it. After the first time I stuck a piece of glass into a flame I knew then and there that I wanted to do whatever it took to become a lampworker.
I ended up working for a local shop for almost 2 years where I soaked up as much knowledge about glass as I could, and 3 years ago I quit that job and took the leap. The rest is pretty boring, just a lot of time spent in my garage breaking stuff until I figured it out.
4) Where do you look for inspiration? Are there influencers who drive your creativity?
I try to find inspiration anywhere that I can. I have always had a love for the traditional Venetian shapes of glassware, so I have always tried to make sure that all of my work has a nice “flow” to each piece.
Honestly, my biggest influencers are my friends and my collectors. The glass community in Canada is very tight-knit and I am stoked to be able to call so many other talented artists my friends. Seeing your friends make something really amazing normally turns into a little self-challenge to improve your own work. My collectors are literally the reason I am able to do something I love every single day. Without the shops and private collectors who buy my work, there would be no Era Glassworks.
5) What challenges and barriers do artists, like yourself, in the Cannabis industry face? What advice would you give to new artists interested in this field?
Besides the time and effort you need to put in to learn the craft, one of the more difficult things is making a name for yourself when you’re starting out. There are more and more people wanting to blow glass every day. So you need to find a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Just remember, there will always be somebody better than you in anything. Don’t let that stop you, let that drive you to be a better you.
6) What is your favorite method of consumption and why?
I prefer to dab. I find concentrates have a much nicer effect and less of a burnout than smoking flowers.
7) If you could collaborate with any heady artist, who would it be and why?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I have already had the opportunity to work with so many artists I could never have dreamed of working with. One artist I would love to be able to collaborate with again would be Aaron Culbert.
I met Aaron about a year before I started working in the industry. He was the first pipe maker I had ever met in person, and over the years we became friends. I had the opportunity to hang out with him a couple summers back and was honoured to have Aaron put one of my marbles on one of his famed “Dutchie” recyclers. I feel like if we met up today and made a piece together it would end up being my favourite collaboration to date.
8) Recreational Cannabis use will be legal in Canada later this year, how do you think this will affect your business in the future? Do you have plans to expand your operations and online presence?
I hope legalization brings new opportunities for myself and all the other artists alike. I will always continue to grow my online presence and business across Canada. I will always remain a solo operation though. As long as I can keep making pipes and feed myself I will be happy.