Hello World of Bongs Community, here we are with Austin Hensley (Hensley Artglass), an artist that is working since over 20 years on the torch:
WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN GLASS IN THE FIRST PLACE?
I fell in love with glass as a child at the arizona Renaissance festival watching the lampworker make sculptures and small vessels.
WHERE DID YOU LEARN YOUR SKILLS?
After endless questions of the Renaissance lampworker he was kind enough to allow me to make my first marble and from there taught me tons of miniatures and carnival glass techniques. I was hooked and by the end of the two month festival he sent me home with a national hand torch a handful of clear rods and a tomato flat full of random colors. I was nine years old and still can’t believe both him and my parents had the confidence in me to allow me to work on my own at home during my off time. I spent a few years learning from online forums, glass arts and pipes pages, and every piece of literature I could find until four five years later a friend showed me how to make my first spoon and a few years after a wonderful shop owner named De Bernardo took me to my first AGE and introduced me to many of my glass idols from there the new world of glass slowly revealed itself and I truly learned how much I didn’t know.
DO YOU CREDIT ANY OTHER GLASS BLOWER WITH HELPING YOU ACHIEVE YOUR SUCCESS?
While I have stood alone for long intervals none of us are actually self taught. Zak Rowan got me started and layed a foundation, Robert Occhiline expanded my skill set drastically into hollow forms, Bandhu reinforced that foundation and gave me a wide variety of skills to build both through his literature and in person and, many many others have given me pearls of wisdom and techniques and continue to do so.
TALK TO ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR STYLE.
My style has evolved a lot over the years but tends to be space oriented and has been getting more and more sculptural. Lately I tend to draw from dystopian themes of far flung worlds ravaged by the mistakes of their inhabitants.
WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU MOST LIKE TO WORK WITH?
WHAT’S THE MOST FAVOURITE PIECE YOU’VE EVER MADE?
I’ve been doing a series of “Inner Demons” which connect with me on a personal level more than most work I’ve made. Syph the Heartless is my favorite so far with his chest cavity torn open to reveal the emptiness inside.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT ON THE PATH TO “MAKING IT” AS A GLASS ARTIST?
Going to a trade show with a new style of pieces and not selling anything. It’s always a risk when trying something new.
AND WHAT WAS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT?
Teaching has brought all the best moments in life and in glass.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEW GLASS ARTISTS?
It’s a ladder not a staircase skipping steps can provide a harsh fall.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE STRAIN/EXTRACT, AND WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE TO DAB IT IN?
I’m not picky but I do enjoy any sour tangerine extract through a small minitube more than anything.
IF YOU COULD MAKE YOUR “DREAM” PIECE, WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
My dream piece constantly changes and occasionally comes to life but currently I would love to make a large weathered space station being attacked by a creature of some sort.
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE, MOST OF ALL IN THIS WORLD, TO HIT YOU UP FOR A PIECE, AND WHAT PIECE WOULD YOU MAKE FOR HIM/HER?
This is a difficult one. I would love to make a piece for Banjo because he has constantly inspired me over my glass career and I would want to make a glass or goblet he could use daily if he wanted.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR GLASS ARTISTRY IN THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY?
Electronics such as vape pens will inevitably take over due to convenience. But we can always make awesome housings/mouthpieces and attachments.
IF YOU WERE SHIPWRECKED ON A DESERT ISLAND AND YOU COULD ONLY HAVE THREE ESSENTIAL PIECES WITH YOU, WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE, AND WHY?
A large clear marble, a large thick bottomed bowl , and a handpipe. The marble to start fires and use as a emergency weapon. The bowl could be used for cooking or boiling water. And the handpipe will remind me of home because the chances of having anything smoke on a deserted island is minimal.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC TO WORK TO/DAB TO?
I typically listen to anything with a quick beat that makes you want to move but lately have been listening to a lot of instrumental covers of 90s music.
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