It’s no secret that Oregon grows the kindest glassblowers. It must be the river, or the trees, or maybe the creative force that exists within the smoke-filled rooms. It’s perhaps all of that rolled into one.
The story of the color-changing glass pipe is one for Bob Snodgrass to tell, and since the days during the fantastic reign of the Grateful Dead, artists and admirers like Bob have been captivated by glass. Its beauty and functionality are both important, and you really need to love glass to craft it well. Post tour c. 1995, there was a little more time on all Deadheads’ hands, and Jason Hedman happened to be in the right place at the right time. In spring of 1996, he began learning how to blow glass in miscellaneous room spaces in Eugene, Oregon.
A special community, the Eugene area was the hot spot for blowing glass. Snodgrass’s glass legacy and extended family were stretching out like molten glass—still are—and the artistic aesthetic of it all was taking off at high speed. New artists spent hours and hours learning how to blend color, how to shape different types of pipes, and how to make super psychedelic marbles. There were so many cool pipes being made that every week artists arrive at Saturday market with their cases, showing off their glass. Glassblowers were developing their styles and color palettes and selling all their work.
Originally from southern California, Jason settled in Eugene for a spell and became obsessed with glassblowing. Self-taught, he had the fortune of watching other good glassblowers and consciously absorbing it. The community of glassblowers were talkative, and one piece could strike up conversation amongst Deadheads and glassblowers who loved to talk about glass — and break it in. Beautiful silver and gold color-changing pipes dominated the scene, and glassblowers were doing new things all the time; it was like ‘wow’ every time you saw someone’s glass get better and better.
Inspired by “the limitlessness of art and imagination and of what you can create,” today Jason works out of Colorado in his home studio with GTT torches , Kkutt kilns, and a Litton lathe, blowing killer glass for his company Hedman’s Headies. A tenacious master talent on the lathe, Jason started way back on a torch, making marbles and small pipes. His pieces today include tubes and rigs, all so detailed and color smart with visionary psychedelic design. “I really like all the artists from beginners to old timers and learning how individuals see and go about bringing ideas from their head into form in 3D real life.”
Everything he makes is visualized in his head. Therefore, listening to the Grateful Dead while glassblowing is highly recommended. “I like listening to ‘em while working, it’s like a psychedelic jazz band,” Jason explained. He was turned onto the music of the Grateful Dead by a friend when he was 12 years old and went to his first show when he was 15, in 1989. His glass reflects a connection to the music in its cosmic concepts and he’s involved in the fun of experiencing so much creativity with the trial of making it. “Big or small, I think it’s the mental challenge of success when the project is finished and you accomplished your goal,” Jason related.