Glass Vegas – the new era of Glass Gallery Tradeshows

13
Jan

Photos by DB Photography

Every once in a while, something really special comes along and provides a new spark of energy to the industry by revamping the way things were previously done. A new splash of color and light that brings about the realization that things in our industry could have been better this whole time. I am referring to the return of the Glass Vegas Expo; the new ‘must attend’ B2B Glass Art wholesale show that has the kings of the industry talking about and promoting it as THE GLASS ART Tradeshow of the future. Everyone wants to be there so badly that this new star completely sold out the showroom floor months in advance; leaving many artists wishing they had signed up when they had the chance.

“This is not just a new show, but a new way of interacting with the most talented and interesting glass artists in the world.”

Glass Vegas’ hosts the World Series of Glass which last year brought out some of the best Glass Artists from all over the world to compete for best Artist of the year. They Awarded ‘Best Millie’ to Dapo Glass, and ‘Best Functional Solo’ piece to JOP glass. This is one of the only competitions where artists can bring in their already finished pieces and don’t have to work under a time constraint to create their best art on the spot. Instead, they can enter their beautifully perfected finished glass art to be judged by their peers. To add to this year’s fun, they’ve added 2 new categories to the awards: ‘Best Collab’ piece & ‘Best Shot Glass’. The Collab category was added to better recognize & award the bigger pieces that must be created by more than one artist.   This Year, Eli Mazet will be judging the shot glass comp with the overall best winning glass receiving a spot in the latest edition of his Shot Glass book, as well as cash and prizes.

My experience last year was amazing from the very minute I walked up to the line to grab my badge, I could tell it was different. Touch screen registration self-service kiosks. Cell phone scanning badge printing automation. A smiling helpful staff. I was in and out of regisration so fast, I had to stop and wonder if I had forgotten something. They even gave me 2 free drink tickets to use the first night. This was not your average, oversized convention hall, but more of a Grand Ballroom that had amazing lighting and a comfortably carpeted floor. There were DJs in rotation, spinning a cool mix of chill on the show floor while live painting accompanied the live Glass Artists demos with an opening night musical performance by the Cali-Reggae band; Fortunate Youth. I was feeling pretty fortunate myself just to be part of it all.

There were over 200 artists in attendance with a firm NO IMPORTS policy; only American glass artists. I was able to meetup with some real glass legends like Merc – The Minion Army Warlord. Jerome Baker; the legendary tube and smoke culture pioneer that created one of the most recognizable brands in smoking today, and Hamm – The Mad Scientist that has probably created more functional prototypes than anyone. Hamm entered a Giant Glass Robot in the World Series of Glass. It was incredible.

Hoobs & Rocko hosted a poster and pendant drop that featured 50 amazing Devils by Rocko and 50 Fear and Loathing HST skulls with a matching 2-sided poster showcasing all 100 pendants. Since it was the last 50 Hoobs is ever going to make, we had to pick a couple up.   This year they have been advertising a SKARPION pendant/poster drop by Skar glass. If you haven’t seen one of these Skarpions yet, you really need to look it up. They are awesome little glass scorpions with a giant eyeball as a head, it looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie.

The millefiori masters, Capn Crunk & Micro, teamed up on a booth for an exclusive Glass Vegas drop that was pure madness. People were literally running for the table when the show floor opened; Micro also took home 3rd place in the Millie Category in the World Series of Glass contest with his princess peach Millie coin. The Shop we were buying for really wanted a Shark piece, so we had to stop by the Niko Cray booth to try and catch one; the first 2 were already gone, but we were still able to grab a beauty. Cowboy was chilling in Niko’s booth with Anealed innovations. They had this insane collab on the table…I wanted to scoop it so bad.

We then cruised by Sherbet’s booth and grabbed a new set of pencils, and a pencil holder. The pencil dabbers always do well for us in the shop, so it was a much needed restock. Boxfan was doing his new F-Bomb drop, so we stopped by to grab some and peep the new helix line. On our way, we ran into Paulie Two Fingers who had a fresh batch of turtles and gorgeous dead head pendys that were electric. I couldn’t believe how much heat was in one room. I felt like a kid in a candy store. But, in reality, we were just grownups with a pocket full of cash wide-eyed over the immense glitz down every aisle of the Glass Vegas expo.

While stopping outside for a quick smoke break, we saw someone holding a rig that looked exactly like stacked river rocks, so we had to ask him about it. It turns out that it was made by Berning glass. We wanted them bad, but we weren’t exactly sure what booth he was in and neither did the guy holding the rig. The fog helped us lose our map with the vendor list, but luckily I was able to pull up the floor plan and exhibitor list directly from my phone right off the Glass Vegas website. Plan charted…

On our way, we ran into Arron U. He is from Tahoe and makes these awesome animal rigs. I immediately recognized his koalas and alligators, and I heard he was dropping a new Alligator-recycler design at the show this year and had to check it out. We finally made it to our destination and met up with this killer artist: Jeff Berning. Wow, he makes the most realistic standing rock statue rigs I’ve ever seen. I mean you could just picture this thing sitting near a river or creek somewhere. It was breathtaking. Jeff had already completely sold out. We were able to place an order at the show, which we excitingly unboxed about a month later.

News came through that Dub Glassworks was hosting a Millie Meetup suite party, so we cruised by his booth to peep the location. On the way, we ran directly into these miniature castle rigs, that were so cool. The artist, Jebb pulled out a chain mail glove he had made from glass, and showed us his artillery of medieval weapon dabbers. I was really impressed by the detail, so we just had to place an order. Across from Jebb, Charlene Foster a.k.a. Cha Cha Chainz was showcasing her latest glass chainz, along with Sibelle Yusek, who had these fabulous hand-blown flasks. In the 2017 glass vegas recap video, you can see her sippin Hennessy out of one. Earlier in the day, we watched them attach the chain to the flask during their glass demo up on the main stage, so we just had to go by and meet them. Super nice ladies. Her chains are so pretty up close. Cha Cha mentioned they were also going to the Millie Meetup that night, so now we had no choice but to go. Off we went…to the Dub Glassworks booth to uncover the location. Miyagi Glass greeted us, showing his latest filla pendants. Miyagi’s work is really clean, and he is really starting to break out as an artist by collabing with many other higher profile artists. Derek with The Mille Mafia was there as well and began showing us a preview of a bit of millies we would be in for when we showed up tonight at the party. Finally, Issac arrived and gave us the secret map that took us directly to the Millie Meetup.

With the party location confirmed we decided to go eat, and get ready for the night. On the way out, we bumped into Mente 45k and Niko straight tagging the tire of the Official Genius van. I guess they shouldn’t have parked on the loading dock so long.

The party that night was off the chain! We took a secret elevator all the way to the top floor of the Westgate. The Billion Dollar Beard was spinning music and every table was filled with Millies, marbles and all types of other glass. Often, the smaller glass can be overlooked at the show itself, so It was cool to see artists buying, selling and trading different glass components with each other. Many don’t realize how seriously a part of the glass art world these extras are. Just by adding accents to your highly detailed glass art, you can increase the value substantially. Highly sought-after Millies can fetch hundreds, and even thousands of dollars at events like the one we attended.   Honestly, we didn’t spend that much cash that night, but we did have a great time partying with some of our favorite artists and meeting new ones. Artists like Jes Dufree. Jes came down from Canada, and was personable and great fun to talk to. He showed us some of his amazing marble collections, and introduced us to some other dope artists. We were having such a blast when after a few too many dabs; we were forced to call it a night. On the way to the room we saw Jahnny Rise at the Craps table droppin some green, so we had to throw a few. We ended up dropping 16 rolls in a row; winning over $500. Not a bad way to end the night.

The next day, after a bit of a late start, I was able to link up with Firefly Glass and Goliath. We could hear Goliath laughing and joking around in his booth from across the room, which naturally drew me in. At this point, I had only seen the infamous Killa Gorilla pendants on Instagram, so I was excited when I found out Firefly was right there. He had just released the open mouth Gorilla’s with Gold Teeth and opal eyes. Man, these were insane. I needed one. Goliath makes these ridiculous Nebula Keys with giant opals, raptor rigs and dynasty dabbers.   This year, I’m looking forward to seeing his new Juice box line. I hear Goliath and Firefly are sharing a booth in 2018, so hopefully that means they will have some new fire collabs on display. Fingers crossed.

I pre-ordered a cheese wedge pendant from KSO Glass, but had yet to run into him on the floor. When we found KSO, he was posted up in the front corner with Absorka glass. Besides cheese wedges, he also makes these sick Crook Beak rigs. The one we picked up was CFL reflective, meaning it changed colors based on the light. This one shifted from blue to purple which was so very pretty to look at. Absorka had some clean filla pendants, and other unique work so we decided to pony up and carry some of it for the shop. The biggest surprise last year was running into Bandhu while wondering around the show room floor. I mean this guy literally wrote the book on lamp working & contemporary glassblowing. He even he had the books there with him. I was able to pick up 3 covers for my girlfriend who is just starting out and Bandhu even signed them for her and included a personal note; a real class act.

They had the Marble Exchange and the Award ceremony on the last day of the show. I had never seen or heard of a marble exchange before. Basically, it’s like the White Elephant Christmas exchange game except instead of presents everyone brings a marble. Last year Northern Groove plucked out the Josh Mazet marble & won a free booth for the following year… and even got to keep the marble too! This year, the winning marble to fish out is an original Piper Dan. Definitely worth the price of the booth all by itself. I would be so hyped to win a Piper Dan marble. Bringing a marble to get in on the exchange this year is a must.

According to their Instagram, one of the most revered Glass Artists of our time is attending his first ever glass trade. Jason Lee has confirmed. Yes, you read that Right… JASON LEE; the #1 artist on Glasspipes.org since forever will be showing his new work at a glass trade show for the FIRST TIME EVER! We heard he was drawn to the hype of Glass Vegas by word of mouth. Not just because of how well the show was received by everyone, but also because they are hosting another 1st for a glass art trade show; the BORO DERBY. Strap in kids, Jason Lee will be racing the Derby in the Desert! The Boro Derby has traveled to a few locations as a Dinner-Art-Benefit, raising money for charity by auctioning off the cars after the races are over. Hand Made and the Evergreen state project have raised quite a bit for charity and brought together some of the best glass artists in the world to build cars. This year is no different; having filled up all 64 racing slots months ago.   This is going to be one for the history books; flight booked, hotel booked… is it February yet?

About the Team at Glass Vegas.
Glass Vegas was created by LeeAnne Short, the CEO of Las Vegas Management; the producers of the highly acclaimed, 23 year strong, Glass Craft & Bead Expo.   LeeAnne is the sweet, caring, calm, understanding, quiet professional type. She is dependable and can solve almost anyone’s issue with a smile. The team at Glass Vegas, is a family that really cares about the people and the show. Jack Long and Dustin Amato helped by spearheading show floor sales and by helping bring in the best glass artists in the world wrapped up neatly with elements to create a show that is good for both artists and shop owners alike. Amy Short, LeeAnne’s daughter, is the floor manager and glue that pulls the show together. She provides amazing customer service and coordinates a lot of the day to day workings. Skye Jones works directly with Amy and is always ready to support and solve everyone’s challenges with a smile. Teddy oversees the show creative design & technology. His job ensures that the show runs beautifully and effectively. These combined talents and drive form up like Voltron with one solid goal,

“To Create The Best Functional Glass Trade Show… Period”.
An extra special thank you to everyone that showed me around the trade show floor. It was phenomenal.   If you want to see the previous World series of Glass winners, demos, video recaps and register to attend in February, please checkout www.glass.vegas

 


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