For a lot of people, a bong is just a bong, and a pipe is just a pipe. There are certain brands and brand subcategories people prefer as with most other things, like beer and marijuana…except at most stores, beer and marijuana labels tell you the nuances of each brand and category. Not a lot of head shops will have their headies and scientific glass labeled with specifics about the piece and the artist that created it, though those things are a big part of why certain pieces are appealing. It’s easier to find information about specifics from a head shop online, but the average person that walks into a smoke shop won’t always have that information available to them.
Headies are at one end of the spectrum, and scientific glass pieces are at the other. Scientific glass usually dominates head shops, but seeing heady glass online is becoming more frequent as the attitude towards headies are becoming more positive. Renowned art galleries are starting to give credit to glass artists that have been crafting pieces for decades, and heady artists are able to use social media to show their pieces to a larger audience. Those things being said, if you were to mention headies or scientific glass to the average person or new smoker, they might have no idea what you're talking about…though if they've smoked out of a piece before it was most likely one or the other.
As you probably already know, the main difference between headies and scientific glass is that heady artists create their pieces entirely by hand, while scientific glass artists employ the help of machines. That’s why heady artists may get upset when people don’t understand the difference. Some heady artists have been working at their craft for decades, and it can take a really long time to create their masterful pieces. While it takes skill to create scientific glass pieces as well, it usually does not take as much time and effort because machines can complete certain processes for the glassblower that would take much more time and finesse to accomplish only by hand.
Before you become a total pro on glass art, it’s easier to understand if you start with the basics. Scientific glass is generally built with functionality in mind, for people who are mostly interested in getting the best hit possible out of their piece. Conventional scientific glass won’t come with all the handcrafted embellishments that are usually present in heady pieces, so it can be hard for brands to stand out. A good example of a company trying to interlace the intricacies of heady design with scientific glass is a collaborative group known as “Hitman”. The collective was started in 2009 by Doug Dracup and Erik Weissman. Sadly, Weissman was murdered in 2011, and after that Dracup moved to Los Angeles to continue the company. Hitman is somewhat of a mixed-bag of different ventures, but they mostly aim to make their pieces as functional as they are carefully handcrafted.
Dracup has his own members-only coffee shop space near central Los Angeles that glass artists use as a workspace and as a gallery to show their pieces. The space also features a smoking area on their back patio where members can smoke marijuana freely. By giving artists a place to collaborate with him and each other, Dracup is capitalizing on the idea that Hitman’s scientific glass pieces can stand out with a little help from heady artists, and in turn those heady artists can use the alliance as a way to draw attention to their more complex pieces. One of Hitman’s most incredible collaborative pieces is his torch rig that was created with Jared Delong. If you look at it you’ll notice the traditional scientific style and clean cuts of the piece, but also the incredible artistry from Delong in the center of the rig. With most dab rigs, you’ll need to have access to a torch to use them. What makes this piece even more amazing is that it acts as a rig and a torch, so all you need is butane and dab concentrate.
Hitman is a great concept for heady artists that want to get their names out there among the smokers that are used to smoking from mostly scientific glass. Headies can be complex and not always the easiest to smoke from, but since they’ve recently been acknowledged by the high art community their value has exponentially risen. As you can see with the Hitman X Voorhees collaboration, this piece is almost polar opposite in design from Delong’s torch rig, but it still includes the classic Hitman barrel recycler. Unlike the torch rig, Voorhees takes most of the artistic control with this piece but still makes it functional enough to smoke from without difficulty.
We love our heady art collection but sometimes we just want a bong or a dab rig that we won’t be so afraid to mess up or break. Plain old scientific glass is great for this reason. Scientific glass can be complex or it can be simple, depending on what you’re looking for. It’s designed with function in mind, so generally when you’re looking for a scientific piece you’ll look for specifics like a double honeycomb or a slit cut recycler. These features change the way the smoke filters through the rig, and there are a lot of different variations of these designs so you’re able to pick a specific piece according to your preferred style of smoking.
We’re sure no one’s actively trying to offend any artists by thinking their pieces are scientific or vice versa, but now it’s a little more difficult to tell what category pieces fall under. It used to be that a piece was strictly considered heady or scientific, but glass artist collaborations like Hitman have been walking the line with success. The best way to know for certain if a piece is heady or scientific is by knowing the techniques and the artists themselves! Glass artists are always appreciative when people are familiar with their processes, as they don’t always get the respect they deserve for their work.