Of all the cannabis events I have been to or heard of, the Great Canadian Glass Gathering is one of the best. The energy of the place is serenely peaceful, happy and welcoming. You don’t need a lot of money to experience it but you could definitely spend a small fortune and walk away happy about it.

Normally, I don’t get into glass or glass events. I don’t own a heady rig yet because I have always been terrified I will break it. However, I couldn’t ignore the fact that year after year, friends of mine (workaholics) have dropped everything (including their neurosis) to go to the Glass Gathering. Thanks to the desperate need to seek out some fun, I decided to go to the 2018 Great Canadian Glass Gathering; it was the best decision I have made in a long time.

I learned a few things, not just about glass blowing… I learned about myself…

Eye protection is important if you use a torch…

Yes, this might seem really obvious. It makes sense that you should wear eye protection when staring directly at the flame on a torch. I learned this because they encourage the use of spectator glasses.

Then it hit me, I use a torch several times a day and stare directly at it without ever using eye protection. I have to in order to aim the flame on the banger on my dab rig every time I dab.

What about you? Have you had that “aha” moment yet? Are you conscious of your retinas when you dab with a torch? Didn’t think so…now you know

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Glass art is best created at night…

Glass blowing is often a graveyard job and these people tend to work all night (seriously, all night). The magical appeal of glowing glass art forming underneath the stars drew me in, however, I was amazed to find out that most of these artists are almost always nocturnal.

I assumed that they just prefer the creative vibe they get in the evening or something like that but the truth is, it is to avoid the heat. My friend Wilson explained it to me in one sentence, “Who wants to work with a hot torch for hours underneath the hot sun?”

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The Glass Tents

I arrived in the early evening and set up my camp; the sun was setting as I was making my way to see the glass blowing tents for the first time. It was an environment like no other…

Strange tubes and ice crusted tanks loudly labelled oxygen, rows of wooden tables, blazing blue torch fire reflected in pitch black eyes and tendrils of cannabis drifted into the night.

With every element represented, I could feel myself relaxing physically and mentally.

Reminding me a bit of the lamp post in the forests of Narnia, the delicate glass sculptures were displayed in clear, pristine cases positioned on the grass. Between each was a focused artist, a nonstop jet of fire and a brightly glowing goo.

When art hits you…

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I clearly remember the first time I understood the inexplicable power that art can have. My mom to took me to a gallery when I was a kid and I was looking around, happily running from room to room.

I froze where I was the second I saw this abstract painting. To me, the splotches of color looked like a hot, burning sun over a deep green forest and I was glued in front of it. I could almost feel heat radiating off of the canvas and I couldn’t move.  

I was literally in awe of the image in front of me and at the same time, I was devastated to know it was the only time I would get to see it.. My 10 year old brain was being rocked with all of these intense emotions and I was processing them all at once, standing in front of this painting. I remember saying to myself, I understand what art can do to a person and why it is so much more than something pretty to look at.

I get it now

Seeing the artists at work put me in state of walking meditation. I was completely relaxed and at ease, curiously watching these creations happen right in front of me. When I started to walk around, time slowed right down.

I took my time and watched each artist delicately form and manipulate liquid light, surrounded by the pieces they had already made. Again, I was in awe.

I have seen glass blowing before and I have seen some pretty amazing creations but this event took it to a whole other level for me.

The Great Canadian Glass Gathering is an interactive, art experience and I am delighted to say, I get it now. To love and appreciate art is to crave that feeling of joyous wonder you get when you see something that grabs you and stops time.

One weekend in Birken but I know now that an obsession with glass art is only beginning…