Though he couldn’t imagine another path for himself now, it was a random twist of fate that first got Ben Silver into glasswork. After returning home to Rochester, New York from the Navy, Silver saw a television commercial about glassmaking and impulsively signed up for an introductory class. He was instantly smitten, but it took a few more years until he was able to commit himself to his new affinity. By 2007, he had moved to Oregon, and ultimately decided to enroll at the Eugene Glass School.
About a year later, his company, Bendini Glass, was born.
With more than a decade in the game, Silver has been around to see a lot of changes in the glass industry and in his own work as his inspirations and artistry evolved. But there’s one thing that’s never changed: his commitment to improving his craft and making quality pieces that people love. For him, it’s important for his work to not just be well-made, but also be aesthetically pleasing.
“I’ve always wanted to make pieces that encapsulate the feeling of happiness when you look at them,” he shares. “For a lot of people, there always has to be a deeper meaning behind a piece. I just want it to be beautiful. I think that’s enough.”
He describes his work as “colorful,” which is evident in his bright, eye-catching pieces. He likes to create bold lines and clean edges, utilizing hot-working and cold-working techniques that enhance the glass’s natural elegance. It’s a skill he uses to produce paperweights, vases and votive holders. He even works part-time for the Oregon-based company Noble Glass, which specializes in producing soft glass bongs.
“I do a lot of cold-working, which is the process of cutting, grinding and polishing glass,” he explains. “I also really enjoy the process of being able to make something interesting starting with hot and transform it even more in cold. My style incorporates the ability to do both of those and create beautiful, multicolor glass.”
In his work, he manages to embody a lavish minimalism, rich hues paired with contemporary silhouettes and off-the-wall structural concepts. Still, even with his proven ability to make sleek, sophisticated pieces, he feels he is just getting started when it comes to producing the type of work he aspires to make.
“Honestly, I still consider myself an amateur,” he says. “There are people that I admire, and it still seems like I could be ten to fifteen years away from doing what they do. I am working towards being able to get skilled enough to sculpt detailed pieces and express myself more in my work.”
Though his work at the moment focuses primarily on glass art, he’s had some fleeting thoughts about venturing into the world of functional glassware at some point in the future. It’s hard to escape the lure, especially living in a city that’s known for its world-class glass artists, so he says there’s a small chance he might step further into that world.
“I have thought about designing my own pipes or bongs, but I think my true interest lies in just making art and working towards expressing the visions I have in my head,” he says. “I just want to keep exploring how to create work that is unique and interesting, so that’s not a priority. But who knows what could happen way further down the line.”
Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE