For Michael Svensson, who prefers to go by Sven, making a functional piece of glass art is about much more than just aesthetics.
For him, it’s important that his glasswork embody his love for creativity, his respect for the artistic process and his unwavering commitment to personal growth. Especially since that’s what attracted him to the artform of glass blowing in the first place.
It was during his time as a successful skateboarder in his youth that he met Eusheen Goines, who was just getting into creating glass art, and saw glass being blown for the very first time. A decade later, Goines was still blowing glass and Sven was so inspired by his friend’s work that he packed up his life in San Francisco and moved to Oregon, where he began learning some of the techniques that would build the groundwork for his own creations in the future.
“I’ve been blowing glass for about eight years now, but I’ve always been interested in doing art of some kind,” he says. “At first, I started out just making little spoon pipes like most of us do. But I remember the first time I felt like I really knew what I was doing. It gave me this really awesome sensation that’s hard to describe, and from then on I was just totally hooked. I’ve been doing it ever since.”
His work has steadily evolved over time, from small pipes to immaculate, multicolored glass pieces with delicate, detailed designs. His recent work features a gorgeous collection of pieces, ranging from water pipes to dab rigs, that highlight one of his favorite things to replicate: flowers. Sven says he fell in love with their shape and elegance, especially when captured in a moment that can last forever with glass.
“When I first started out, I was searching for some direction, I was searching for my own voice and how I wanted to express it,” Sven says. “Early on, I met an artist named Ginger who really inspired me with her flowers. I was drawn to them and she gave me a lesson on how to be able to make my glass flow with that raw, natural beauty.”
The functionality of each piece is just as important as its appearance, he says. Though he finds personal and spiritual freedom in the creativity of the work that he does, he also finds special meaning in his creations being utilized.
“It’s important to me that my work can actually be used,” Sven says. “For me, people using these items is what puts meaning into it. Whether [it’s] someone who uses a pipe to treat an illness, for ceremonial purposes or just to relax, it’s an honor for me to know that something I’m creating using my heart and soul is being used for life-changing or life-improving things like that.”
His art has also contributed to improving his own life as well. Sven says that glass blowing has given him the opportunity to get in touch with imaginative and innovative parts of himself that otherwise might have remained dormant. For him, he couldn’t imagine anything better.
“I remember waking up one morning, realizing that it was my job to be as creative as I could be every single day,” he says. “It was a really liberating moment when it dawned on me. It’s been such a rewarding journey. I just love that there are really no boundaries when it comes to what I do. It’s become a really vital part of my life as far as personal growth and how I’m able to express myself.”
This was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.