The legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois has at least one business poised to blow up.
Torie and Timmie DePauw, owners of Oxy Glass in Muscatine, have perfected the process of using blown glass to produce “functional art,” such as glass spoon pipes and water bongs, at just the right time.
Illinois became the 11th U.S. state to legalize adult-use cannabis on Jan. 1, although the drug remains classified as a Schedule I drug by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Adults in the state are now permitted to purchase up to 30 g of marijuana flower, five grams of concentrate or 500 grams of THC-based products from local retailers. It is a massive market of new consumers who will need plenty of paraphernalia as they figure out how to use the newly permitted drug.
“It’s been so fun learning an art that not many people know about,” Torie told TV6 News. “Our art is that — it doesn’t just sit on somebody’s wall or on a shelf. Our art is used by people who love it every day.”
It was her husband Timmie who started the two down the unconventional career path, Torie said, explaining he has dreamt of blowing glass since his high school days. After plenty of practice, the two now have the delicate process down to a fine science.
“When we do more of the small things… the pipe… I do all of the color and he does all of the shaping so it’s like our own small assembly line,” she said, explaining that different colours of glass react differently to the torch they use to shape their work.
“Clear is very easily manipulated and the colour’s a lot harder,” she said. “Clear needs less heat to start moving and colour needs a lot more. We use gravity and graphite tools to manipulate the glass.”
Most importantly, the couple uses a kiln during the production process, something Torie warned Chinese glass-blown imports are lacking. The result is that Oxy Glass products can stand up to the wear and tear of daily use better than cheaper alternatives.
The future for the enterprising couple is as bright as the state’s rapidly expanding marijuana market, and they were sure to send a shout out to Muscatine for the assist. “We’ve had a lot of local support which has made it possible for us to blow glass full time,” Torie said.
Hopefully they don’t mind getting paid in bongs.
Written by David Yasvinski