Jason Harris, owner of Jerome Baker Designs, is one of the forefront names in glass culture. The name ‘Jerome Baker’ is a pseudonym that stemmed from a joke among friends. ‘Jerome’ comes from Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, and ‘Baker’… well, that one’s a little more obvious.
There is no denying that Jason Harris is a true pioneer in the world of pipe making. An apprentice of Bob Snodgrass – the man thought to have invented color-changing glass – Jason Harris has learned from the best.
Along with many other prominent glass blowers, Jason Harris was a victim of ‘Operation Pipe Dreams’, a nationwide raid on the glass industry. Unlike Tommy Chong, Harris managed to avoid spending any time in jail.
Needless to say, the mass bust caused a storm of controversy. At the same time, however, it also contributed to the growth of the industry. Interest grew in pipe making, and the glass-blowing movement evolved into an unconventional, innovative form of art. Things have sure come a long way since the early days of Bob Snodgrass and Jason Harris making pipes in the back of a van.
We were fortunate enough to have Jason Harris take part in an interview, exclusively for Stoner Things, in which we gain an interesting insight into the life of a world-class glass-blower.
How long have you been blowing glass?
What inspired you to start?
I was always drawn to the super-cool qualities in glass! It was really cool to look at and I never could imagine how it was made. I had the unique opportunity to meet this old dude that lived over in the next town to me – Glenwood, Oregon. He lived in an old trailer with his whole family and he even had this cool rabbit cage out back where he would grow and harvest the rabbits to cook the best stew you ever ate. He also had this wagon that had a little herb garden in it. He would pull it around the yard to keep the slugs off of it. This little old dude is Bob Snodgrass. I was drawn to him not only because he was just the epitome of cool but he could make glass like I had never seen before. He and his son, Bob Jr., had a crazy little shop in the back room of the trailer and they would stay back there all day making these incredible glass pipes. This was just the most awesome thing that I had ever been a part of and I just had to get to know more!
Have you taken any classes? What was the most memorable?
I have taken all kinds of glass-inspired classes. I think that it is an essential part of a modern glass craftsman to do. Learning from others and modifying ancient techniques to call your own is what it’s all about. Why reinvent the wheel? I get perturbed at young glass artists that shun the institution of glass education. I recommend that all glass artists attend the Pilchuck Glass School at least one time in their journey; it’s one of the most important glass education centers in the world.
Any names you’d like to drop for mentoring you?
Bob Snodgrass, Cameron Tower, Chris Shave, Dale Chihuly, Dante Marioni, Paul Trautman
What is your torch of choice?
Different torches for different applications
Do you blow glass every day?
I blow glass or handle glass every single day.
Do you work best during the day or night?
I work best in the morning!
What’s your favorite music to jam to while you work?
I listen to Pandora Radio, Fat Freddy’s Drop – the best!
What do you think will be the next trend of glass blowing?
The next trend in glass will go back to fuming.
What’s your favorite piece to make; or what are you well known for?
My favorite piece to make currently is my 2-piece pipe.
Do you participate in collabs with your peers?
I do collaborations with as many artists as I can keep organized with!
What will we see from you next? Any projects or shows in the works?
You are about to see the release of my new film – Pipe Dreams.
Do you have a favorite online glass community?
I love the Talk Glass community – also love my Facebook fan site:
What other activities do you spend your time doing?
I surf in any free time that I get.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring glass blower?
I would advise you to always turn off the propane when you leave the shop!
Be sure to check out JBD’s Instagram feed, loaded with sick photos and vidoes, and the trailer for his new movie, below.