John Simpson hopes people will open their minds. Not just to the artistic element of glassblowing, but to the broader themes expressed by artists like himself through their work.
“You can’t melt anything else quite like glass. It turns into this flowing liquid and it’s incredible to be able to make it into anything that you can imagine,” Simpson says. “I don’t think we’re even touching what we could be doing with this art form.”
Simpson has been at the torch since 1997. A longtime Grateful Dead fan, Simpson went to his first concert when he was just 14 years old. He later followed the band on their West Coast tour, paying his way by selling glass pipes to his fellow Deadheads.
“When I’d get new pipes to sell, I’d always hang out with the glassblowers and really watch what they were doing,” says Simpson, a resident of Antioch, California, where he has his Blu Sun Glass studio. “I was mesmerized and fell in love with glassblowing immediately.”
Simpson’s newest series of glass creations are inspired by Terence McKenna’s “Stoned Ape Theory” that suggests the psilocybin mushroom was catalyst that turned advanced animals into conscious, caring, thinking human beings.
Simpson calls his creatures, Wooks. Sort of a fusion of apes, monkeys and Sasquatch. So far, the tribe has more than 300 members, each with its own colorful characteristics.
“Eventually they’ll evolve into long haired hippies,” Simpson says.
Simpson has become a true advocate of psilocybin mushrooms. He began micro-dosing to help with anxiety and depression — debilitating thoughts he felt holding back his art and career. Now he credits shrooms with changing his life.
“It was a real evolution of my mind. I’ve always believed in natural medicine and it seems to be in line with the collective consciousness of society today,” Simpson says.
“I’m still not at the point where I want to be as a glassblower,” he adds, “But, I have a newfound self-confidence and can see myself really breaking away.”
Blu Sun Glass