Before getting into glass blowing, Clark was going for a mechanical engineering degree and had a job assembling and tuning bicycles. He never thought much about glass being anything other than something to smoke out of until a friend opened a head shop and introduced him to the artistic side of the craft.
“I just assumed there was a factory in China with automated machines that made pipes,” Clark admits.
“When I really looked at the glass, I was like, ‘This is for me!’ Something about glass blowing just made sense — as soon as I lit a torch, I was hooked.”
Ditching engineering seven years ago, Clark dove into glass blowing full-time. Doing was his best teacher. Ironically, the repetitive and detail-oriented aspects he dreaded about engineering jobs were also part of making production glass pipes. But with one significant difference — glass blowing offered freedom and the opportunity to make or break it — no pun intended, on his own.
Clark’s 10×10 square foot home studio in St. Catherine’s Ontario, Canada, just outside Niagara Falls, keeps him close to his family and focused on his projects. His goal is turning Clark’s Glass Works into a respected brand. He knows that takes commitment, and that is why, on Instagram posts he will often add the hashtags #workhardstayhumble and #clarkworksharderthanyoudo as reminders of the time and effort put into each finished piece.
“One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given is to work like you have 10 orders even when you don’t,” Clark says.
Mini tubes and recyclers — all hand-spun — are Clark’s bread & butter. While Clark does not consider himself to be “artsy,” some of his pieces are taken up a notch on the creative scale with wig-wag designs, and opal and milli attachments. He also has a line of sculpted creature pendants and rigs nicknamed “Chompers” on account of their oversized teeth.
“I try and keep my pieces simple, functional and affordable,” Clark says. “The goal is to get them into as many hands as possible.”
“I wake up every day excited to go into my studio,” Clark adds. “Even on my worst day, if I light the torch, it gets me smiling.”