You might say that Chadd Lacy and Adrienne Di Salvo have a fiery relationship. The couple met in art school where they were both studying glass blowing, and they were married in 2014. The collaberation extends to their Florida studio where they combine their signature styles — he with whales and she with skeletons, to crafting detailed heady glass pipes.
Chad and Adrienne both began in the fine art world, creating decorative objects and jewelry, he teaching glass and blowing out the furnace and she with goldsmithing and jewelry. Being able to set their imaginations free and further the craft of glass blowing is what led them to focus on pipe making
“People (in the smoke shop and cannabis industry) are so encouraging of the really crazy ones that are detailed on every surface,” Adrienne says. “You can’t make pieces like that in many other medium.” Together Chadd and Adrienne have employed their distinctive skills and created a body of sculptural pipes that blend their humor and curiosity. Their studio is named Blowhole Glass, representative of their signature whale pipes inspired by the classic novel Moby Dick and the Victorian maritime era. From sperm whales to humpbacks and the mythical narwhal with its characteristic long single tusk, while they’re different species, they all make for a very similar shaped rig.
The whales they bring to life are far from ordinary sculptures. Chadd blows the form and Adrienne carves skeletons and intricate details into the glass, revealing layers of color. Her experience working with stone, metal and wood gives her the skill to carve glass, which she says tops the hardness scale. “You’re tempted to push really hard with the bit, but if you do that it’ll crack the grass; you have to let the speed of the rotation carve away at the glass,” she says.
“We’ll often put in days of planning. We’ll talk about the colors we’re going to use and how we’re going to layer them,” Chadd says. “Where there might by orange flowers or a red Rose or a heart, for example, I have to put the color down exactly where Adrienne wants it so that she can carve it later,” he explains. “We’re pretty methodical with every detail.
These are no everyday production pieces. While the high-end work can be found in smoke shops and galleries from California to Florida and even Australia and Spain, many of the pieces take prized places in private collections. Chadd and Adrienne also make special collections that they exhibit at industry trade shows such as Glass Vegas.
“My favorite thing about what we do is how enthusiastic collectors are for our work,” Chadd says. “The cannabis community has been so supportive of pipe makers, and being part of how energized that community has become is pretty awesome.”