Some people are into feet, some are into eyes. Kim Thomas is into teeth. 


“They’re like little tiny jewels that grow out of your gums,” says Thomas, a Detroit-based glass artist, best known within the pipemaking community as Zii. “When people talk to me, I like to look at their teeth — you can tell a lot about a person from their teeth. Some people have naturally perfect teeth that look really pretty, but the majority of people don’t.” 


Crooked, misaligned and abnormal choppers are most inspiring to Zii, and she turns them into functional smoking accessories. Dentists, as you might expect, are among Zii’s biggest fans. She’ll sometimes swap her glass version for one made of plastic for a set of dentures. One fan sent her his actually dentures, straight out his mouth, in trade. 

“I eventually gave them back,” Zii admits, “because he needed to eat.” 


Zii, nicknamed after her classic 1978 Camaro Z28, has a background in sculpture and ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design, and later worked as a special effects makeup artist on movies such as The Road. Her introduction to the torch came when she responded to a Craigslist ad seeking a glassblowing apprentice. She thought it sounded fun and would take her artistic talents in a new direction. When she arrived for the interview, she found the flameworkers making pipes. A decade later, Zii has worked in glass studios in California, Texas, Philly, eventually landing in Detroit, home of the Michigan Glass Project.  


As an artist, Zii believes the most creative and engaging work is influenced by things going on in the world that find their way into your dreams.  

“I don’t really dream that much,” she says, “but I used to have a lot of nightmares.” 


Some people mistake Zii’s severed finger pipes as zombie fingers, but actually they’re a callback to her anxious habit of biting her nails — the ghoulish solution she dreamt would be cutting off her fingers altogether. The inspiration for sculpting hyper-realist vagina pipes isn’t as gross; it’s actually about the beauty of childbirth. The idea for pipes in the form of dirty socks and underwear came from walks around the city and finding people’s discarded undergarments on the sidewalk.  

“It’s easy with pipemaking to get pigeonholed into making one type of piece –- if you’re doing it as a living, you have to please your fans and make things they will buy,” she says. “As artist, if you want to like grow and develop, and have some sort of message, you can’t just make one thing over and over.” 

“Glass is a very diverse sculptural medium and lends itself to experimenting — you can have any size, shape, texture and color that you want,” Zii says. “You can break every single rule and not worry that your piece won’t survive. 

“I love being part of the pipe community,” Zii adds.  “It’s amazing how hard the glass artist work, and that it started out as, and still is to some extent, a bunch of outsiders really pushing their art medium.”


Zii Glass 



Recent Articles

How to Prepare for Holiday Shoppers

Holiday shopping is an early-bird game. The first place a shopper sees a deal and decides to buy it — guess what? That’s a product they’re not buying from the competition. Today’s consumers are searching for the best deals and most unique gifts, but gone are the days of customers idly wandering the neighborhood or

Read More »

Who’s Your Best Customer?

The tides are shifting in regards to cannabis usage with the majority of cannabis consumers—roughly three-quarters—partaking five or more times per week. That’s your golden opportunity to appeal to that customer segment through product variety and affordability.   According to a report from the Brightfield Group, a Chicago-based market research firm focused on the cannabis

Read More »

Lifestyle Brand Consumers Put a Premium on Sustainability

A growing percentage of consumers care more about the sustainable practices of the brands with which they engage. In a recent survey by Stifel and Morning Consult, more than half of the survey’s respondents shared they had bought from a new brand specifically for its transparent, environmentally responsive, and sustainable practice. Similarly to how high-end

Read More »

Injunctions Sought Against E-cig Manufacturers as FDA Steps Up Enforcement

The US Department of Justice has taken legal action against six e-cigarette manufacturers on behalf of the US Food and Drug Administration.  Morin Enterprises Inc. (doing business as E-Cig Crib), Soul Vapor, Super Vape’z, Vapor Craft, Lucky’s Convenience & Tobacco, and Seditious Vapours failed to submit the necessary premarket applications for their e-cigarette products “and

Read More »

Realize Live Resin Blood Orange OG Kush Gummies

There are so many Delta 9 gummies on the market that it can be difficult to pick a winner — unless you go with Realize (formerly Pow Pow) brand Live Resin, Blood Orange Kush gummies that took the top spot in the edibles: gummies category at the 2022 High Times Cannabis Cup. With many worthy

Read More »

Social Media

Most Recent

Are you 18 or older?