Badabing & Zenit

By James

Germany has a great history of scientific glass-blowing and it will come as no surprise that in more recent times this has been put to great use within the cannabis community.

While German made Schott-Duran glass or Lenz ground glass joints are used almost univer- sally by the highest end functional glass artists worldwide, the main stage in Europe has been dominated by one company: Roor.

Although   this   has   been   largely   justified through years of producing only the highest quality water pipes, they are not the only dog in town. At Cultiva in Vienna we caught up with two highly experienced functional glass artists with almost 40 years experience between them to discuss their upcoming work together. Sascha, and his newly founded  “Badabing”,  and Frank, with his long running “Zenit” production line, have recently begun to work together on a series of col- laborations. Their goal to bring the world of pipe making in Germany to the 21st century by combining the traditional German perfectionism with modern developments in water pipe technology. We asked them a few questions about what to expect from them in the near future…

What brought the two  of  you  to  work  together? Frank: After a few phone-calls we met at a glass-blow- er’s convention in the South of Germany. There we found out that, while we both concentrated on very dif- ferent techniques and styles, we had many common interests. During the first collaboration we realized that this variety created many new possibilities for both of us and we decided to continue to work together closely.

How  long  have  you  been  working  with  glass? Frank: I am a fourth generation glass-blower , who has lived and worked glass for 25 years now. I started at the age of fifteen working in my fathers shop, earning myself a little extra pocket money by selling small glass trinkets and figurines to my classmates. From 1987-89 I studied as an apprentice scientific glass-blower before becoming a full time scientific glass-blower and neon

bender. During this time I never stopped working on artistic glass in my fathers studio. I began to work for myself in 2003 and began my functional glass line “Zenit” in 2005.

What are your future goals  for your glass  company? Frank: We want to start to work on collaborations more regularly. That gives us a chance to learn from each other and develop new styles and skills. I believe that this way we will continue to evolve and develop as artists.

What inspires you to create your artistic and func- tional glass pieces?

Frank: The endless variation and possibilities with glass constantly inspires me to try out new techniques. Glass- working has no limitations, which allows me to constantly challenge myself.

What is your most memorable moment since you started blowing glass?

Frank: Still after all these years the greatest moment for me was finishing my apprenticeship in scientific glass-blowing with honors.

What brought the two of you  to  work  together? Sashca: Actually we knew each other from telephone con- versations for quite some time before we met in person. I once called Frank for help with technical problems at the company I worked before I built my own studio. I was very pleased with not only the assistance he gave but the kind- ness and professionalism that came with it. It was not until much later that he told me he had been honoured to be called by such a well respected company. After I left Roor a friend of mine named Axel, who owned a head shop in Berlin and was also getting into glass blowing, asked me about my future plans. At the time I had no real plans but I was in the process of building a full studio from scratch. When Axel could not blow glass any more due to health problems he suggested I contact Frank and see about doing some collaborations with him. I immediately forgot about this, as the stress of the shop build and the illness of my wife took centre stage, but unbeknownst to me Axel had also said the same thing to Frank. So one day out of the blue the phone went, and it was Frank. We dis- cussed how we could work together on some common projects in the near future. It was not however until a small lamp working convention in South Germany, at which we were the only members of the functional glass community, that we eventually met. He brought some of his percolated pieces and I some of my non-functional art pieces. The way he employed his scientific background in his pipes blew me away and he seemed impressed by my colour working abilities. The enthusiasm of this first meet rolled over the whole convention and together with all the attendees we created a crazy collaborative vessel. Literally

one artist would finish a section before another would add. It still took a little while to turn this positivity into functional collabs, as Frank was busy with his Zenit line and I was still getting my feet back on the ground. but

finally here we are.

How  long  have  you  been  working  with  glass?  Sashca: I started my apprenticeship in 1998 as a scientific glassblower. After the apprenticeship I worked for a quartz company until 2003 but found myself ill suited to this kind of work, this was not the reason I began blow- ing glass. I worked with Roor from 2003-2010 and learned a great deal about the functional glass scene. Since then I have been self employed, so that makes it about 13 years I’ve been working with glass.

What is your most memorable moment since you started blowing glass?

Sashca: I have had a few! One definitely has to be looking at a Mike Fro piece that Martin Birzle was kind enough to bring to the glass-school in 2001 while I was still in apprenticeship. I was looking at the piece, a nice double- bubbler if I remember correctly and I just couldn’t believe it was made of boro, nor that it was made on the same torch I was working on for years. All the Dichro, the attachments, the line-work, was just unbelievable. I thought it was furnace-work, mould-blown, or some- thing…. Martin was also kind enough to let me watch Jesse Kohl introducing Northstar Colors to Germany in his home shop and let me make my first Dichro-marble on the torch. Thanks again to Martin. My first furnace-class under the de la Torre Brothers was also mind-blowing. So


was the first contact with US-Blowers, who introduced me to a whole new language in glass, one that I had never realised before, thanks for that! Many more intense expe- riences followed through the years. Collabing with Hops and Nate Dizzle at the RooR studio in 2009 was a great experience, just like attending the GAS-conference 2009 ! I also recently took a Eusheen and Natey Biskind class in Colorado and was lucky enough to catch a John Kobuki demo in Stuttgart/Germany. Thanks again to all of you, you know who you are!

What inspires you to create your artistic and func- tional glass pieces?

Sashca: The glass itself and the possibilities it has within itself. Glass gives you the possibility to create a parallel uni- verse to the world we live in. It clearly shows you where your limitations are and embraces you when you overcome these. It takes you by the hand and might bring you to high- est peaks or the deepest valleys you can imagine. It’s a rep- resentation of life itself. I love it. I hate it. It’s a part of me.


What are your  future goals for your  glass company? Sashca: I want to expand my knowledge and abilities as a glass-blower and further provide my customers with glass that comes from the heart. There are so many techniques I haven’t dived into yet! The live collaboration idea from over the Atlantic is one that I would really like to embrace more in the future and generate interest in that idea here, not only on the customer side but also on the artist side. There are so many good artists working in the wide field of glass! The collab with Zenit is the beginning, focusing on combin- ing the modern borosilicate art the American blowers have inspired me with and the clean and high-quality scientific work Frank of Zenit is continuing into the fourth generation in his family! You are going to see unique pieces from BadaBing and another very talented German glass artist in the near future. I want to give something back to all the contemporary blowers from the counter-culture that inspired me. With the idea of collaborating with other artists I want to put a statement against all people just try- ing to get rich by flooding the market with mass-produced glass that has no soul and energy at all. The idea of work- ing together (or at least in a friendly competition) just feels so much closer to me. Call me naive, but I’m going to put in all the effort I can to bring honesty and pride in the form of glass to the people, If I can provide for my family with that all my dreams have become reality!

While all the original collaborations are currently housed at 1 of a Kind Glass,  Frank  & Sascha  are hard  at work  on both their own production lines and further series of collabs due to land in Canada any day now.

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