Knowing the amount of popularity JAG (Just Another Glassblower) has been garnering recently in the industry, I have been keeping pretty good tabs on most of his work to date. My particular favorite series he has been doing as of recently are the cracked and bomb series, as they add an element of class with extremism as a contrast, which I think flows nicely and makes a very cool artistic statement. But, getting back to the review in question, about 3 weeks ago I had been browsing around Aqualab trolling the heady glass selection, not really even intending to buy a pipe, just simply keeping myself informed about what was out there, and even adding a few pipes to my wish list (you always got to have your next purchase(s) lined up!). In most instances, planning my next move usually works out great for me, however on some occasions, like this most recent glass purchase, planning wasn’t really part of the equation… in fact, it was far from it. The spontaneity hit me like a pile of bricks. There, staring me in the face, was one of the last few Art Deco sidecars from the 2010 JAG collection (roughly 2 years old now) just sitting there waiting to be purchased! On top of that, Aqualab, as luck would have it, was offering it at the absolutely killer price of $250! (Originally $400!) Boom. Purchased. Add to cart.
I had seen examples of JAG’s Deco collection in the past, and was always impressed by the clean lines and sense of purity that the white encalmo work evoked; however, I truly did not think that this pipe would grow on me as much as it has. When I received it in the mail, I must say, pictures do not do this pipe justice whatsoever. To truly experience the craftsmanship and time that went into the form and function of this pipe, the buyer MUST hold it in his or her hands. To call this pipe a marvel of glasswork would be putting it lightly. Easily, the first thing that catches your eye is the almost unnerving, unorthodox design of the sidecar, as it truly looks like a pipe out of a science fiction movie. Not only is it a bold design move in that it encompasses a traditional pipe style (the sidecar), but it has its own twist on that tradition and is quite pleasing to look at. Not one part of the pipe signals the glass to “stop” in any way. To elaborate, I mean that the design isn’t abrupt or jagged in any way and it’s almost as if the glass was molded out of a clay ball to perfection; it’s that damn smooth.
As far as the function, I was skeptical as to the size of the Deco as dimensions are given online before purchase, however, it’s always interpreted differently when seen in person, but fortunately, to my personal satisfaction, this pipe was the right size in all the right places. JAG’s Deco sidecar not only hits like a champ, but the flattened/tapered sidecar mouthpiece also provides a smaller airflow duct which delivers an efficient hit and cools the smoke enough to not cause any coughing fits. Another point to note is that the push bowl was molded with great care in that it’s not only a “standalone” pack if you will (as it stands above the base, but is non removable), but additionally the hole in the push is ever so perfect and provides the continued efficient airflow that I have come to enjoy with this pipe. The only truly honest downside that I can give to this original piece of art, is that it is very fragile, and If you have a strong tendency to break pipes (as I once did in the past), then this really isn’t the venue for you; it’s pricey. And since it’s essentially a one-off design in limited numbers; it is irreplaceable for the most part. However, if you can afford it, and are looking to expand your collection to include one of the best artists in the glass scene today, I cannot recommend a JAG sidecar enough.
The Art Deco series is a continual series that JAG does every year, and one of his trademarks, but the 2010 series is slowly winding down as more and more from the collection have been purchased over time (2011 and 2012 are more prevalent now). If there are any still available, look out for a JAG deco sidecar at your nearest shop or online retailer. Retail price goes for about $400 US, but if you can snag a deal as I did, you can find them much cheaper. JAG has been in the game for quite some time and his expansive, detail-oriented work truly shows that. As my collection continues to grow and grow, so does my zest for glass and this purchase was no different; something new and exciting, and well… spontaneous! Do yourself a favor, collectors, and pay your respects to the man known as JAG; it is deserving of your collection and appreciation. Cheers.