Between his incredible functional art and his exceptional skill, there’s a lot to love about Denzel Gates of Dirge Glassworks. Learn more about Denzel and his work at Dirge Glassworks in this exclusive Heady Pages interview.

Diving right in, Denzel got into glassmaking around July of 2015 after visiting a smoke shop with a ton of incredible glass on display. He found himself curious about how the intricate designs could be made, and set out to learn the ropes. Later he found his own studio, and the rest is history. His first piece was an implosion pendant, but he was always inspired by Buckglass’ anglerfish and Saltglass’ ogres. While he still makes pendants here and there, he sees boundless possibilities in creation and now focuses mainly on bubblers, recyclers, and other small water pipes.

His work is one of a kind. Gates loves to explore all of the possibilities with glass making, including depth of color and functional design. After he began moving away from pendants, he started exploring recyclers. He’s always looking for ways to innovate these designs and works to create experiences with his glass that pushes air and water through the piece in tons of unique ways.

With that said, Gates’ work is mainly recyclers these days. He’s perfected his craft to the point where his work is visibly identifiable from others who do similar work. For example, his divine owl designs are inspired by Banjo, but they feature his specialized perc designs. A lot of his work utilizes clover percs that are welded to the base. You can also find a lot of sharp angles that add more functional airflow on the uptake and allow for a stronger, more condensed hit.

Gates feels that glass making is a form of meditation, When he’s behind the torch he feels unparalleled joy in creating something new for the world beyond something that just looks cool. He loves the possibilities that come from the raw materials, and finds inspiration practically everywhere. He also loves how tight-knit the glass community is. He’s part of the huge scene in Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin and has worked with Salt Glass, Michael Evans, Yunk, Relic Glass, and Cage Glass.