This month’s featured glass artist is Shawn Armour of Dohn Joe Glass — based in Seattle,Washington. Get to know more about him and all of his intricately designed pieces in this exclusive Heady Pages interview.
Shawn Armour first took an interest in glassblowing when his friend Chris made it his career. After spending countless days watching Chris blow many different types of glass in his garage, he invited Shawn to help him make glass pipes out of borosilicate glass in 2014. His first functional piece was a chillum — something different than what Chris was making. He found that he absolutely loved the entire process and continued to make chillums and other things, like marbles, pendants and spoons.
“Glass is unique to these other mediums in that you can’t force it to do anything. This includes everything from your attention, what you are working with, and how your studio is setup. To work with glass you have to provide a very unique environment to make it react how you want. It’s like learning a dance or developing a relationship with the glass where you work together to get it where you want,” Shawn said.
“Like many arts, but especially glass, you have to develop a specific muscle memory you use at all times and give this 100% of your attention to be able to turn the glass into what you want. Glass is very unforgiving so this attention to detail is absolutely necessary. It takes a long time but once you understand how the glass works and how to craft it, you can do some amazing things.”
As time went on, Shawn began working with glass full-time. When Chris opened a shop in Downtown Seattle, Shawn was his second in command. Their art was a huge hit in Seattle, where pipe glass blowing is one of the biggest scenes in the country. The community is ripe with people taking a special interest in glass, and supporting local artists.
But in 2018, Chris and Shawn parted ways. Shawn continued to grow and expand in Seattle while Chris went on to open his own shop in Lake Stevens. They worked together for several years, and in that time Shawn really refined his own style. He developed a unique look born from inspiration from his favorite artists (like Quave, Contrabasso, Eusheen, JDZ, Freek Glass, and Banjo Glass) and his special interest in the ways water can be moved through a pipe, and found an aesthetically pleasing style that he finds easy to recreate.
Take his Spool Cycler, for example. Its design is so fresh and unique that it has left an original mark on the glassblowing community. If you turn it on its side, the way the tubes connect looks like a turbocharger, a design inspired from his love of cars. A lot of his work is actually inspired from the curves and sleek looks from automobiles. His customers and other artists tell him that his work is very clean, and his cleanliness and attention to detail is something that he, too, appreciates.
Shawn focuses on creating symmetry and flow to his pieces, making them extremely attractive. You can also find a lot of horns on his pieces, a characteristic feature that is one of the easiest ways to identify his glass out of a lineup.
He approaches glass with a quality-over-quantity approach, which is a key part of the reason his glass is in such high demand within the community both in Seattle and on social media.
You can find many of his works at his studio or online, but he showcases his most impressive pieces on his Instagram. You can also catch him at the Degenerate Flame Off in Portland this month from May 20-22, or catch him doing local events at smokeshops for 420 and 710 in Washington.
Shop Shawn’s glass here.