The best ceramic pipes look as good as they (make you) feel
When we started going to head shops in the late 90s, they were dominated by a neo-hippy, faux-Rasta stoner aesthetic. Cheap plastic bongs, mass-produced metal pipes, and elaborate blown glass pieces that seemed straight out of a D&D wet dream were displayed in brightly lit glass cases. The smell of Nag Champa hung in the air and signs reading “for tobacco use only” were plastered everywhere. Pot was so taboo, you couldn’t even speak its name in spaces dedicated to it.
“There’s nothing like the smooth, cool finish of a ceramic pipe.”
But that was then and this is now. In an increasingly post-prohibition US, how and where we get our smoking accessories is changing. With the help of e-commerce sites like Etsy and Big Cartel and the strength of Instagram as an aesthetic discovery engine, individual artists and small studios are making their mark with a whole new crop of beautiful, handmade accessories that are as gorgeous as they are practical. And they’re doing it with one of the world’s oldest art forms: ceramics.
We still have a soft spot for a sick blown glass pipe. Metal can certainly do the job -- same for wood. But there’s nothing like the smooth, cool finish of a ceramic pipe. Ceramic, like glass, is an insulator, allowing you to light up without fear of burning those precious finger tips. And, like glass, it has a neutral flavor. Unlike glass though, ceramics are opaque, which means they always look clean, even when they’re not.
We’re so enamored with these smokable art objects that we’ve started a small collection. Currently in rotation at Grass HQ: a pink and blue speckled earthenware donut from John Quick Ceramics, available at Yield for $38; the simple, porcelain pipe with a Neapolitan swirl motif from Nord Pipes, available on Etsy for $33; and the blush half circle from Yew Yew, available on their site for $68. If you’re looking for something with a bit more kitsch, Portland-based Make Good Choices brings high-gloss whimsy to smoking accessories with pipes shaped like pickles, sex toys, and inhalers. Meanwhile, Summerland serves minimalist elegance in its earth-tone pipes and bongs. We’ve also been eyeing Wandering Bud’s leopard print one hitters, but there are endless options out there for high-minded art collectors looking to make the leap to ceramic.