Bomdiggidy Smoke Shop's Glassblowers and the Art of Getting Stoned

Photo courtesy of Bomdiggidy Smoke Shop
Shop owner Matt and one wicked expensive piece

The temperature from the torches in this back-alley shop is brutal, even from a safe distance, and yet no one seems to notice but me. Every two feet or so, there's an artist standing over a torch, and they're all deep in the process of melting glass. This fire-meets-molten glass is their comfort zone.

One of the bespectacled guys begins the process of blowing into the molten glass, gently blowing the glowing material into an ever-expanding bubble. As I move a bit closer, I am completely unaware of anything other than the glow of the lava-like glass, and I come entirely too close to wiping out an entire table of glass pipes. Expensive glass pipes.

Photo by Angelica Leicht
Pogo and his wicked spider pipes
You know that old saying, "It's like a bull in a china shop?" Well, step into the rows and rows of hand-blown glass pieces in Bomdiggidy Smoke Shop in the heart of Katy, and you'll quickly find out what it feels to be the bull in that equation. Only this time, you're a bull surrounded by very expensive smoking accessories -- a $20,000 bong here, a $200 pipe there -- all of which are made in that hotter-than-hell workshop in the back by Bomdiggidy's collaboration of artists.

The group of glass blowers see their work at Bomdiggidy as a communal effort. They're all part of the creative process, and they're all free to make the art their own, down to the very last component -- their unique signature -- which can be found on every piece in the store as a stamp of their hard work. Each artist in the shop is fostered and allowed to create pieces he is excited about, and they're also seen as partners, rather than employees. When the shop does well, they're all doing well.

Thumbnail image for fire_bomdigg.jpg
Photo by Angelica Leicht
Glass blowing: a legit reason to play with fire
That sharing and caring mentality creates a unique vibe to the shop, where each artist is happy to talk about his work or inspiration, and they're excited to see the growth around them. They're part of something special, too. Bomdiggidy is the only shop of its kind in the city -- nowhere else will you find in-house glass blowers creating artistic pipes -- which means from the art on down, it's hardly your head shop of olde.

Take Pogo, the shop manager, as an example. He beams as he displays his glass babies -- a series of pipes fashioned into spiders -- one of which will soon be a Sherlock Holmes-spider creation, complete with some dapper duds and a glass cigarette. He's a nationally recognized artist, but Bomdiggidy is his home. The shop houses his work, and he creates it right out back among a team of guys who genuinely enjoy what they're doing. It's that attention to the creative process, and the shop's attention to its artists, that makes Bomdiggidy a diamond in the smoke-shop rough.

There's an educational component happening among those pipes, too, and it's got little to do with the proper way to take a bong hit. The shop is often the Houston home for national artists, who are free to showcase their work there, or teach a class in their work space. Bomdiggidy will teach you novices the ways of the glass blowers, too -- just as Bomdiggidy glass blower Matt Watson was taught -- but it won't be in the back of a hippie van this time. You'll have to stop by the shop, where they house Houston's only glass-blowing tools and raw materials.

This story continues on the next page.

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