Every month, we profile the top artists of the glass smokeware industry. For past glass artists, visit the HIGH TIMES Glass Artist of the Month archive.
If you told Lacey St. George a decade ago what she’d be doing today, she probably would have died of shock. Ten years ago, she could be found in a Sunday school classroom teaching the Bible to bubbly little school children. Or you might have found her on a mission trip giving sandwiches to homeless people or telling hookers that God thinks they’re beautiful as they walk the hard streets of San Francisco in the late hours of the night.
“There was a distinct polarity in the culture I was brought up in,” says Lacey. Living with her father in a small town in southern Oregon, the church provided activities and an optimistic worldview. However, her mother in Northern California lived amid a different sort of culture altogether. Glass pipes were the family business there. “I saw a pipe being made for the first time in 1995 when I was 12,” she recalls. “I grew up around glassblowers who made pipes.”
Although a creative child, Lacey didn’t start blowing glass right away. “The mainstream and religious society teaches that smoking is bad,” she says. “I was torn between two families that seemed to have come from two different worlds. I had the urge to blow glass, but I first had to appreciate the culture from which it came before my passion emerged.”
At the age of 21, Lacey dove headfirst into the art form and, in time, became the highly acclaimed glass artist known as “Laceface.”
“I always wanted to make art,” she says. “I assumed that making pipes would get me there eventually. Then, one day, I realized that the pipes had become my art. They were what I wanted to talk about, the story I wanted to tell the world.”
Lacey believes in the spiritual and ritualistic nature of pipes. In Native American culture, pipes are used for communion with the Creator. She says that most of the women depicted in her work look toward heaven - they reach upwards in reverence and gratitude. Images of natural beauty are a recurring theme for her – birds, flowers and the female form.
She says, “I can’t deny where I came from and the culture in which I was raised. I am a product of modern society. But I’ve come to realize that I’m a part of something much greater than myself. I feel so lucky to have been exposed to this art form from an early age and feel honored to work with the best. I feel like I was born to blow glass, but I couldn’t do it without those who came before me and paved the way. I give thanks to all of my teachers, friends and family.”