Blown Away: Glass Blowing in the Mainstream

Blown Away - Best Glassblowers - Best Pipes


Have you guys seen Blown Away on Netflix yet? This incredible show is a celebration of glass blowing, showing the real details of creating, in some pretty crazy scenarios. Everyone in our orbit has been super hyped on it lately and it’s the number one thing people ask me about these days. Yes, I’ve seen it, some of my closest friends have been featured on it, and it is SO exciting to see the industry being featured so beautifully! One of my instructors and dear friend, Mike Shelbo competed during season one, and at the present, another pal, Trenton is competing this season.


The Big Deal

While shows and seasons come and go on Netflix, Blown Away is special and pretty major to us because glass blowing is a really niche sector of the art industry. Highlighting this art and culture is so cool because it’s captivating, the conditions we work in are among the most extreme for any artist, and the final results can be utterly mystical. Glass competitions are also a celebrated part of the industry. These events enable us to unite in celebration of the art, check out the latest innovations in techniques, and mingle with our distinctive breed of folks who live this crazy lifestyle fusing the brilliance of artistic creation with mad science. However, it’s all relatively underground and definitely has never been super-commercialized.


The Premise of Blown Away

Think “Top Chef” OR “Project Runway” but with glass artists. Blown Away got popular during the Pandemic when Netflix was about the only thing going on across the planet. What really stood out amidst the chaos of other programming was the show’s simple concept and reality-based sensibility. The show features a group of glass-blowing artists who compete during set challenges, under time constraints, and under the insane pressure of working with glass and temperatures between 1600 - 2000 F. 


Keeping it Authentic

Because we are immersed in this life, we can add a professional critique here and we gotta say, they really did their work to make the show authentic. They worked with notable experts, like renowned glass artists/ university professors Katherine Gray and Koen Vanderstukken to ensure accuracy was not compromised.


The extremes - of creating with a fragile, delicate medium such as glass, in a seriously difficult, hot, stuffy environment, using torches and fire in a controlled manner by artists with many years of mastery; it really makes for great TV! And, because we live this niche, we can say firsthand that this is what it really is like! While it’s rad to see our art form represented like this, it’s even cooler to shine a light on what goes into the creation of every blown glass piece from an educational standpoint. Whether it’s a hand-crafted glass pipe or a vase on your grandma’s table, it takes a serious amount of work to execute!


What Blown Away has accomplished is really something amazing. They have brought a really niche art and industry to the mainstream, kept the show central to the art, and maintained authenticity. They have allowed our world to really come through while bringing it to a massive audience who have been receptive throughout the seasons. The best part above all, however, is rooting for our friends as they compete.