Minimalist Contemporary Stonerware Elevates an Aesthetic
A conscious modern-day stoner, Liam Kaczmar is an aesthetically driven weed enthusiast. As founder of California-based bong brand, Summerland Ceramics, Kaczmar has designed and crafted a collection of perfectly minimal smoking devices, suitable for those that care about the visual design of what they’re smoking out of just as much as they do their highs.
During his time living on Haight Street in San Francisco, Kaczmar was surrounded by head shops, and set out on a search for a bong to call his own. Disappointed by the options in his quest, he decided to take on the journey of creating what he would consider the perfect piece. Kaczmar tells The Creators Project, “If you look at ads in old issues of High Times, there were some brands making some cool stuff in the 70s. It seems like they were trying to touch upon a more elevated aesthetic then, but it unfortunately didn’t last.”
Liam Kaczmar, founder of Summerland Ceramics. Photo courtesy of Stian Rasmussen
With a whole world of trippy glassware and psychedelic inspired pieces as his contenders, Kaczmar explains what influenced his early concepting: “The utilitarian quality of that early stuff was a big inspiration. I think the rainbow glass is a product of a time when smoking pot was mostly considered a dorm room/music festival activity. Cheap foreign manufacturers began copying what DIY glassblowers were doing, and that became the bong style.
“The high-quality scientific glass was the best looking that I could find in my research, but even that felt too ‘druggy.’ I think that was my main goal: make bongs that didn’t feel like paraphernalia. I wanted to design a bong that would fit nicely in a contemporary environment. Very stripped down and practical yet still very appealing.”
Crystal Voyager by Summerland Ceramics. Photo courtesy of Tiffany Ward.
Taking a less traditional approach to the art of the bong, Kaczmar utilizes his background as a designer and the current manufacturing technology to perfect the shapes of his pieces. He tells us, “After quite a bit of trial-and-error making molds from thrown forms or found objects, I decided to give another go with a more digital, graphic design approach.” Kaczmar says, “Each bong starts as a two-dimensional graphic profile, like a vector logotype. From there I turn them into three-dimensional models and use a 3D printer to bring them into the physical world. Molds are made from the 3D print and slip-cast editions are created. It’s not the purest form of ceramics, but from a design standpoint, it works really well.”
Weed and the creative process have always been a match made in stoners heaven. Says Kaczmar, “Weed opens up all of your senses and makes you slow down, tune in, and appreciate the finer details of life. It also helps you to drop a lot of anxiety, get out of your head, and get some real thinking/seeing done. It’s not a mystery why so many creative types have historically also been stoners.” We’re looking at you, Shakespeare.
Pleasure Point Photo courtesy of Summerland Ceramics.
Working under the influence, however, offers both benefits and hindrances. Kaczmar says, “With any conversation about cannabis, it’s important to state that every body is different. Everyone receives benefits and side effects differently, and no one should expect to react a certain way because they read it somewhere.” He continues, “For me, it really depends on the task at hand. If I have to operate anything in the digital realm, it’s over. I forget how to use Photoshop. Brainstorming or working on something physical, however, it can definitely help. That being said, I don’t really like to get stoned to get work done. I do it to relax, reflect, enjoy myself and the natural world. The work that has to get done later will be better because of a relaxing afternoon spent with the good stuff.”
Liam Kaczmar, founder of Summerland Ceramics. Photo courtesy of Stian Rasmussen.
Move over, glass. We're hitting it hard with Summerland Ceramics founder, Liam Kaczmar.