Glass blower Alex Zirkl is only 24 years old, but he’s already one of North America’s most imaginative pipe artists.
The Victoria craftsman's colourful high-end pieces sometimes feature glass tubes or balls encased within other glass tubes or balls.
They can be separated by mere millimetres to allow smoke or water to pass through
"The symmetry is very pleasing to the human eye," Zirkl told the Straight by phone.
He began making pipes while in Grade 12, learning from a friend of a friend who was doing this part-time in his workshop.
After Zirkl acquired his own tools, he opened his own shop, first in the Comox Valley and then in Victoria, where he moved three years ago.
"Some of the sculpted pieces that I have are more on the artistic free-flowing side of things," he noted. "They're quite large and intricate, and very detailed as well."
Zirkl's works will be on display at 10,000 Hours, a solo exhibition of glass art hosted by Puff Downtown (1109 Granville Street) at 7 p.m. on Saturday (April 22).
The show will include one piece that he described as "human-robotic", which comes complete with facial features and hands that were difficult to sculpt.
“Most of the pieces at the show are $1,000 to $4,000.” Zirkl revealed. "The colourwork that goes into them ups their price quite a bit."