STORIES

Glass Artist Sibelle Yuksek Celebrates the Female Form

By David Silverberg on May 31, 2019

What do yoga poses, Major from the anime show Ghost in the Shell and cannabis have in common? Welcome to the world of Sibelle Yuksek, an L.A. glasswork artist who has been turning cannabis heads with her stunning pipes featuring nude women in positions you normally don’t see in smokeable products.

The aforementioned Major inspired Yuksek to design a pipe displaying the character holding a machine gun rig wrapped from back to belly. Most of the other pipes place the female body in various yoga poses, from cobra to frog to downward-facing dog. As you’d expect Yuksek is a yoga practitioner but more importantly, she’s passionate about developing her glasswork skills in her second year of taking this art form seriously.

“I’ve worked with metal and wood, but [working] with glass is unlike anything I’ve done as an artist,” says Yuksek. “You have to think about a lot of things at once, like how hot the glass is, how gravity is affecting the piece, if you’re blowing too hard, too soft.”

Yuksek is attracted to the female body as an art form because “a woman’s natural curves and those yoga poses are simply pleasing to the eye. A woman’s body has always been my muse.”

The pipes are often bought by collectors not to use as cannabis pipes, but essentially to act as art pieces to reflect a home’s décor. Sometimes, though, her clients simply want something beautiful from which to smoke.

She didn’t think she would slip into the cannabis community, considering her “gentle relationship with cannabis.” Yuksek doesn’t indulge very often, but her community of like-minded artists is filled with regular consumers, and at the beginning of her glassware career, she saw an opportunity to find a niche with her pipes and bongs.

“It was only after a conversation with another glassware artist who told me that glass pipes and bongs were really popular with the cannabis scene that I began to think seriously about this way to reach more people with my art,” she recalls. “To make something fun and functional is really fulfilling for me.”

The L.A. artist has long been infatuated with art. As a child, she grew up in a conservative home in Virginia Beach where she didn’t go out often, and eventually “turned inward to read comic books and my mom’s visual encyclopedia, and I was drawing aggressively day and night.”

Later, she majored in illustration at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she took a glassmaking elective. She decided to pick up flamework as a double major, which would be useful for sculptural installations or jewelry making.

She snagged a gig at Neptune Glassworks where she learned how to make vessels and glassware, while playing with smokeables on the side. “If I didn’t work with Uri Davillier at Neptune, I wouldn’t have developed that understanding on how to work with glass.”

So far, Yuksek has crafted around 40 pieces, all made to order. “I’m still figuring out the whole retail and business side of things,” she admits, noting how only a few pipes are available for sale on her site.

As for other figures she’d like to bring to her glasswork, Yuksek mentions more anime characters, Daenerys from Game of Thrones, Jasmine from Aladdin and maybe even Princess Leia.

“The possibilities are endless!” she exclaims.

Photo credits: Sibelle Yuksek and Kimberly Millard.

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