Depending on who you talk to, Greg “Chemdog” Krzanowski needs no introduction. His legacy of cultivating some of the most influential genetics and new-world Cannabis strains stretching back 30 years (Chemdog/Chem 91, Chem D, Chem 4) is well known, as is his current status as the Director of Cultivation for Smash Hits Cannabis by Canna Provisions.
But for another sect of the Cannabis community, Chemdog’s glass pieces and special collaborations are talismans to covet. His overall career – like his origins in Cannabis cultivation – can be traced back to the 1980s/’90s Grateful Dead lot-life culture.
“If it weren’t for the Grateful Dead, I wouldn’t be blowing glass, nor the grower of Chemdog,” he says. “The Dead brought me here to this place right now, led me to finding the strain that became Chemdog. I really owe it all to them.”
So it should come as no surprise that Krzanowski sees the arcs of both paths between the plant side and the artistic glass side intrinsically interwoven into each others’ DNA – like the rivulets of color twisting through a fresh glass pendant or heavy-duty hammer bowl from Chem’s glass lab in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.
“Right now I can’t even take any custom orders, I’m just getting to my shop on the weekends and basically making one-hitters from being so busy at the Canna Provisions grow,” Krzanowski says about getting back into maker mode. “Getting back to the shop itself feels awesome, it’s a total stress reliever for me.”
Chem’s style was picked up in the early ‘90s during tours and his trips to Oregon to meet up with the celebrated Bob Snodgrass. His education really began in 1993 – stocking up on Snodgrass’ cases for young Chem to hawk on tour with the Grateful Dead. Eventually, he started watching guys like Snodgrass and Travis Wigger, Bob Badtram, Cameron Tower, and the close study worked its way into his own signature style. “They are my main influencers and inspirations … those four styles basically form together to fuel mine.”
That’s not just lip service: Chemdog started officially blowing his own glass pieces in the early ‘90s and kicked production up a notch around the turn of the millennia while growing weed full time. But after getting raided in 2011 (an infamous story documented in the Nov. 2021 Harvest Issue), he immediately went back to his glass shop to make a pipe and decompress. “I still have it,” he says, with understandable pride.
Speaking about his return to the shop after a break in blowing from focusing on launching Smash Hits over the last year, he waxes philosophical on the power of the pause.
“That break just makes you flow better, the inspiration comes back and gives you a sense of freshness to the work,” he says. “A clean slate is sort of there, and the flow is really back after a recharge like that. I suggest it to every glassblower out there. Take a break every now and then and watch what happens to your work. It’s a natural gift.”
As for any lasting wants from such a storied career, he brings it all back home.
“I want to meet Bobby Weir while he’s still here, and simply tell him: Thank you.”
Chemdog’s Favorite Influences and Collabs
Dave Colton Glass | davidcoltonglass.com
“The first collab I ever did was with Dave Colton, a true collaborative effort, back in 2012-13. I loved that piece.”
Banjo Glass | @banjoglass
“We did some Sherlock and a crazy side bowls I still have and love.”
Coyle Condenser | @coylecondenser
“We did a bunch of pendants, and eventually he wound up doing a bear for me. He’s my shopmate in Florence, Mass.”
Hops Glass | @hopsglass
“We whipped up some awesome laid-back bubblers. His style is old school, and he has a really nice flair to his work.”