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Photos by Carrie Strong

Leaf Glass Special 2024: Elnewglass

Elissa Newmeyer, known as Elnewglass, instantly comes to mind when thinking of the most creative artists in glass.

When you’re looking for the most creative artists working in glass today, Elissa Newmeyer is a name that instantly comes to mind. Also known as Elnewglass, her art conjures up this futuristic yet ancient alien world where a ‘90s/Art Deco aesthetic is having a renaissance. Bends of color twist effortlessly into symbol-like shapes or stretch out into delicate geometric lattices that have a Legend of Zelda BOTW feel to their patterns – and just like that video game, it might take you a minute to puzzle out how to hit one of these sculptural pipes. Often a wonder of design as much as functional art, she exemplifies that kind of glass blower whose work looks at home on the shelf of a Danish mid-century modern cabinet, just as it does on a coffee table or in a glass display case. 

Her style has been described as “inventive, playful and genre-pushing,” but Newmeyer describes it as simply “funky and fun.” A born-and-raised Oklahoman, she still lives in the state where she’s blown glass now for 11 years. While she’s received some previous training from an old employer, she told us that most of what she’s accomplished in over a decade behind the torch has been self-taught, building on “an insatiable curiosity via trial and error.” When asked if there’s a particular inspiration behind her vibrant and mesmerizing work, she said it’s not really any one thing or style, but the endless creativity of others that actually drives her to produce such stunning creations. This hasn’t gone unnoticed, as last April, Newmeyer was tapped to be part of an exhibition at the Flint Institute of Arts in Michigan that focused on the historical significance of pipe-making, as well as the artists who have pushed the boundaries and changed the landscape of what we consider to be glass art and smoking accessories.  

Though many of her pieces are dry pipes, she doesn’t have a particular favorite thing she likes to put into the kiln – telling us instead that it’s the sketch, the artwork itself, that really tends to drive what comes next. Looking at her Instagram feed, you can truly begin to see the truth in that … as she goes from creating pipes and bubblers to cups, jewelry, furniture, water bulbs, sunglasses, and recently even stained glass. Even the descriptions and titles of her work reflect more of a sculptural and artistic approach with names like “Third Eye Planet,” “Mid Modern Boom” and “What Punishments Of God Are Not Gifts?” Quotes from figures like Fred Rogers or Mark Nepo further provide glimpses into the journey spent constructing each one. Bottom line: Acquiring an Elnewglass item is like connecting with a piece of art that you want to display both when you’re smoking, and when you’re not. 

elnewglass.com | @elnewglass

Photos by @carriestrongphoto

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