J Wonder’s ceramic pipes look too beautiful to smoke out of. They’re shaped into charming little flowers and unicorn horns and adorned with vibrant gold, white, and pink hues. They feel like the last thing you would want to hold a lighter against and smoke weed out of, but their delicate looking appearance is deceiving: the vivid colors and shapes on these porcelain pipes are actually incredibly durable and can withstand all the weed you want to throw at them.
I think I just found the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for the stoner in your life.
J Wonder has been making her ceramic pipes in Seattle for the last few years and selling them through her website and Instagram and in pop-up stores around Seattle. I caught up with her over e-mail to find out what it’s like to make pot pipes inspired by My Little Pony, what makes her dahlia flowers glow, and why she loves unicorns.
Your pieces definitely have a fantasy element to them, like they could be Alice from Alice in Wonderland's pipe, or Dr. Seuss's piece, or could even be in a My Little Pony episode. Do you intentionally incorporate fantasy elements into your art?
It's funny you say that because I grew up on all those things! Though it's not something I think about, it's probably a subconscious thing that comes out naturally when I create. I think I've lived a lot of my life in a fantastical world inside my imagination though, it's the one thing we all have that we can rely on. I've always felt that magic is real, and there's so much more there than meets the eye. It's pretty cool to materialize that into something people can hold in their hands.
I've been in love with unicorns ever since I can remember. It might sound funny but I've always felt that they were real and that their presence was with me. They're also the only thing I've ever collected in my life, and have since I was very young: I slept in unicorn sheets, had a unicorn music box, jewelry holder, lamps… I've always been surrounded by them.
What kind of material are the pipes and the colors made out of? Are your pipes safe to smoke out of?
The pipes are made of the highest quality porcelain, lead-free glazes, and 22k gold. Every piece is fully functional. What I love about the process is that I work with the four elements of air, earth, fire, and water.
The end result is an extra durable product because the hotter you fire porcelain, the more like stone it becomes. Wonder Pipes are fired to 2300 degrees which makes them pretty bulletproof.
Porcelain is nice to smoke out of because you are essentially smoking out of the purest form of earth! Something to note is that porcelain has a cooling effect on the smoke which is soothing on the throat, just like a basement is cooler than the rest of a house. This is because Earth is a natural insulation material and the best there is. Before the invention of refrigerators, refreshments were kept cool in ceramic vessels in hot dry climates, taking advantage of the properties inherent to this material. Plus, it's cool to smoke flowers, which are grown from the earth, out of the Earth from which they came.
Your pieces have such a unique and dramatic coloring—what gives them their vibrant colors and textures?
I create the bright colors by hand-painting with small brushes which allows for quite a bit of detail. I approach each one as both a painting and a sculpture in my process as they all start out as white canvases before I paint them. To get unique textures, I hand-carve with small metal tools and sometimes use dental tools.
You carve porcelain while it's wet, so the possibilities for textures are endless. This translates well into something that you hold in your hand because it doubles as a tactile experience. Additionally, with some pieces I hand paint glossy glaze over raw matte porcelain so they have a contrast of gloss/matte that's nice to feel while using it. Texture is important to me because I believe art should be multi-sensory.
Do the colors on the piece withstand being used? Will your beautiful dahlia pipes turn into ugly resin-stained pieces when someone smokes out of them?
The nice thing about porcelain is the colors will NEVER fade!!! They will remain this bright in 100 years! The pipes and their colors will outlive us, and you can easily clean the resin with rubbing alcohol.
If you could design any shaped piece what would it be?
A snowflake. I've always been intrigued by them, watching them fall into my hands while snowboarding, and paid a lot of attention to them growing up in snowy white mountains. I'd say snowflakes are proof of magic.
You're one of many female entrepreneurs working in the cannabis or cannabis-related industries. Do you think women are playing a big role in this brand new legal cannabis industry?
Women are playing a major role in the new cannabis industry and it is such a wonderful thing to get to be a part of. I think the new cannabis industry is an amazing unprecedented opportunity for female entrepreneurs. The motto here is collaboration over competition and it's a very different climate from most other industries.