Funky Fresh Certo Glass

Andrew Certo is a thriving pipemaker based out of Denver, Colorado. Certo’s distinct glass designs are a product of doing what he loves and trusting the process. Now he’s living the dream; creating and traveling.


When did you start working with glass?

Andrew Certo: I got started in 2007 at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. I grew up in Pittsburgh, and my parents had heard about a glass school. I had always been a little introvert doodling in my notebooks at school, so we gave a class a try and I was hooked since then.

Photo by @pyroscopic

How did you get into making bongs?

Andrew Certo: Making glass pipes came pretty naturally with the craft itself. I was always making pipes to pay for the gas that I used. I was going to high school during the day and making pipes and little sculptures anytime I could. Other high school kids would come over for 15 minutes or so to come buy a piece from me to smoke out of. My parents knew what was up and decided not to make a big deal about it, I guess they were happy I was paying for everything myself one way or another.


How did art school influence your glass work?

Andrew Certo: Art school is a funny place. I came out of it at first thinking “Did I waste my time?” but after a year or two some clarity set in. I think it drilled into my head that I could do whatever I set my mind to through the virtue of hard work more than anything else. It taught me that if you want to accomplish something its gotta be mostly on your own shoulders. It’s also unique because it gave me a place to play around with the medium without any consequences if I messed up. This nurtured a different approach because I don’t see the material as this precious thing. Just something I enjoy using to create my concepts and ideas.


Do you think Tyler* gave you a different perspective than other pipe makers?

Andrew Certo: I think some pipe makers have a production mentality because they started in a production atmosphere; they are really technically skilled but maybe not the most creative. School put an emphasis on how to find your own voice.

**(Certo studied glass at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia.)


Who are your favorite artists?

Andrew Certo: My favorite artists are Nancy Fouts, James Turrell, Yayoi Kusama, and a handful of craftspeople.


How has social media helped your business?

Andrew Certo: Social media hasn’t just helped my business; it IS my business. I really don’t know where I would be without Instagram.


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All photos from! Follow him for updates on new work and auctions!


What’s your favorite part of what you do?

Andrew Certo: Everything! I’m able to make my ideas come to life in my own garage! The responses I get from people are definitely a big part of the whole thing too. I love it when people admire my work. I think every artist does. I don’t get upset when people don’t get a piece, but I do get excited when they do. On top of that, the self-employed life is whatever I want it to be.  Every day I wake up, and I’m able to make a fat breakfast, down some coffee, go on a bike ride and get to work. When I feel stuck and I don’t know what to make, I travel. All good all around.


What is your favorite color to work with?

Andrew Certo: Those of us in the pipe world call is ‘purple rain,’ but those outside the pipe world would call it ‘transparent purple.’ I like it because it doesn’t ever give me problems when I use it. Other than that I don’t really have much preference and it all depends on what I’m trying to make at the time.

Also, for those not familiar with glass color, we don’t use the same color names as the rest of the art world. For instance: Haterade, Dragons Blood, Serum, Potion, Syszgy, Bibidybobidy Blue, Agua Azul, etc. etc. etc.


What are your biggest selling designs?

Andrew Certo: Definitely my spray bottles and butane torch designs. The spray bottle I came up with while I was in school in 2014. I thought it was a funny little surreal piece. Just a simple idea that the smoke is shooting into your mouth when you use it.  I made a few and Germ (Philly) told me to make more. I got an order of 6 from a company Aqua Labs, and I’ve been self-employed ever since.

An expansion of that came when B Real from Cypress Hill hit me up wanted me to make him a functional butane torch. I did up some sketches and got to work. I made his as much to scale as I could, and he has the first one in the series. He was kind enough to let me run with the concept and its been a successful design as well.



Any music you listen to while working?

Andrew Certo: Anything and everything. 80s, 90s, 70s, 60s, 50s, 40s, bluegrass, country, trap, rap, metal, jazz, blues, electronic, house, the list goes on. Whatever I’m feeling at the time.


Where do you make your pieces?

Andrew Certo: I make my work in a one car garage in my backyard in Denver. It’s just me in there and its packed full of tools and equipment.


Outside of glass, do you make other things?

Andrew Certo: It’s been a while since I’ve done anything else to be honest. I would like to expand into other avenues of expression, but I don’t have the space or time at the moment. I kind of got bit with the travel bug and my free time has been taken up by seeing the world. In 2017 I went to Iceland, Scotland, Malaysia, and Japan. 2018 will be a little more mellow but includes a month in Mexico and a few months driving through Canada with a vague goal to reach Alaska.

I did make a piece that mounts on a wall that isn’t a pipe in 2017. And of course, I like to make cups and tea sets when I find the time. But the wall piece is what I’m most proud of. Its a sculpture of a bubble of water being shot by a bullet.  Also, I’m working with these two artists that call themselves ‘The Junkyard Co‘ out of California to help me with some wood components for some more wall pieces. So I am trying to use my skills I’ve learned in pipemaking to branch out into different things.



Do you have a favorite strain?

Andrew Certo: I like all kinds of weed. Gorilla Glue is a current favorite.


Have you noticed a difference between pieces you’ve made sober vs. high?

Andrew Certo: Mostly what does change is how I approach making the pieces. Sometimes I work really quickly and efficient, and other times slower. There’s a perfect balance with weed and coffee that I like to maintain when I’m really trying to get in the zone.


By Cara Anderson
IG: @carajojo