Add another pro to the list of marijauna legalization: more artists, designers and brands delving into the world of pipe making, thankfully giving us more aesthetically pleasing pieces. Over the past year, I’ve sought out smoking devices with style and have discovered everything from a $1,000 limited-edition glass bong by Zach Puchowitz to a smokable sparrow.
When I laid my eyes upon the newish Cosmic J line of pipes, I was attracted — and not just for their phallic likeness. Finished in a platinum mirrored glaze, the look is sleek and chic, kept safe in the boldly stamped burlap drawstring bag it arrives in. I could instantly tell its creator just knows good design.
Ceramicist Jim Schatz is already regarded for his beloved J Schatz line of housewares — funky bird feeders and sculptural coffeemakers included. After a decade in New York City, Schatz relocated to Los Angeles last summer for a lower-key lifestyle, warmer weather and laxer marijuana laws.
As pot smokers, Schatz and his design partner/financé Peter Souza started experimenting with some of the shapes they already were using for hooks and knobs, tweaking and testing each one to see what worked best.
“Just being in California — somewhere that is so open to people enjoying marijuana — allowed us to be much more creative than we have been in the past,” Schatz says. “And with laws changing around the rest of the country, we thought it was the perfect time to get involved too.”
Cosmic J officially launched in January complete with 13 different styles — all handcrafted in their Boyle Heights studio — an up-and-coming artist enclave just east of Downtown LA. The star of the collection is of course the “Barbarella” — named after the 1968 classic film that inspired the stoneware line in the first place.
As to their resemblance to the male member? “It wasn’t really intentional. But yes, the innuendo is definitely there,” Schatz says. “Our pipes are the perfect thing to put your mouth on!”
When I put my lips on the mouthpiece, it felt … different. It felt slightly sensual. The perfectly molded groove where the carburetor lies for the thumb makes it easy and comfortable to hold.
“Barbarella” weighs 3 ounces and measures a curvy 2 inches high and 3 ¼ inches long. The bowl is smaller than most, giving about three standard size hits. But the draw chamber is larger than the norm, making for a smoother smoke. Standing on its own with exposed stone feet on the base, one etched with Cosmic J., it’s beautiful enough to leave out on display and sure to spark conversation. Souza recommends cleaning on a weekly basis using pipe cleaning solution. “They’re durable enough to also run under hot water, air dry topside down and keep shiny with Windex more frequently,” he says.
There is a con, though: the pin-size chamber hole stops hitting as hard after a few uses and gets clogged easily. However, Schatz promises they’ve already made the fix, enlarging it slightly along with the bowl size. “Barbarella” is almost a perfect 10.