Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Q and A with Danny Camp

Photography by Matthew Bourgeois

Q and A with Danny Camp

MCC sat down with Danny Camp at his Freeport home studio to talk glass. 

MCC: Let’s start off with some basic bio stuff. So first off, how old are you, Danny?

Danny: I am 33 years old. 

MCC: Nice.

Danny: It’s my boro (borosilicate) year, so they say.

MCC: What does that mean?

Danny: Thirty-three refers to the expansion of the sea of glass, and the glass we use is a 33 COE rating. I’ve heard it before. I remember when MTP turned 33, that was the first time I heard it. Boro year. What’s cool is this lathe I got is 33 years old, and now I have to do something interesting in my 33rd year.

MCC:That’s cool, I like that. I’m a numbers person, it’s like your golden birthday.

Danny: Yeah, yeah!

MCC: Yeah and where are you from?

Danny: I grew up in Hudson Falls, New York. It was a nice little town, village, houses all around. I grew up in town riding bikes. It is right next to Glen Falls, which is how I probably got into learning how to blow glass. Tammy Baller and Glass Manifest were around at that time. 

MCC: It’s like near Saratoga, right? 

Danny: Yeah, two exits north of Saratoga. 

MCC: So how long have you been up here?

Danny: I moved up around 2010. We moved right into Portland on Deering Street for four years, until 2014. We moved to the west side when we bought our first house. We lived there for four years and then moved to Freeport. We’ve been here nine years, going on 10. It was a great move. I didn’t expect anything besides possibly a driveway and more grass. 

MCC:It’s funny to hear that everyone is leaving. 

Danny: We both grew up in upstate New York but both worked in the city. I was like a third- generation tile, marble mechanic, and we did a lot of high rises, pools, and a lot of stuff in the city. In 2010, basically all the work dried up. The work pretty much stopped. I think that was the depression, recession, or whatever. Work slowed down, and Beth was like, “Let’s do more things with beach options or a parking space.” Beth had some friends here who were going through medical school. We visited in July, and it was perfect. From where we lived in New York City, it was about four hours from where we grew up. It’s about the same distance from our hometowns.

MCC: Where did you start working when you got to Maine?

Danny: The Royal River. I know it’s kinda a weird connection but we were interested in Portland because Beth had some friends here but also we were attending the Easy Street glass shows in Brooklyn.

MCC: I remember those actually.

Danny: And that was the coolest thing I’ve seen because I was into glass, and I never really saw it in a gallery. And we met Dough and Nicky from Hitman, and they told us about up here. They were like you should definitely work at the Royal River. Here’s Ukiah’s phone number. So when we moved here, we made it a point to stop in and say hi to them. 

MCC: Looking back at it now, is there any collab or favorite artists or a couple of people you liked working with? 

Danny: Yeah, Brian KGB, it’s cool he’s nearby. That makes it fun. Also, nowadays you want to make sure there’s some interest in it. I’m really motivated to use my time wisely, and I don’t have a lot of time to just explore and make things for fun. It has to have an end destination. It sucks because it holds you back, but I’m so motivated to have something to sell at the end of the day or end of the week. It’s too bad but it’s also really nice that our collabs sell well together. People like them; they come together nicely. If it’s a donut inside a coffee cup or a donut inside a bong or whatever we’ve done. They always sorta made sense. People have been really excited about them, and they sell. That’s the other half of the fun part is being able to collect and pay your bills.

MCC: Do you do a lot of glass shows?

Danny: Yeah, so about the glass shows, I tried to back out of them. Because I don’t feel like I have the time to really dedicate to them. My time is just being a dad and maintaining the house and all those things. So when it comes down to blow glass, I always feel like I need to make the shit that I have to sell. What was the question again? Favorite person? 

MCC: Just the people you like to collaborate with?

Danny: A fantasy collab would be JAG, Coil I’ve always really looked up to Coil. You know, Banjo, it would just be a masterpiece of some sort. I think with those people it would just be a cool vision where I could really contribute to it. Sometimes I’m less of an idea person and more of the silhouette. Like if I can think of something, or a sculpture, I can think of it and try to bring it to life, but a masterpiece, I’m not there yet. 

MCC: So talk to us about the Ballout Shelter and what that is.

Danny: The Ballout Shelter. I moved from the Royal River to down the corner because Bardbury had a studio there. I think I just had a little more freedom there, and also Steve Bates had a lathe there, so I was just really drawn to that. That was just a short-lived studio, and by then I was in the building I am at now. The Robes Gallery, that clothing place, moved out of the corner. The corner spot opened up. Before I moved to Maine, I had my own little studio spot. It wasn’t very big. So I wasn’t afraid to have my own lease and try it on my own.

I was like, I can do this. I’ve had my own studio. I started with Stephany from Exhale. She expressed interest in it, and together we had enough money to start it. Originally I was like, let’s just do this, and it’ll be the two of us. We had a nice big long bench, and it was just open and clear. After a year, I think the bills were way more than we paid before. It just made sense to try and get some help. To even it out a bit. 

I honestly think Pauly T was the first person to move in. It started as a temporary thing, and that was more or less once you’re in there you’re free to stay. I couldn’t force anyone to leave. It would have to get real bad or if they didn’t pay.

Chandler (Purdy) is someone I always wanted to blow more glass with, and he moved back this way (to Maine). He slept at my house for a week or two, I think, before he started staying somewhere, might have been the Inn at Saint John’s Street. I told him to come on in. Then Beak, Dave Buechner, always wanted to come to be part of the gang and it was the right time for him to leave the Royal River.

Bradly was a friend of Chandler and was new to the area, so it was good for him to move in. It just grew from there, and I think it was Chandler who named us.It just sort of happened. I think we need to talk about it more often and promote each other more often.

With the Ballout Shelter, I’m the dad of the group. If partying gets out of hand, they hide it from me or try to clean it up. Hopefully, I’m putting the semi-professional vibe out there to make sure it doesn’t get wrecked.

MCC: How do you like working at your new studio, where we are now?

Danny: So I feel like when I go into town, when there’s people there and a bit of cleaning to do. We are all sharing kiln space - I brought my kiln home. If I don’t enter with some structure of what I want to make in the day, sometimes I get really distracted in town. It really is just me, and I can be really focused on an assembly line and much more productive. Hopefully, I come up with new ideas.

MCC: When you say assembly line, do you mean apprentice or someone working under you?

Danny: Yeah, I can see the potential for that because I don’t have time to put everything together. If a ton of parts were made, that would be cool. I just come in and assemble things but no, not really. I’m still going to be the one to assemble everything. As far as an assembly line goes, I have enough table space where I can be like, “I’ll get a dozen mouthpieces done” and a dozen joints or whatever. As long as I stay busy and get things done, if I’m making 10 or 20 of them and then being productive. It’s moving me ahead. There’s less conversations here, and it’s just me. I typically come in and play DJ and just chill. Not many lyrics going on, just try to plan the day. If I can motivate myself to write down what I want to do, and if it’s a full day’s work, a lot of times I surprise myself and do it. 

MCC: How did you come up with Casco Bay Bongs?

Danny: Casco Bay Bongs. It seems that in the glass industry a lot of it is how popular or how put together your online presence is. I think Casco Bay Bongs just sounds official. I can imagine it on a car dealership sign or something. I think I spoke to someone once about separating yourself with product lines and driving them to be popular and maybe not because it’s made by you. I had the idea, so I just started the Instagram. With buoys, I’ve always liked buoys. I’ve done some buoy pendants and stuff like that.It’s just an obvious bong. I was trying to tie it into Maine. I thought that buoy bongs by Danny Camp would be more universal. If I take this to a trade show, do I want to call them Casco Bay Bongs? So I’m not sure if it was the best idea. Maybe not the greatest decision.

MCC: Alright, who is your favorite grower? 

Danny: Van’s weed. Spruce Hill Farm. I’m throwing that one out there because it’s been my favorite ever since I moved here. I don’t get it that often anymore, since I started to grow outdoors to be as cheap as possible. I just smoke my own scraggly outdoor all year or whatever.

MCC: What strains did you like from those guys?

Danny: From Van  - Trainwreck was one he always had but I don’t think it was a favorite. What other strains did he have? I think the ChemAfgani was one he did. Sour Diesel I think is probably my favorite weed. I don’t really see Sour Diesel that much nowadays. Nick Dude was the Sour Diesel guy.

MCC: So what do you normally smoke? Hash or flower or a mixture?

Danny: I went to dabs about a month ago because I ran out of my homegrown weed. I had some dabs that were kicked down or some that I processed. It was like shatter from two years ago. It was great because I could just peel it or snap it and handle it with my fingers. I had a little tiny sand art rig I was using for that. But mostly it’s just weed. The dabs I really cut back on. With the dabs, I don’t have much energy for the end of the day, and by the time dinner time comes around. I have no motivation to continue and work. Now I’m onto the flower. It’s either a oney or like it’s now just a bong. It’s one or the other. Mostly a oney if I’m traveling.

About the vape, I really don’t like to vape, and I’m not about it anymore. My favorite vape is your vape, the vape that I didn’t have to buy. 

MCC: You said you were growing a little bit. How did your season go? 

Danny: I’m totally in the learning, learning stages. My season went well, and the plants probably grew too tall. I had one plant that I actually tied down like they say you’re supposed to tie them to the ground. That one was my favorite. It didn’t get over three or four feet tall. There wasn’t any bud rot; it was like a little bush.

They were just so big, maybe I cut down some of them too early. I was afraid they were becoming too rotted. It’s like what the shit? But I really enjoyed it. I love that I’m not breaking the law. I do it privately,so my neighbors aren’t involved. I don’t hide it from my child, she knows they’re around, but she doesn’t what it is. I tell her it’s flowers, and we dry them out to save or sell. 

MCC: Did you have anything you really wanted to talk about?

Danny: I don’t want to get into that. I do but I don’t because I feel like that’s where the art struggles. So I have to pay so many bills. I feel like I don’t have time to just experiment like I would love to. My head moves on from one thing. I’ll be doing the buoy for one month and go to the next thing,which is like a blessing and a curse. It’s nice to want to do other things but you have to stick with things in order for it to become a product. It looks like that now with the buoy bongs. Everyone loves them.