Local glass blowers excited for future of business as recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois

MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) -- For one Muscatine couple, the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois could mean a boom in business.

Torie and Timmie DePauw own Oxy Glass in Muscatine.

The duo works together to create blown-glass works of functional art, collector items such as ornaments and pendants, and products like glass spoon pipes and water pipes for cannabis use.

Their items are already on shelves in the Quad Cities area, including gift shops in Moline, in Cedar Rapids, and at Nature's Treatment of Illinois in Milan, which will begin selling recreational marijuana Jan. 1.

As the saying goes, "Teamwork makes the dream work," and for the DePauws, that saying stands true.

"It's been so fun learning an art that not many people know about," says Torie. "Our art is that-- it doesn't just sit on somebody's wall or on a shelf. Our art is used by people who love it every day."

The pieces are made by hand, at a business built from scratch.

The process of creating these pieces requires patience, time, skill, and liquid oxygen among other things.

"The liquid oxygen is all pressurized so once it's delivered we have a certain amount of time that we have to work if not it will off-gas into the air," Torie says.

Light the torch, start the timer, and watch the magic happen.

Torie explains, "It's a bunch of rods of glass that will be turned into tubing."

She says Timmie is the patient one of the two. His dream to begin glass blowing began while he was a student at Moline High School.

He went on to work in a factory job before pursuing his dream of glass blowing full time.

The DePauws have the process of glass blowing down to a science.

"When we do more of the small things... the pipe... I do all of the color and he does all of the shaping so it's like our own small assembly line," says Torie.

A complicated art form the pair manages to make look easy.

Torie explains the way each glass molds differently, "Clear is very easily manipulated and the color's a lot harder. Clear needs less heat to start moving and color needs a lot more. We use gravity and graphite tools to manipulate the glass."

The end products, in this case, are items people can use with cannabis products.

Torie says it's important to know the difference between local and Chinese blown-glass products. She says the Chinese-imported products are not put in a kiln, which makes them more susceptible to breaking.

She demonstrated for TV6 by banging the glass spoon pipe on the table multiple times, to which it did not.

Although the market for these products is already there, it is expected to grow even bigger as recreational marijuana consumers head to the shops in Illinois.

A demand the DePauws are hopeful will increase as recreational sales in Illinois do the same.

"We've had a lot of local support which has made it possible for us to blow glass full time," says Torie.