History of Glasswear Studios
by Ryan Kremp, CEO

In 1998, I got a job a large production glass facility in Humboldt, CA. Later that year I met a friend that asked me to make some glass plugs. I made a few pieces and we got the idea to make glass body jewelry (which nobody was making at the time). That August I bought a small torch and started making some prototype designs. My first trip to the "big city" to sell jewelry was a complete failure. I remember spending more cash on gas than I made selling my products. I slept in my 1982 Chevy van on the streets or rest stops. I went back to the torch, worked out the kinks in my prototypes, and created the ColorFront Plug. I proceeded to create small gauge foil, talons, pinchers, and image plugs. The next time I went to the city, my jewelry was a hit and I got my lobes pierced at 8g. A few orders started coming in and I continued to make runs up to Portland, Seattle, Eugene, and south to San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz. With each shop visit I learned more and was able to improve my jewelry designs. At this time I was only making plugs up to 1/2" successfully.

In September 1999, I headed off to Inkslingers Ball Tattoo Convention in LA with some of the jewelry I had produced. I was making circular barbell weights, plugs with dichro (foil), and larger gauges. I got my tongue pierced so I could stretch it and wear glass in it. I made friends with the High Priestess crew, got some more tips and learned a lot. Piercers started referring me to their piercer friends across the country. When I went back home to visit my family, I brought jewelry to the NY/NJ/Philly areas.

In May of 2000 I saved up some money and moved the shop to Ashland, Oregon. I rented a space and built my first shop, with just 2 torches and a small desk for the computer. I hired a friend and we put out our first catalog. I came up with pebble plugs, swirl plugs, glass receiving tubes, and was now successfully making jewelry up to an inch. We still didn't have access to good black glass, so we were using a very dark cobalt blue. We found a white, but it was very expensive and difficult to work.

I attended my first Associations of Professional Piercers convention in Las Vegas in 2001, where I met a lot of piercers and jewelry makers. By 2002 I had an employee working the receiving and shipping of orders. There were 3 of us working on the torches taking turns making jewelry for orders. We were outgrowing our space, so I was on the hunt and found a larger industrial space in Ashland. It took me 6 months to build out the ventilation system, oxygen and propane plumbing, construction of the benches, electric wiring and office. We went from 200sq ft to 1000sq ft - we could now buy more torches, and hire 3 more people.

In 2004 we put out our first full sized catalog and invented Quartz Retainers, Galaxy Plugs, hanging designs, and labrets. We were filling orders, going to APP every year, and coming up with new designs. We also got a following for custom work like large nipple jewelry, conches, labrets, and tongues. Our next catalog was put out in 2007, which included many more designs like planet plugs, candy plugs, koosh plugs, double color galaxies, and nines. In 2008 we needed to expand. I rented out another 1000sq ft warehouse next door and added 5 more stations over the next year. The new space had 500 sqft of office so we moved the cramped office and added another computer station so we could process more orders. We added designs like textured plugs, mini jewelry (18-12g), glow in dark plugs, heart shape flares, marbled plugs, aquarium plugs, and blizzard plugs.

Times were changing; website and cameras were improving so I found a new website platform and updated. We put out a new catalog in 2011, with new designs like our infamous jellyfish plugs, spider plugs, flame plugs, mushroom plugs, ladybugs, bees, cupcakes, candy color colorfronts, polychrome, and borostones. I now had about 14 employees and a night shift was added. In 2014 I put out a new catalog and introduced the Colorfront Image plugs. We started making teardrop plugs, scarab plugs, teardrop galaxies, bacon n' eggs, and a few more colors and variations.

In 2016 I found this website platform and we have spent the better part of the year redoing the entire website from the ground up. We added designs like teardrop colorfront images, gaia plugs, boulder opal plugs, druzy plugs, gold and platinum image eyelets, chaos plugs, and a plethora of weights. So please, check out the new site. I feel that you will be much happier shopping now that we are mobile and tablet friendly. There is a lot of info in the FAQ section. Please register so that you get the full benefits of this amazing website platform, powered by Volusion.com.

Thank you all for your support over the past 18 years. I can't wait to make it to 20.