Alchemy Behind Handcrafted Glass Toys

By: Abby DivDate: July 6, 2020

Abigail Div
With me today to talk about the world of glass ware is creator and founder of Sex Objects, Nateronic welcome!

Nate Spectacular
Hey, Abigail, how you doing?

Abigail Div
I'm doing well and welcome to the sex labs adult product podcast.

Nate Spectacular
Excellent. Thanks for having me.

Abigail Div
Oh, wonderful. Well, to start with, I thought we discuss who you are and why you're a great person to talk to about the custom craft world of glass sex toys. So to begin with, let's hear about your background and glass dildos, butt plugs, chain sex, toys, etc.

Nate Spectacular
Great. Yeah, thanks. I love talking about

Abigail Div
So let's go into like, how did you get started with making glass sex toys?

Nate Spectacular
Well, that's a funny story. I learned how to make glass by learning to make pipes and a friend of mine taught me how to make pipes. I opened a little shop in Bushwick. And I had a few pieces of solid glass rod sitting around my studio. I was like, What do I do with this? So I made a dildo. And that never ended up being posted online. Because the day I made it or the day I took it out of the oven and had it annealed properly, it sold to someone who was visiting my shop, and I realized like, I, it was a little more challenging to sell pipes. But instantly, I had something that sold like right off the bat. And I also really enjoyed the concept of it. The idea of making something that is for sexual use or sexuality. And also, it was a very artful piece, it didn't necessarily look like a dildo. And but it was obvious if you really looked at it what it was for, but I used silver and glass and really tried to make something that was a unique art object, but also had kind of sexual overtones. And it worked, it sold and that got the gears of my mind going. And I wanted to make more. So I slowly started to make more and more of these objects and then realized that that was something that I really wanted to focus on. So now I make a few pipes every now and again, but mostly I make sex objects.

Abigail Div
Wonderful. Yeah, I will add the note that I first saw these creations, it was immediately curious about how they were made. They definitely make you look twice at just exactly what it is that you're looking at their parts sculpture part artifact and partially something you find out of a cabinet of curiosities, that illuminates in direct sunlight where a lot of the products are also shot. Wonderful. Well, let's continue then on to our first topic, mate when it comes to shopping for the last sex toys. There are a lot of options out there. Can you tell me in general what it is that you look for in one what sort of features and is there such a thing as a quote, beginner's sex toy?

Nate Spectacular
Features, well, I don't really know because I make my own sex toys for out of my out of my imagination. So if I was going to say, What's like a dildo for a beginner to use, I would probably say, most people are gonna want to start exploring with like a rubber dildo that they get at a sex shop or at a porn store. Or you can buy them online for 20 bucks, something like that. But glassware is a little bit higher up like it's a little bit higher level of sophistication. I like to say the glasses for people who really know what they want. So, by the time that you get to the glass, you've probably already explored all kinds of sexual play BDSM other aspects of sexuality? Auto eroticism, what have you. But the things that really excite me about glass are the way that it looks. Glass looks best in light. It catches the light beautifully. And it's one of the things that when you're playing with glass, it's great to do with a, with a friend with a partner, because it's fun to watch. And the same may be true with other sex toys, but it's not quite as spectacular. With other sex toys. You might want to have the lights on, you might want to have do it in the sunshine. You know, it's something that there's a kind of like voyeuristic thrill that you're going to get. From glass you're not going to get from any other plastic or latex sex toys, you might get it from these steel ones. I've seen these steel, stainless steel builders that are just gorgeous. A glass is pretty much the only thing that has that kind of effect. But if you were going to go if you're a beginner that wants to get a sex toy, a glass sex toy, you should start with something by Natetronic spectacular. Because the ones that I make are fairly accessible. I make dildos with handles, so you can use them on yourself and I make dildos with curves, the curves and a handle serve different purposes. And I think we're going to talk about that a little later. But you can, as a beginner working with playing with glass, I can I have things in my online shop in my Etsy shop, that would be great for you. If you're a little more advanced and you have some ideas, you can go online and message me and tell me what it is that you're interested in. And I can give you some feedback, we can go back and forth until you until you arrive at what it is that you'd like. And then I can go in the shop and fabricate that.

Abigail Div
Wonderful. Well, so when you're specifically looking then at the glass that you're using, or looking to purchase, there seems to be a lot of options on the market. Is there a specific type of glass that you should look for when looking at glass toys.

Nate Spectacular
Good point. One thing glass should always if you're making if you're gonna use it for sex, you want to use glass dildos that are made with Boris silicate or a silicate glass is a certain chemical formula. There's a brand name called Pyrex that everybody is familiar with because the baking pans that you bake cakes with them. You have one of these big glass measuring cups. Probably made with Pyrex, it's solid, you can put it in the microwave can put it in the oven. If you drop it, it's not gonna break. They're good for lots of different uses or facilitate. It is that kind of glass Pyrex is a brand name of Boris silica glass. So if you're buying a dildo you don't want it to be made with soft glass that's the kind of glass that your cups and glasses are made or the windows in your house soft glass not tempered breaks easily. If you heat it up and cool it could break just break and it splinters it could be very dangerous or so it could glass is very rugged. I you know I have a joke. Terrible joke but I'll tell it anyway that because people ask me all the time, it's safe to use. Can you put this inside of you? And I tell them listen, I could bludgeoned you to death with this glass dildo and it's not going to break even with that much force and I hope you're not going to use this, I'd have to be holding one up, I hope you're not going to use one of my dildos. That hard on anybody's genitals, because that would just be harsh, but they're that strong. You're not going to hurt, they're not gonna break. Um, I mean, if you dropped it on concrete, probably not gonna break, but it might become a little weakened, it might get invisible fissures. So eventually it could crack. So if you ever dropped it on concrete, I would advise not to use it again. But you could, in fact, if you buy one of mine, and you drop it on some concrete, you know, for 20 bucks, and send it back to me, and I'll reheat it and reinstall it. It'll be just like a brand new piece. And you won't have any problems. You won't ever have to worry about it. Just cracking or breaking, it's unlikely that that would ever happen. If you dropped it on a wood floor, you're gonna be fine. But on a concrete floor might cause some, some it might become weakened. But that rarely ever happens most people just drop them on their bed. But if you're playing in the bathtub or something like that, you drop it in the shower could you could cause it to become slightly and it's not gonna probably wouldn't break or shatter. That's the thing. The border silicate is really strong, but what could happen is it could get invisible weakness. So, there's a tool it's called a spectrometer and one of the things I've seen an actual article online that talks about different sex toys and glass sex toys in particular. And whether they're safe or not. The spectrometer is a tool that allows you to look at the glass and see its uniformity. So when glass has been annealed, which is you take the finished piece, and you put it in an oven, and you bring it up to 1050 degrees, and you hold it there for one hour and aligns all of the molecules so they're interlocking and it makes a really strong piece. That's called tempered glass. So when the glasses been tempered, it becomes very strong and I temper all my glass, but a lot of sex toys that are on the market. Glass sex objects are not sex objects excuse me, glass sex toys, dildos. Butt plugs, are not necessarily tempered.

spectrometer (also known as a polarimeter or a polariscope)

Abigail Div
Certainly and for the general audience, who I don't think has a spectrometer on hand with them, very rarely very rare. Save this save article that has more details about how to test there is a surprising lack of information about how to choose and how glass toys are being made, which is, as you rightly say, an art form in its own right. And your pieces are created in studio here in New York City, where with fire and glass you shape, manipulate proportion of your sex objects. But I'm sure that the general public doesn't know what is the difference between a hand blown versus a molded toy. How do you choose between them?

Nate Spectacular
Well, none of my pieces are really hand blown. Like when I make pipes, I use hollow pieces of tubing, and then I blow the shapes out, but they're hollow. So when I make a dildo, I get solid pieces of rod. And then I connect other rods onto those and then I shape it, hold it in the fire and shape it and push and pull. So it's kind of molded by hand and gravity by force. And by gravity, I don't have a mold. I don't like put it inside of a molded shape and then mold it and pull it out. People may do that. I don't know whether that's a common thing. I don't know whether that's something that other companies do, whether they design a mold, and then they just fill the mold with glass, and then just one after the other, and they're all identical. I've seen video of other people in their shops making borrow dildos. And they're doing roughly the same kinds of things that I'm doing. I mean, it's a competitive field like all fields are, but it's not super there's, I think there's probably more demand and there is dildos, like, they're probably more people that want them than there are people making them. As part of the reason I got interested in making dildos also was because there are just thousands of people making amazing hand blown pipes and also, there's like a margin. There are people that are just making really cheap, fast things that you can buy on the street in New York City or at a bodega. And the field is so competitive that it's really tough to stand out. But if you look for glass sex toys, you get a few big manufacturers and then you get a lot of people that are just making them like handcrafted artisan made objects. But I have a feeling it's probably like in the hundreds, like actual people that are making them. So it's not like there's just thousands of people out there and just fighting for your business. There's a few people who are making amazing things that are welcoming whatever customers they can find, and really are interested in exchanging information, and most of them take a lot of pride in what they do. Particularly the people that are making handmade items definitely take a lot of pride in what they do and they like to discuss their process and techniques and also extol upon the safety that they're putting into their items.

Abigail Div
I mean, I lad that I have a few handful of custom blown, or rather molded toys in my cabinet from many different provinces, a lot of which are unidentifiable, because as you were saying they are custom made, so they do not have a place of origin or a manufacturer's stamp on top of them. And some of them look fairly standard and dimensions to the extent that they may have been mass produced and others have touches on them that show that although they're imperfect, they are handmade part of the beauty of something that has been crafted versus mass produced, so I'll throw you a curveball need in terms of design, your dildos, butt plugs and chains. Take the typical dimensions of a sex class toy and take it to a different level of eccentricity. sex objects take some unconventional shapes, octagonal tubes that reflect light and a myriad of different directions bulbous ended nubs long winded pipe like shafts. So my question for you is why are glass dildos always the same size?

Nate Spectacular
Wow. I don't really know. I think you know, well, when I first started making sex toys, the one I had a tiny little torch I was making them with a small, it's called a national like a torch that you would use to like do some welding, like a hand torch, and I set it up so I could clamp it to a table and make pipes in it. But it was not like when I go to a shop now I rent a torch, and I rent like a really nice something called a Carlisle, which has multiple flames, like two different flames that combine and you can turn one on, you can get real detailed and you can get really big flame. So you can heat a lot of the object. And I remember this girl telling me, I like your sex toys, but they're not the big. She's like, I want something that big. And I was like, okay, that's cool. I'm definitely going to take that into consideration. I didn't have the tools to make a big dildo. Like, I remember the biggest one that I made, it took me two days and I had to do it in two pieces and then fuse them together. And it was so frustrating because I really came close to breaking it several times, and then other ones that I made would just break. So I think that one of the things is that, you know, people want to go for this specific porn star cock sized dildo with glass. They want something that's a big object. And one of the things about making glass is that you start with a rod, you buy a glass rod, the rods, depending on the thickness, run up from you know, reasonable price up to quite expensive, and they get really expensive, fast as they get big. Start with an inch, it's affordable. You want to get to like two inches, it's going to cost you a pretty penny. And on top of that it's going to be really hard to work with. So I think that there's a few limitations that kind of make everything fit into a certain set of parameters. One is manufacturing costs, the cost of materials, two is heating glass in a torch, you had certain limitations. So there's only you can only work with such a certain amount of size before it gets to where it starts breaking on you. Or, I mean breaking is the main thing because if you heat up one part of it and the other part is cold weather too are converging, you might get a crack. So I think that also, a lot of them are made on a lathe. So they come up with a size and user feedback or like they're trying to accommodate the market. People want a certain size, and they want certain attributes. And so the parameters of like, this is how big you can make it. versus this is what people want, creates somewhere in between roughly the same size. Me personally, I don't make glass dildos that look like dicks. I just make art objects that you can use for orgasmic purposes. It's obvious that it is a dildo when you look at it, but I don't try and replicate like make it penis shaped or put you know like a head or scan or for skin or or you know, anything that really resembles you know a cock you can get those with the latex and rubber dildos. They have them that look just like Cox I see him in the head or in the sex shops that look more like you know a glass penis. But I've never really wanted to make anything like that. Um, and it may just be because I just want to make an art object or it may just be that, you know, when I'm working in a facility where there's lots of other people working on things I don't want to be making glass decks. I don't know. Maybe it's embarrassment. Probably not because I like talking about it. But I've never really had an inclination to make something that looks like a penis. And, is even shaped like a penis. So I guess the the follow to that is how did you actually arrive at the current shape that you use be that if that is a dagger shape that you're currently designing, or if you're developing another set of less conventional shapes, since everything that you make is one of a kind, I started making the dagger shape a straight dildo with a head and a handle. And, you know, mainly because that was like something that I could do pretty easily that that I could make pretty easily with the tools that I had. And then when I tried them out, they weren't great. And I tried making a curved one right off the bat and it just kind of fell apart and I went to one of the sex shops where you can buy my stuff in Brooklyn. I got to plug it real quick Shag to Williamsburg. And she has a wide variety of sex, sex stuff, great shop, but she has a bunch of my dildos for sale. So you can buy them online but you can also buy them in a brick and mortar shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. So, when I first went to her, I pulled out a suitcase and I pulled all my stuff out and she said, interesting items, try something with a curve. And she's like, come back a little while and see what develops. So, several years went by before I went back to her and when I finally started getting into like, curve shapes. I was like, You know what, I'm gonna go back and show this lady my new stuff. And at the time when I first started making them I was doing it with colored glass and lots of silver and different shapes and they were a lot different than what I'm doing now. When I went back just a few months ago, she responded favorably, and really like a lot of objects that I had now I'm working entirely in clear glass. I'm doing a lot of pieces that have curved dildo shafts, and a lot of different shapes. And that's part of the reason I guess that I arrived in bad shape. So my original dagger shape was, you know, ceremonious you know, as I titled one of my pieces, loves We dagger. And it was like it's something you use on somebody else. And you know it, it resembled an a knife, which conjures up all kinds of like, you know, dark imagery, but it's a beautiful bright piece and design not for darkness, but exploring sexuality and orgasmic delight, which is, in my opinion, very positive. But I like to play with ideas when I'm making the descriptions. I like to write stories or come up with fanciful, descriptive ideas about what you can do with them are just fantastic imagery. So then I get into the curb shame. And that seemed to be really quite good at dates, those pieces sold very quickly. And then the other thing I started doing was I made a bunch of buck plugs. But then I came up with this idea of like a buck plug that was round on both ends. And you could use it as a lens. So I call it the looking glass. So it's like a lens on both ends. And you can, like, hear inside someone's inside. So you gotta get a light. You can get some finger lights or something like that you can illuminate their insides if you're, like interested in some logical fetishism or something like that. But I wrote that in the, in the description. And just kind of as a joke, I thought it was funny. But they sold all sold within like, you know, a month or two like, bam, bam, bam, bam, every one of my pieces sold. I was like, wow, this is something I got to keep doing because all my other pieces sit on the shelf for months and months and months and sometimes over a year, sometimes several years without sewing and these ones are just jumping off the shelf. And people are writing reviews like Oh, I love it. Oh, it's so great. What a great idea. And so I was like, Alright, my sense of humor is paying off, you know, but I like to have oh, kind of like silliness to it. You know?

Abigail Div
Well, it sounds like your use of unconventional shapes is really paying off if you will. For you taking a look at the other orifice let's talk about butt plugs. It is one of your most popular sellers, and somewhat touchy subject also as there are definitely different camps in terms of preferences for things that go anywhere near your derriere. Is it just me or is it almost impossible to find a butt plug that you can wear outside of the bedroom? They either have bases that you can't sit down on, or they have these huge oblong shafts that make it impossible to put on a pair of jeans or anything else for that matter. Is there a way to make a plug wearable?

Nate Spectacular
Funny because people write about this in the reviews and I've never really considered making a buck wearable. Although I've made the tails like a butt plug with like a pump palm kind of tail or like a whip. Flogger tail you could wear around, but I would imagine that most people would wear, just wear it around the house and otherwise be naked for cosplay or whatever kind of exploration they like. But I have gotten some comments. And, you know, people write correspondence to me, but also, just in the comments to my page that people like to wear the buck all day. And I couldn't even imagine this at first and I had to give it some consideration. I thought, wow. You know, people like to put hearing in their ears, you know, and some people pierced their tongues, and were like a stud in their tongue and the earrings in the pierce the tongue piercings change the energetic flow of your body's energy. And so I can imagine that a butt plug could do the same thing. It's like having a you have a piercing you were born with and you just fill it and then it changes like kind of the way you hold your posture or you know, it's a myriad of different possibilities here that it could affect. And some people find that very desirable. So my Looking Glass up plugs, you might be able to wear this all day. And the a lot of the ones that I make with a bass bass might be a little bit pick to that. But you can also wear I mean I've I have made a few that have like different shape. So, and this is something that I should probably explore a little bit more like. I mean, this is asking this question brings us up as something I should consider for the next round of bugs that I make that maybe I should start taking that into consideration as something that people might want like an even market it it's that is above plug for all day you. Well, you'd have your first customer here, certainly I can tell you the number of plugs that I've seen on the market or personally owned. None of them are something that you can wear around the house, if you will casually or even, dare I say out on everyday life activities. So I think there's something there to explore further. Definitely right. Yeah, glad you're here and I'll put that on the list because right now, the quarantine has really depleted my supplies. I have not been able to make things for months. But people have still been buying stuff. So I have very little left in my shop right now, but I hope to replenish that very soon.

Abigail Div
Ah, well that's that's a perfect segue as lastly, I'd like to delve into actually how do you make a statement online sex objects is available on both Etsy and on your website. But there are hundreds if not thousands of dildos on the market, as you said earlier, some of better and some have lesser quality, but being online, coupled with the innovations of professional editing. And the innovations of tech and marketing have meant that products can be blended, if you will, with one another very easily and it's very hard to distinguish something that's custom crafted and expert quality to something that is being mass produced. And some of these things will look exactly identical, which makes the decision of how and where to buy your products increasingly more difficult. So how would you suggest standing apart online?

Nate Spectacular
Well, it's a good question. You know, it's one that I'm always considering. I try and make my website look sophisticated and upscale. I don't I you know, I'm a designer, both graphic designer, as well as a designer of object. So I'm thinking of what the clientele what's going to appeal to the clientele that I am seeking. And I don't ever make things that look like dick. I don't market them an overtly sexual way. But I do try and use tasteful design, color palette and just imagery to market my sex toys, all my photographs are taken using natural light sunlight. And most of the objects in my current catalog have been taken in natural light on a piece of plain, untreated wood. So it's a very natural effect. And it doesn't try to emphasize like so many sex objects or sex toys rather, I go in to try and provoke sexuality by showing naked ladies or using garish colors, which don't get me wrong. I like all this thing. I find that and part of it was that when I first started doing this, I was like, Where do I want to sell my sex toys. I went to some of the local sex shops that, you know, so mass produced simulacra. And they might have lots of porno BDSM cosplay things. And I really felt like wow, this is not going to be the niche where I sell my stuff because there's a lot of stuff that's made in China and sold really cheap. And for people who just kind of want to play with it and experiment, and I went to this place, it's no longer in business, but really upscale plays down in lower Manhattan called Kiki de Montparnasse, and they went out of business, but I went in there and brought a bunch of stuff. And the woman who is the buyer told me, I like these they're very interesting. They don't really look like dildos or you know, glasses. But all of our customers are looking for really specific things. They want things with black and gold. Okay, so appealing to this kind of real upscale clientele, this color palette. And so I really liked the design of their shop It was very sexy but also very tasteful. A lot of the lingerie that they had there Same deal and they did have a few sex toys and I took note of everything they had on the show. And this was when I was first getting started. So she said come back when you have some stuff like that, but they went out of business by then but I had already taken the cues and I kind of was like there's, you know that place is going away. There's a market for this tasteful upscale design and so that's what I'm trying to appeal to. I don't want to make things that are like, you know, I mean, I've thought of trying to send them to porn stars, or porno directors to see whether they would want to feature some of my objects in their films, you know, just so I can get some notoriety. And I'm definitely not opposed to that. But I'm a little bit more interested in like, things that have a kind of tasteful upscale quality to them. So people are, you know, they feel like by buying this or investing in an art object, I guess the answer to your question is that, what do I do to stand out? You know, I think I just, I don't do too much. I just make what I like. And I think that it's different from people who are trying to appeal to a kind of pornographic sensibility, and, you know, they want to make things that are hot that are going to it's unmistakable. You cannot help but be aroused in the presence of this item. But it's not intellectually arousing in any way. It's just instant gratification. And so I kind of try to make something that will appeal to your sensibilities, both intellectually as well.