Blown-Out Pipes: Artist Expands Everyday Plastic Tubes to Create Vases

Plastic piping original mass-produced to carry water from place to place has found a likewise liquid-related second life in the form of flower-holding vessels, blown out like glass into fresh new shapes.

Adapting traditional glass-blowing techniques, Japanese artist Kodai Iwamoto has created a series of signature vases that still show elements of their past lives, including production stamps. The above video illustrates the creative process.

The expansion process also naturally deforms these stamps as well as the coloration of the pipes, creating a variety of hues and details showing the origin of each piece. Custom effects, like vertical ridges, can be achieved by creating slatted formwork (then sliding the tube inside, so when it deforms its shape is informed by the slats).

This ‘Ex-Portation’ series explores the intersection of everyday object reuse and handicraft, turning cheap and available materials toward a new beautiful and functional purpose.

More about the process: “by applying air pressure into a closed pipe,” the artist “then slowly warmed the pipe with a heater to make it soft and moldable. As with glass blowing, many factors such as the shape of the mold, air-pressure and the speed of heating the pipe’s surface affect the shape of an object.”

The whole process is remarkably straightforward, which is part of its beauty — ordinary people can follow this artist’s lead and use simple technology to craft similar works from local scraps.