Using fire to fuel her passion, Fiona Anuweh is a renowned glass artist. Featured as one of High Times Glass Artist of the Month, Fiona's unique style and stunning work is appreciated by cannabis consumers worldwide. Learning the tools of the trade in 2011, Fiona said it was love at first sight – both for her teacher and the fire. Today, Fiona is a full-time artist. A believer in the transformational power of smoking rituals, Fiona creates ceremonial pieces inspired by her Native heritage. An artist, she develops her work in what she describes as a meditative process. Fiona hopes to inspire others to experience the life-changing benefits of plant medicines through clear-minded and purposeful intent.
In the beginning, what motivated you to first get involved with cannabis?
I was in my early twenties when I first tried cannabis. It's funny because a girlfriend and I were both in relationships that were very unsatisfying at the time. Our big jam was to smoke a bowl and talk about it. She and I both began the project of empowering ourselves to get out of those relationships that weren't really serving us.
We started claiming some of our personal power back and looking at things from a different perspective. This was a really important first step in my journey. It was something that went well beyond dating relationships and into expanded perspectives about life. Growing up, I had a family background that was very conservative. Those perspectives really stuck with me. I had a fear of intoxicants in general for a long time because of it. So being able to participate with cannabis in such a positive way was a big part of opening my perspectives. It was awesome to see that this boogie man was just – it was just a story.
That along with many other stories I had been told, cannabis wasn't something to be afraid of. My mom was really skeptical for a long time. She was afraid of cannabis from all those years of misinformation. She believed that ganja was a gateway drug and all of the other negative associations. But the proof is definitely in the pudding. Since I started smoking my life has gotten better and happier.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
There's actually so many things I enjoy! I love that I make shiny things for a living. It’s really amazing that I get to decide what I make, when I make it, and how much I want to charge for it. I have total control over my business. Because it's an online outlet, it gives me a lot of flexibility. My hours and my demand can change.
When I had my baby, I was able to turn things around in a way that fit my schedule. The things I make also have a lot of personal meaning. When I have the opportunity to talk to people that are buying my pieces in person, it's really incredible. Talking face to face with folks, they can feel the sense of ceremony in the pieces and bring it to their own smoking rituals. With my pieces, I'm inviting people to take that moment and really focus in on what they are wanting to get out of that experience. And so, I love that I'm able to do work that is actually meaningful to me as well as being a creative, satisfying, and exciting thing to do!
How would you describe your creative process?
There is a lot of trial and error. As a functional object, you can have this idea of an aesthetic you're going for but you have to get in there and smoke out of it. It comes down to putting your hands on it. For example, where do your fingers go? There are some functional considerations you have to keep in mind. On the other side, there is also a lot of visioning. I have had dreams where I have woken up and started sketching. I've also had times where I see a piece of jewelry and that sparks something. So there's definitely a lot of places I draw inspiration from.
What does a day in the life of Fiona consist of today?
Let's see, at 4:00 am today it was diaper changing and breastfeeding. But usually, my husband and I get up early and start the day. My husband loves glass as well and is a co-owner of a company. The company is a whole raw material business for glass lovers. He usually starts off his day a little earlier than me and heads to work. So, the baby and I spend our mornings together. I also have a nanny that comes now. She hangs out with the baby for a few hours while I work. Then, I have the afternoon to spend with my son.
My husband usually gets home around 5 and we spend the evening together as a family. As a family, we love being active. We live in Ashland, Oregon so there is some incredible theater happening this time of year. Like just last night we went to see The Wiz and it was beautiful! Such a theater. We definitely get out a lot. In fact, we took our baby to the Oregon Country Fair and two weeks before that, we also spent some time traveling in Eugene. We have a fairly normal day-to-day life. When we decided that we were going to go for the whole baby thing, so many people told us that once we had children, we were not going to be as active. But so far we have been and we're loving it!
Do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?
It's a lot of listening to yourself and knowing what you need. I think we all have an inner voice. When we set out and listen to that voice, all the information we need is there. Taking care of ourselves by getting enough rest, eating well – that can lead to developing your best self. I believe that wisdom of a higher power is available internally. When you learn how to clear out the outside voices that are saying things like “you're not good enough” you let go of those stories and create new ones.
What would you say to women looking to break into the industry or get involved?
If you're excited about it, that's a green light. Green means go! I feel that part of that whole internal guidance thing is excitement and passion – it means there is a light force there. That's the universe telling you "yes, do this thing." And when you have that feeling of excitement or confidence, then it will be successful. If you are moving into a new business, there's so much that it takes and there's a lot of learning that goes on. If you're not fueled by passion and excitement, the struggle can become bigger than your investments going forward. But when you pursue something out of excitement, passion, and love – then you're kind of unstoppable and the universe will be conspiring for your success.