When interviewing Peter Dobson, Founder of Pete's Glasses, I was served a flavoursome cocktail of ethical designer, environmental advocate and beer connoisseur with a dash of larrikin humour.
I invite you to drink in our conversation about this eclectic range of upcycled glassware made with love and awesomeness.
Q. What drove you to create Pete’s Glasses?
What would have been a marvel of engineering a few hundred years ago is now binned without a thought. Personally, I’m attached to my beer bottles. Also, turning something as unattractive as a VB stubby into a viable piece of crockery is pleasant.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle are what we all should be aiming for, in that order. I certainly won’t be reducing anyone’s beer consumption but if I can help reuse some of the glasses left over from a night out I’ll consider it a job well done.
Q. How are your methods and materials contributing to a more sustainable environment?
Well first off they are all hand made, without any electric tools. It’s not only an environmental thing, I just think they look and feel better when done with a bit of care. And also I don’t own any electric tools so it works out nicely.
I’ve seen artists use huge amounts of bottled gas heating and deforming just a few glasses, then turn around and say it's environmentally friendly. That’s like painting your Hummer green because you once rode a bike.
Q. Which ethical designers are inspiring you right now?
&company are doing some great things here in Sydney!
Q. What makes glass such a special material to use?
Perhaps its just an alco-Pavlovian response but there is something about the clinking of glass that I find appealing. There must be something to it, because despite the awful mess when a glass breaks, and all the advances in plastics, we're still using glass in bars, pubs and clubs, as well as our homes.
Q. Do you believe that Australians are becoming more conscious of their ecological footprints?
I think they are, but often skipping the harder parts. Manufacture and transport are such a huge part of the carbon footprint of a product, but it barely gets a mention outside of the ‘local food’ industry. The biggest real change we could make to our footprints is just to fix something that’s broken once in a while.
Q. What is one of the most personally rewarding pieces you've ever produced?
Early on I realised that it wasn't the production of the pieces that I found most rewarding, it was watching that moment of realisation on the face of people that saw the end result. Its the same reaction almost every time, 'they're not just great glasses they are made from bottles!'.
Q. What does the future hold for Pete’s Glasses?
Probably a drink or two, then I’ll open up a factory in China to custom manufacture the bottles from recycled unicorn horns.
You can also connect with Pete's Glasses via Facebook