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Meet Josh Raiffe, Artist and Glassblower

by Zarah Harris April 19, 2023

Meet Josh Raiffe, Artist and Glassblower

(Source: Office Magazine)

Glass accessories shattered the internet after being seen in the hands of celebrities like Doja Cat, Tinashe and Kylie Jenner. Coperni’s A/W 2022 show featured these semi-fragile yet extremely fashionable glass bags as a result of collaboration with Heven Studio and artist, Josh Raiffe. 

Josh Raiffe is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work has been featured in well known galleries and publications like Habatat Gallery and Elle magazine. Art has been a huge part of Josh’s life since childhood. Both of his parents were artists but it was his mother who really fostered an artistic practice for him. She would put together “art days” for Josh and his siblings where they would work on projects with materials like papier-mâché or clay. 

As an adult, Josh found himself drawn to glass blowing. “It was the immediate satisfaction and exhilaration I experienced from working with glass that initially captivated me, and the supportive and accepting community kept me committed for so many years,” he shared. Josh started making glass bags with Coperni for Paris Fashion Week 2022. It was after he developed that initial design that he discovered the potential for this subject as a means for artistic and self expression. When he returned to the states he created a spikey bag with a black body and red spikes. Since then he has created many more captivating designs. “I still feel like I am only scratching the surface of the possibilities for this subject,” he said. 

Josh describes his artistic style as something that comes from within. “The origin of my designs starts with a voice or personality which elicits a strong reaction within me. I then try to craft the bag in a way to gift that voice to the wearer,” he explained. His Black Chrome bag is a design that is well-loved by our team so we couldn’t help but ask him what was the inspiration behind this work of art. 

I wanted to make a piece that was dripping with thick globs like honey or tar. I feel there is a strong sense of hopelessness but also a comfort associated with the structureless nature of fluids like that. They can’t be broken because they have nothing to break yet they are still so beautiful and sexy and stick boldly and proudly. Kind of like Gudetama or the bag guy from terminator. The first one was honey colored, then pink, then chrome. I want to do one with black drips next. The chrome drips were particularly difficult because I had to figure out a way to get the mirrorizing solution into each individual drip. The fact that drip is slang for outfit is a nice coincidence but it was not the impetus for this design,” he said.

Josh Raiffe's Black Chrome Bag

Read on for a short interview with Josh Raiffe to learn more about him and his work as an artist.

When you need a confidence boost, what do you do or wear to feel polished and on top of your game?

I try to shave 2-3 days before an event that way my beard is the perfect length.

Which colors make you feel most empowered?

It depends on my mood but I like to respond with the seasons and the weather. I really like bright colors and rainbows.

What’s your favorite way to get some R&R?

I love the Mermaid Spa in Coney Island. It’s so relaxing and a great place to take a date, friend or out of town visitor.

In addition to glass blowing, do you have any other ways you like to express your creativity?

I draw a lot. I like to make movies and animations, watercolors and I sculpt with clay or stone. I love to play music with friends. Embarrassingly, I create my own board games.  

If you had a free weekend to spend however you wanted, what hobby would you choose to indulge in?

Last year I went to Peru and stayed deep in the Amazon jungle. I found a clay deposit under a small river in the village. I harvested the clay, sculpted busts of my friends and fired them in the campfire at night. I’d love to do that again.

Name a song you have on repeat at the moment? 

It’s so embarrassing! “Made You Look” by Meghan Trainor. I love playing this and dancing around like an idiot.

What's one book, movie, or TV show that's had a big impact on your life?

“Happy People of the Taiga” by Werner Herzog.  

What are some of the most memorable moments of your artistic career thus far?  

It is so exciting to see my work on celebrities and at events like a runway show or the Grammys but I can remember I once sold a piece to a girl who loved it so much she was crying. She couldn’t afford it but because she loved it so much I gave it to her basically for free. She was so thankful and I know she will cherish it forever. To me that is more fulfilling than famous people or events. Making someone so happy.  

Some day, in 50+ years, I hope to see one of my bags selling for a high price on an antiques roadshow. Or the future equivalent of that. Probably with robots.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in art?

It’s definitely not for everyone and if you are on the fence about it I’d say try something safer and more stable. I think the people who do best as artists are the ones who don’t have a choice.  They are artists whether they like it or not. If you are an artist, you may need to use your talents to make money but make sure you recognize when you are creating to make money and when you are doing exactly what you want regardless of the financial outcome. It’s okay to mix them but make sure you carve out a sacred space for yourself untainted by financial motivations.

 Collage of photos featuring Josh Raiffe's work.