Thursday, March 24th, 2016...10:00 am

“Be the envy of your friends and neighbors”

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


The Santo Domingo collection contains plenty of material about various smoking paraphernalia, but Build This Bong has some extremely creative diagrams for building said paraphernalia. Taking a light hearted yet technical approach to the subject, author and illustrator Randy Stratton teaches readers of varying skill levels how to build bongs and hookahs from common household object like apples and cantaloupes to more complicated builds using hardware store supplies and Plexiglas.


Homemade drug paraphernalia has been a common staple in drug cultures around the world, and Stratton hones in on this with a discussion and design for a bamboo bong like those “first encountered in Vietnam in the late 60s and early 70s.” Bongs were introduced to America through the cultural exchange which occurred during the Vietnam War, the name evolving from the Thai word “bhang.” The artistic culture around bong and hookah design has evolved since their introduction to the United States, with designs including pop culture signifiers and advanced glass blowing techniques transferring their significance into the art world. Some of these functional art pieces sell for thousands of dollars.


Depicted here are some of Stratton’s most ambitious creations for beginners, including bong designs using a honey bear, a rubber ducky, a coconut, and a tea kettle.


To learn more, Build This Bong can be found in Widener’s collection: San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2007.

Thanks to Irina Rogova, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

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