It’s not often that an artist has the opportunity to create something that will endure well-beyond their lifetime. Jamus Todd-Stone, glassblower and cannabis expert, had the chance to do just that, when he contributed glass-blown marbles of the planets to a scale model of the universe that was being constructed in his hometown of Bellingham. The timing was cosmically tragic. The day before the project was released to the public, Todd-Stone passed away and left Earth forever.
“While his family and loved ones will surely miss his presence, they can take solace in his creations through which his legacy will continue living on.”
The project is called “The State of The Solar System,” and features all of the planets (including Pluto) and the Sun, along one-and-a-half miles of a main downtown block in Bellingham. This particular scale solar system was unique because it was created by “five middle school students along with their science teacher and project pilot.” The artists commissioned to create the planets and sun, were Todd-Stone, who blew glass scale models of all the planets except Pluto, Blake Hudson of Hewed Designs, who welded the sun, (which in an odd twist of fate was painted black by mistake by a third-party painting company, just days before the project’s release), and Baker Williams, who blew the glass Pluto for the project.
In addition to lending his talents alongside Todd-Stone for State of the Solar System, Williams worked with him at Nebula Glass, a glass studio in Bellingham. Williams described their tight professional and personal bond, telling CULTURE about their time together at Nebula. “Jamus and I have worked standing next to each other for several hours a day, like six days a week for three-and-a-half years.” Williams also told CULTURE about “The State of the Solar System Project,” and how he became involved.
“Jamus [got the project], and since he has always been so willing to include people into things so they could have fun pretty much no matter what, as he started
making them and planning for colors, I asked if he was going to make Pluto or not? He said he wasn’t sure, so I quickly jumped to Pluto’s aid.” Williams said. “My argument was since it has been taught as a planet for so long, I believe most people alive today know it as a planet, so it deserved at least some acknowledgement. So he told me I could make Pluto! I needed his help a bit to get it perfectly round.”
“Jamus [got the project], and since he has always been so willing to include people into things so they could have fun pretty much no matter what, as he started making them and planning for colors, I asked if he was going to make Pluto or not? He said he wasn’t sure, so I quickly jumped to Pluto’s aid.”
He continued to share how extremely meticulous Todd-Stone was about making sure the planets were accurately sized and perfectly round. He even recalled Todd-Stone throwing away some planets that didn’t meet his standards, although Williams was amazed by their beauty. Todd-Stone also blew glass pipes, pendants and flower and concentrate accessories of all kinds for his business, Keep it Glassy, which he sold at a variety of music festivals all over the Pacific Northwest. Never one to say “no” to a good time, Todd-Stone lived life to the fullest before moving on to the next celestial plane on June 1 in Laos, after a long on-and-off addiction to opioids. While his family and loved ones will surely miss his presence, they can take solace in his creations through which his legacy will continue living on. The statue still has work to ensure its longevity, and a memorial has been created in his name by local nonprofit, Sustainable Connections, to help fortify and maintain the project. The sun will eventually be yellow, and some tile art will be installed at the base, which will include a secret message about Todd-Stone. Readers can find more about the memorial by visiting sustainableconnections.org/donate-in-memory.