Inside the Workshop of a Master Neon Signmaker

By Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan on at

Neon is an totally modern phenomenon; it was discovered in 1898, at the cusp of the modern age. But paradoxically, working with neon still requires an extraordinary handicraft. A new video shows us the process of blowing and moulding a (badass) neon sign courtesy of Mike Heist, a Neon artist based in Portland.

This little mini-doc was produced as a promo for a talk by the legendary Stefan Sagmeister at Portland's Design Week, which runs through this weekend. The theme of Sagmeister's talk is "Design and Happiness", and it's interesting to see Heist talk about his work through that lens — from his long, slow process to the feeling of seeing the final sign click on at the end.

Inside the Workshop of a Master Neon Signmaker

But beyond any of that, it's simply cool to see how these fragile, complicated chemical-filled objects are made. [Vimeo; Quipsologies]