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Peace Lily Toys: Making Glass Sexy Again

When you think of sex toys, what comes to mind? Silicone perhaps. Maybe rabbits or silver bullets. Possibly battery-operated devices and buzzing. But glass? That may not be an obvious...

When you think of sex toys, what comes to mind? Silicone perhaps. Maybe rabbits or silver bullets. Possibly battery-operated devices and buzzing.

But glass? That may not be an obvious association.

Claire Anderson and Grace Wardlaw of Peace Lily Toys want to change that, one hand-blown glass dildo at a time.

We recently spoke with these glass-blowing experts about their work as artists, business owners, and sex-positive entrepreneurs. After forging a fast friendship at Sheridan College, where they both studied glass blowing, Claire and Grace maintained their connection and ultimately joined forces to create Peace Lily Toys, their sex-toy business based in Hamilton, Ontario.

Since 2020, when they launched their business, these friends have created, sold, and marketed their handmade glass products while working on their own projects and teaching glass-blowing classes.

While they complement one another, each bringing their own strengths and approaches to their craft and company, these two are also so in sync that they occasionally finish each other’s sentences and seamlessly build on one another’s ideas and anecdotes. Their love for their work, products, each other, and sex in general is evident in each response about their life, craft, and close bond.

The collective starting point was a no-brainer: exes and ending past relationships as an impetus that led to Peace Lily. They answered nearly in unison and kicked off a conversation that maintained a consistent flow evident in any simpatico connection. 

How did you conceive the idea for Peace Lily?

Claire: Grace and I both got out of difficult relationships and were living in different countries. We’ve been friends since college, but followed separate paths. I had a glass-blowing studio and business at that time with my ex-husband and thought, “What am I going to do now?” I had nothing, and Grace found a studio space and invited me. It all happened fast, but we were determined to grow and heal after our break ups. Peace Lily and our separate artworks were cathartic. We were teaching each other how to love and nurture and be supportive of each other in a healthier way. Our boundaryless friendship helps too. Glass, sex, friendship, flowers—what more could you ask for?

Grace: We separately were talking about how we wanted to start a toy business, and I looked at Claire and said, “We should do it together because I don’t want to compete against my best friend.” The studio started shortly afterward. We both have ho natures that brought us together, so it just made sense. It combined my great loves.  


What inspired the name Peace Lily?

Grace: After meeting Claire in college for glass blowing, I worked for a florist in America and brought that inspiration to Peace Lily. The name and its connection to flowers is symbolic of both the penis and the vagina. All of our designs are inspired by floral anatomy, and is commentary on that natural, reproductive phenomenon. Claire taught me how make glass on a new level, in terms of production and consistency. That helped shape me as a person and make me a better artist.

Claire: Grace had Peace Lily in mind for a business name. We came at this with Grace working heavily with flowers, and I was working a lot with production glass blowing and making, and running a business. Our skill sets naturally came together in this great way to start this project. And we opened right around the time Covid hit, and I remember joking that everyone was stuck at home jerking off anyway.

How have your roles evolved since starting this business?

Claire: We try to share a lot. Grace is the relentless quality person who naturally thinks quite conceptually. Many of the ideas originate with her. She is iconic on the torch, which is desk mounted and fired with oxygen and propane. She works with rods of glass, and melts and shapes it that way. I’m better in the hot shop, which involves a lot of body movements and big heating chambers, and I’m taking hot glass out of a furnace. Typically, the plugs are made with the torch, and the dildos are the hot shop. We’re also trying to mix it up more now. It’s a constant molding together, and is about our love for each other. 

Grace: We use different techniques. I’m a flame worker, and Claire works on a larger scale, so she makes the bigger toys. The torch is more of a scientific style and more exact. In the hot shop, you can get bigger pieces of glass and get them hotter faster. Whereas on the torch, I do the smaller pieces, like the daisy and the mushroom, which have finer details.

Do you feel like this is still a taboo product or subject, even in Canada in 2024, or is it more mainstream?

Claire: It’s getting better in that people are able to have more open conversations, but we’re also living in this echo chamber of artists and glass blowers and people already in this sex-positive community. Every time we do a show that isn’t sex- or queer-specific, we get a jolt of how repressed people are. We’ve seen women clutch their children, or grown adults walk up and realize we have sex toys on the table, then giggle and run away.

We’re currently doing a business mentorship program, and the mentors, who are all cis white men, can’t handle it. They have a hard time wrapping their heads around what we do. When we tell these guys we make sex toys, there is some clenching and chuckling. Canada is so polite, and there’s definitely a polite thing happening in these exchanges. It’s the same in the US, and maybe even worse in some parts.

Peace Lily x T&S:

Let your inner Heroine come (pun intended) to save the day

What have been some of the hurdles in creating Peace Lily?

Claire: Scalability. Growing is a challenge because of how niche we are. Also, the hurdle of societal repression gets to me sometimes. We keep coming back to this conversation of what Peace Lily really means, what we want for it, how we want to grow it, and it keeps coming back to the fact that we both want to be primarily artists. Peace Lily is a fun way for us to express our personalities. We both tend to do things 110%, so it’s interesting navigating our art careers and the Peace Lily business.

Grace: Yes, managing the facets of our work-life balance. My biggest hurdle has been trying to give my all to everything in my life. My work is a combo of this business and my art, and I’m still in school too.

Why glass sex toys?

Grace: Before there was silicone, we used these materials for these purposes and people seem to have forgotten that. Silicone is cheap and soft and feels like skin, but glass is a great alternative and offers some variety. It’s important for people to find what works best for their own body. We’re providing an alternative to silicone toys. I joke about charging them in the sun like you do your crystals. Warm them up and allow them to take in solar energy.

Claire: There’s also something about the beauty of glass and having a beautiful object that you play with yourself with that helps eradicate some of that shame associated with sexual pleasure. We keep our toys out in plain sight and on display. Take them out of the drawer and make them less shameful. I’m a material snob. 

Does Peace Lily offer other services besides sex toy products?

Claire: Since taking over the new studio space in May, we started offering beginner glass-blowing workshops. They are a great way to bring in the community and generate extra income. People are really drawn to glass, and we both have experience teaching, so it’s a natural extension of our business. It’s hard, and we just can’t have anyone too young working with glass, so we primarily teach adults 18 and older. We limit the time to two hours and the group size to one or two people.

Grace: It’s a good way to help people get their hands on it and realize that the process is really hard. Hopefully, people can walk away with a good experience and a little glass flower they made themselves.


Has there been anything on this journey that has surprised you?

Grace: Our level of success has been a pleasant surprise—seeing how much people love our stuff, and the nice things people have said to me about it. This was very much a labor of love for me when we started, and Claire was the money maker.

Claire: We thought it was a fun project and could supplement our income and do these interesting shows. Taking it professional and getting the space was a big shift, and that’s where I was a little shocked. The following we’ve developed has been amazing. It’s fun making things for pleasure because people seem to appreciate that.

What are your future plans for Peace Lily?

Grace: I think America. If it’s gonna grow, it needs to go. We have saturated the Canadian market that would hold our product, so we are headed south of the border. If it were to expand in an organic way, the right way, that’s what we’re looking for, but we don’t want to force that. New products keep us creative and happy, and I’d love to sell more of them.

Claire: You need large city centers—there are only a few in Canada, and we’re in all of them. America, get your buttholes ready!  

Is there anything specific you want our readers to know about Peace Lily?

Claire: I want people to know how awesome glass is. It’s our material, and as a toy it’s so nice—you can really explore your body with glass. It cantilevers around so you can easily find your nooks and crannies. There are some assumptions about it, like that it might break inside your body, but it won’t. It’s safe and feels so good. Also, we want to create beautiful things that everyone can use. We have a lot of support from the LGBTQ+ community, but our customers are pretty much anybody. 

Grace: Like Thistle and Spire, we have something for everyone and we think about all genders, sexualities, and anatomies. Our brands make sense together, especially being femme empowered. Our designs are inclusive and we’re trying to keep all people in mind. There is something for everyone at Peace Lily.


Written by Astrid Lium

Photos by Kirk Lisag


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