Gordon was first exposed to glassmaking after seeing a spun glass demonstration at a shopping mall. At the age of 14, as a gift from his father, he received his first torch and began experimenting with glass. After high school, he studied scientific glassblowing at Salem Community College and later went on to work at the Kontas Glass Company. It was during this time, in 1980, while working for the Kontas Brothers(who were accomplished paperweight artists in their own right), that Gordon was first exposed to paperweights. While working for the Kontas Brothers he began experimenting with paperweight making at his home studio and with encouragement from the Kontas', he began volunteering at Wheaton Village glass factory to further develop his skills as a glass artist.
In 1982, Gordon was introduced as the newest American paperweight artist at Wheaton Paperweight Weekend. He’d made nine paperweights for sale over the weekend. By the end of the opening day, all nine had sold and he had waitlisted orders for 20 more. By 1983, he was working full time giving flamework demonstrations at Wheaton Village while continuing to make his own paperweights.
In the mid-80s, Smith really began to flourish as an artist, taking greater risks and flexing his talent as a flameworker. These works set new precedents and opened a world of new possibilities by introducing entirely new techniques for freestanding and scaling sculptural elements to allow for new levels of dimension, detail and realism. Today Gordon's work represents some the best the form has to offer - a true master of the art.