The Artistry of the Pipe
Note: Unfortunately Haloscan
seems to be having difficulties, so today's post is in part a reply to the comment from Nanoglitch.
Thank you for writing! It is always wonderful to hear from a fellow indulger in the art of the briar! In my opinion, it is terribly sad that our hobby/avocation has diminished in presence in current society. I personally think that pipe smokers tend to be more gentle, careful, and thoughtful people, and I think if more pipe smokers were found in our society, the world would be a happier, kinder place overall.
There are several pipe makers that I am very fond of. Most of my beautiful "art" pipes... the expensive ones I receive as giftsf from family/friends and use only occasionally are manufactured by Peterson, Barling, Comoy, Castello, and LaRocca. These pipes are truely beautiful and I can gaze at them for hours. They as are all pipes, are worthy of being displayed in an art museum.
My "heirloom" pipes... those I inherited from my father, grandfathers, and uncles run the gambit. There are a few Petersons, but most of them are nameless varieties. Each is richly beautiful in appearance. But their special qualities are in being tied to memories of loved ones who enjoyed them. Several times a year I will smoke one of my father's pipes, especially on special days relevant to him... his birthday, the first day of hunting season, the first day of each academic year, etc. On the occasions when I visit the cemetary where his body is buried, I will always have one of his pipes and as I sit and smoke by his gravesite, I can often feel his presence and feel comforted. Similar thoughts are invoked when I indulge in one of either of my grandfather's pipes or those of my uncles. The memories each pipe holds in its bowl is enormous, enriching and comforting. To have those pipes available to me, to help coax my brain into recalling those memories is very meaningful to me.
As for my five primary pipes... the ones I rely upon for the vast majority of my day-to-day indulgence:
I have two very larged bowled Petersons. One Peterson is a full bent and the other is quarter bent. As I do not find the traditional "P-bit" most Peterson's are manufactured with as comfortable a grip between my teeth, my Petersons have the more common style of pipe bit.
I have one no-named pipe I picked up on a trip to Washington, D.C. for a conference three years ago. It is a beautiful beast... the enormous bowl is of a blond colored wood as is the shank, but between the shank and the mouthpiece is a walnut colored segment with a ring of silver on either side of this region. The stem is also a favorite.... its bit is a bit wider than normal and a bit thicker and the draw hole is pleasantly large. This heavier stem is extremely comfortable between my teeth. Additionally, the shape of this pipe is that of a dublin quarter bent (the shape is nearly identical to the image on this blog).
The other two pipes, the ones that I leave in the two vehicles I drive daily (one is my wife's primary vehicle, but I leave a pipe in there for when I drive it) are both venerable Dr. Grabows. Although some elitist types say the Dr. Grabow company is a maker of inferior pipes, I feel that is simply not true. Dr. Grabow pipes are rugged, durable, simply (yet pleasantly) styled, and good day-to-day working pipes. The one I leave in my vehicle is perhaps the single most heavily used pipe I have. The first of these two is a modified Grand Duke... the style with the very large bowl, a 3/4 inch aluminum joiner between the shank and stem, and a 1/4 bent stem. The one I leave in my wife's vehicle is a full bent Savoy, walnut colored.
Each and every pipe I have is beautiful and pleasing in its own way. I can easily get lost in thoughts of beauty, artistry and joy by looking at the graceful curves of each of their respective bowls or stems. Also, I can often devle into my deepest philosophical and scientific thoughts while I peer into the beautiful red ember that is created by the melding of flame and leaf. The reddish glow is both comforting to the spirit and thought provoking to the mind.