Bruce has been apprenticing under Todd for the last year or so, and his work, which was already good, has taken a huge leap. I really enjoyed a morning in Bruce's workshop, as well as his hospitality, and the time with him in Todd's studio.
These three days with Todd and Bruce were revolutionary. Pipe making is largely a matter of skill building. Todd introduced me to new skills and helped me to refine others. My eye already sees more discrepancies in design, surface, color, and line than they did before my visit. My hands are gaining skill with each pipe I make, and are capable of finer work. This process reminds me of developing as a musician. Todd is like the great musicians I have worked with. For great musicians the instrument is mastered to the point where it seems to hardly exist at all--the music flows as if directly from their very soul. Todd's instruments are the tools and materials of pipe making, and the music poring from his soul are pipes.
I'm looking forward to spending more time in Nashville with Todd and Bruce. They are not only great pipe makers, they are wonderful human beings and a lot of fun to be around!