Meeting Robert Winston was a great unexpected pleasure. Not only was he the first to buy a pipe, but he is a fantastic pianist, composer, and conductor (Kiev Philharmonic and Millennium Symphony). I listen to his music often while in the studio making pipes.
I wish I'd taken more pics. Shortly after the above I became completely overwhelmed with enjoying everything and just forgot to take any more. I met many great pipe makers from all over the world.
Highlights include great visits with Todd Pohlmann and Rad Davis, and having a table next to my new friends and fantastic Danish pipe makers Kai Neilson and Erik Neilson. Ah, I found a picture of them at their table (right next to mine):
It was also great to meet Todd Brawn in person who helped get me started with the gift of one of my lathes, and meeting many of the pipe makers I hang with on the pipe makers forum in person, and getting to see many of their pipes in person too!
The most amazing thing to me in all of this was experiencing the community and camaraderie among pipe makers. I never dreamed a group of artists and craftsmen of this caliber would be so encouraging and helpful to a newcomer. I came away from Chicago with a vast array of new knowledge, inspiration, encouragement, and excitement. To sum it up, I'm pumped and can't wait to make more pipes, and go back to Chicago next year! Here is a link to some great pictures.