Attending pipe shows has been a huge inspiration. It's fascinating to see what interests collectors as they peruse the tables. Amazing how many times certain pipes are picked up and set down and others are just glanced at, while thankfully others are bought right up. In addition to always meeting new friends and hopefully some customers, pipe shows are one of the best sources of pipe making inspiration to be found anywhere. For one, it's rare to see any, let alone many high grades anywhere else these days. I thrive on the fellowship with other pipe makers the shows afford (like my late night visit with Jeff). Sharing ideas and hands on critiques with peers, and occasional advice and encouragement from the sages (even very young ones ;) will fuel endless exploration. I sure hope pipe shows will find a way to survive all the smoking bans and ordinances.
I had to miss the CORPS show in Richmond this year due to a conflict at work, but have high hopes of making it next year. Meanwhile I'm excitedly looking forward to Kansas City early next month, and then any show I can get to next year!