February marks my first full year offering pipes for sale, and my second making pipes. I'm having a great time, and just finished pipe number 48. I'm hoping to carve out more time for pipe making this next year and have a goal of making at least 50 pipes in 2008. Also new this year is participation in the A.S.P Pipe of the Year (POY). The shape for the POY this year is a Belge, which is a new shape for me.
Here is a shot of me visiting with a new friend at the table.
Quinton and the GKCPC focused on attracting North American pipe makers to their show this year, and there were 20 in attendance. It was great to see the variety of offerings, and especially fun to visit and talk shop with fellow pipe makers.
I had several very interesting and encouraging talks. One in particular was with a large retailer that is interested in stocking a selection of my pipes. While so far my production is far too limited to consider this as a viable option for the present, my hope is this will be feasible soon.
It's great to be able to sit, visit, smoke, and share a beverage with friends. We have so few places and opportunities to do that these days, it makes it all the more special when we get the chance.
In a late night stroll amongst the rooms I ran into Jeff Gracik of (J. Alan Pipes) . Jeff's work is very inspiring and he is a huge encouragement. When I grow up, I want to be like Jeff, but I'm nearly twice his age!
Saturday's pipe show was great. Pistol Pete's is a great spot for this the show. Lots of folks came through and I had a fine time visiting with everyone who stopped by the table. As usual, I didn't manage to get many pictures, but my new pipe maker friend Mike Brissett snapped the shot of me at left.
I've spent most of that time learning the shape first, drill second method, favored by many of the Danish masters, as well as a few makers of American high grades. The first two were a great education, and I'll enjoy them for my own collection (see placed pipes). I just finished the third "vacation" pipe using this new method this morning. It's Etude #33, a very decent Volcano, which is now available, and currently the featured pipe on the right. This method has a huge advantage for certain shapes. It's easier to follow grain and work around flaws while shaping freehand, without yet having to worry about the drilling. Once the shape is established, drilling is then a mater of working with the shape instead of the shape having to work with the drilling. It's not the be all and end all of methods, but it's a great option, and I'm very excited to have it available now.
Due to the state wide smoking ban in TN, this is the last pipe night at the B&B's Clarksville mall location. Very thankfully, they move into their new digs sometime late this summer or early fall. Until then, no more smoking in the store as of July 1! This is so senseless. With the air filtration they have in there, you could not get even a whiff of smoke outside the back half of the shop, let alone in the coffee bar area at the front of the store. There is simply no way it could have crept into the mall.
First a big thanks to Kirk Bosi shown at left, for sharing his table with me, and showing me the ropes!
4-27.07: It's Here! I received my first large order of Italian briar from Calabria Pipes. It looks excellent. I can't even start to describe how great it is to know I have a decent inventory of quality briar. It arrived in the traditional burlap bag.
I have been hoping, planning, and scheming for two years now and I think it's going to work! If all goes well I'll be at the Chicago Pipe Show in three weeks! By all reports this show is life changing for aspiring pipe makers, and after tasting the much smaller show in St. Louis (where I learned an amazing amount and had a blast) I simply have to do this huge show in Chicago where so many of my heroes, mentors, and fellow pipe enthusiasts will be.
My day job makes the timing of this very difficult in that it's the weekend before finals. I'm hoping to make the tail end of the Friday Pre-Show, but that's optimistic. I'm also hoping to bum a little table real estate for the main show off a fellow pipe maker. When I know for sure I'll post where to look for me. I'm on track to have about 5 pipes ready as well as a few that didn't make the cut to smoke myself. Not many, but it's a start.
Henry Bailey, the tobacconist in residence there welcomed me right off and filled my pipe with one of the house blends (a nice full english) . I lighted up and really enjoyed the smoke, and the visit. I was soon offered a great cup of dark roast coffee, and Henry was kind enough to look over the pipes I'd brought in with me. He seemed quite interested and invited me to set up shop for a day when they're in their new location. Hopefully I can make a variety pipes, some finished, and some in various stages of completion and figure out some sort of portable set up to work on them while there. It would be great to visit with the folks that come in, and perhaps sell a pipe or two.
I'm really excited to find Briar and Bean--a great treasure, and not so very far from home. I'm looking forward to more visits and having an opportunity to show some pipes there later this year. Stay tuned!