TobaccoDays continue to promote ideas & design concepts to influence the pipe making & collector community. It’s been a while for me so let’s see what has been going on in the pipe world the past year. Let’s ask some questions, probe the happenings in the pipe world and get some deeper insight into whats making this industry tick. The more we know the better we can collect and the better we understand what is in front of us.
Hobby Side Explosion
Serious/full-time pipe making is seeing the biggest boom in it’s entire history thus far.
The hobby side is seeing this same boom as well. Just in the past year alone we have seen the number of craftsmen hobbyists double or maybe even triple in number. A lot of new guys picking up the briar. The best side effect from all of this is the increased population of carvers. The more people giving it a go, means we have a better pool to see talent from. The more people we have doing the craft, the greater the chance for better pipes.
It is a great stat. The more the merrier.
It feels like we can use Grant as the posterboy for this hobby craftsman explosion.
Obviously he is not the single direct effect of all this but he did come onto the scene just a short while ago. He had a great deal of instant success. He has a good old, country boy wholesome attitude. His story is inspiring and that story definitely motivated more than a few people to pick up a block. We have these types of personalities with this effect in the hobby.
What else is there unique about Grant? I haven’t been able to look away from a certain portion of Grant’s work over the past few years. Why? Part of his design style catches the eye & more specifically it’s in an area I call his ‘Tree Organics’ style. It has this enormous feeling of ‘I Hail from the Woods, The Forest & The Trees’ element that sits within his work. It’s been refining itself over the years & its looking real good. Grant has & brings with him a specific and unique artistic, woodmans like expression. The more defined it gets, as it is becoming now, the more likely other carvers will adopt it and evolve it further.
Some of the better expressed shapes really look like something you could pick off of the forest floor. Like a mushroom or a piece of bark.
As Grant works, he can’t ignore his thoughts & ideas on nature. Anytime there is a line on the pipe that could be straight…he correctly asks himself: “What would Mother Nature make this line look like?” And here ya go.
The vast variety of his shapes will appear more normal but still, look at his work and you will get that feeling of ‘Tree Organics’ & it’s a solid artistic statement.
In recent months Grant has also brought increased attention to his production process and the quality of his work has never been better.
Here is my Grant Batson pipe. I am more in love with this shape ‘concept’ than anything else. A fantastic example of this feeling that his work expresses. I think we’re lucky to be able to see work like this.
See more Grant Batson pipes & get in contact with him here
US Artistic Style
With someone like Grant in mind, someone who has their own unique artistic style, have you ever wondered why there aren’t that many North American carvers with these unique styles of expression shown consistently enough in their work to see a very clear pattern? Yes, we have a few in the US that are strong in this personal style arena but we don’t have that many . Grant Batson, Rolando Negoita, Trever Talbert – and the list pretty much stops there. We are not including pipe makers who have the ability to create amazing one offs. We are describing a distinct pattern of a specific design style. Two very different things.
With the number of pipe makers we do have in N. America, one would expect to see more of this. Why do we have so few & why does Europe for example have so many? Is this a reflection of the conservative values of the US? Mostly from the collector standpoint if so.
The average US collector will not as readily accept artistic freedom as their European or Asian counterpart. That being the case, the pipe maker is less likely to try and sell something outside that scope of thought.
The one area where North American carvers do excel is exactly in the area of finding a solution to the above problem. N. American carvers ask themselves: “How do we keep the classical shape in tact but explore in other areas like stain or finish?”
Which brings us to this gentleman. I love what he is doing with his stains.
The exterior treatment of the pipes body is still pretty much virgin ground. There is so much opportunity to go further & every day we see more & more of it.
You look at Brandon’s work and it just puts a smile to your face. Its fun. Thinking back to 10 years ago and imagine what people would be saying upon seeing this for the first time. If your still shaking your head thinking no, no no, at the pipes color, well, thats fine. Being stuck in the past is something we all do in one way or another. Those people that are looking at this green pipe and just smiling and saying ‘how cool of a color treatment is that!’, just think about how far we have come in such a short time.
See more Brandon Brooks pipes and get in contact with him here
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