In every art form there exists an elevated state. A result that grabs our attention in a special way. This is the world of exceptional ‘high grade’ pipes & like in any art – it should be appreciated.
Further inside this exceptional world of truly beautiful work is yet another level. One of extra exceptional work. The rare pieces that first grab our attention in that special way but then add something else ‘even more’ on top.
I call these ‘special moment’ pipes. They captured something extra special.
When the pipe began, the pipe maker had no idea what it was going to become….most of the time it was completely unplanned. Most of the time….
Concepts and strategy are always there. Final end results however are a completely different thing.
These pipes can be exceptional just because it is the 1st version of an idea that became popular. These pipes can be exceptional just because of the sheer beauty in this one piece. The reasons for these pipes to stand out are varied.
These pipes are very lucky that is clear.
Many great ideas on paper look horrible in final form. Sometimes it takes the maker 10x to get it right.
Often these ‘moment pipes’ have a funny history attached to them.
- Maybe the briar block had a flaw that pushed the maker into a new & unplanned direction.
- Conversely, the block could have been just absolutely perfect guiding the hands rather than the other way around.
- Maybe it was the 5th time the maker was trying this particular shape and this specific time, with the one twist of the hand, the new idea they had been thinking about or seeing in their minds eye finally showed itself.
- Or the pipe maker could not see the end result because it was freehand shaping all the way.
This funny history behind these pipes makes them that much more special.
They are always out there for us to see. These ‘special moment’ pieces.
‘Special Moments’ can come in all shapes & sizes.
Micah Cryder of Yeti pipe made this Dublin.
A flowering, bursting up & out display of perfectly growing briar beauty.
I’d seen previous iterations of this shape. Micah Cryder clearly saw something deeper because this version is just magnificent. With this pipe, there was a lot of purpose behind the shape. I dont know how much Micah could see the total final end result early on but there was definite strategy on this block. Less luck than usual.
The coating of birds-eye inside the deep reef like bowl is a sight to see.
All of the flame grain adding to the entire expression that much more.
Everything worked very well together in this pipe, she is completely in harmony.
A unique piece.
Gracik & Grechukin’s Hobbits Foot
An odd fellow. Perfect name after the Lord of The Rings big feet characters. That thick layer of plateau looks like the bottom of the dirty Hobbits foot.
Pleasant shaping and elegance throughout the block. Accentuated & exquisite grain.
What makes this pipe extra special though, in my view, is the bamboo leg/shank. This is what makes this pipe special. The perfect thickness, the perfect size, it matches the rest of the pipe well.
A foot indeed it is and a unique foot at that at the end of the most interesting pipe leg I have ever seen.
Chris Asteriou’s Modern Classic take of the Cutty
He mentions he hasn’t been able to match this pipe’s result in quite some time. A difficult piece for sure. He merged the grain to the slight forward cant very very well.
No easy feat on a shape that is not easy to execute. He got lucky with the block and his skill on this one.
I like my 1926 Patent Dunhill Bent Billiard.
Made during the time when Alfred Dunhill & Co. were first starting to explore & understand what it means to sandblast a pipe and accentuate the briar rings.
You can see the inexperience, the lack of system behind the end result.
Almost a diseased like looking mess. I think its beautiful though. A unique example from a unique time.
These pipes can come in all shapes & sizes. You see them often.
When you see a special shape, you might have to look twice but if something is there….buy it!
You will be happy you did.
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