Thoughtfully designed briar pipes informed by tradition and inspired by the present. Handcrafted in San Diego, California.
In 2004, I set out to take a piece of raw briar root and somehow shape it into a pipe that I could have for myself. Little did I know that this one pipe would open the doorway to what has become an endless pursuit to create the perfect briar pipe. I have traveled around the globe to study and collaborate with the finest makers who have ever lived so that I can continue to make my next pipe a little better than the last.
Not far from the Southern California ocean, I sit in my pipe workshop wondering how to communicate to pipe people how I discovered this strange and wonderful world—this tiny corner of a niche. I can be assured that my job is somewhat easier as the assumption can be made that if you are reading this, you may already know something about high-grade pipes.
Typically I find myself scrambling for a brief but informative explanation to the uninitiated in a grocery store parking lot or an airplane.
“Interesting. But, you don’t smoke, do you?” they ask.
“Oh. So, what do you smoke in them?” they ask, accompanied alternately by winks from young adults and concerned eyebrows by those in my parents’ generation.
Thankfully this isn’t—or shouldn’t be—my audience in this venue.
Art has always been part of my life. Drawing with first crayon and paper as a toddler, pencil and paper as a child, and later with paint and canvas as a young adult I was regaled with stories of my grandmother and grandfather, both amateur and passionate artists, and my famous cousin, Andy Warhol.
Perhaps it was blood, but I am convinced it was simply a passion for the creation things—new things, strange things, beautiful things—that ultimately led me to buy two blocks of briar and pre-formed stems during my first year of graduate work in the field of theology. Guided by what little snippets of information that could be gleaned from books and the internet I completed my first pair of pipes with borrowed tools on the wooden floor of my in-laws’ home over Christmas break. They were not very good, but I was falling in love.
As with any person working in the arts, I am influenced by the world surrounding me. At the beginning designs were inherently mimetic as I explored my medium and designs to which I had been exposed. I am grateful to those whose work has been so influential to the development of my style. I remain an avid student of pipe shapes, consciously studying and being inspired by the work of others. Nevertheless, my work remains my own.
Pipe design is a careful calculus of influence and originality within a fairly restricted medium. It is my desire to continue exploring new territory, simultaneously paying homage to the great artisans of the past and present. As collectors and enthusiasts, you are part of the story as you enjoy, encourage, and collect my work.