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Talbert Halloween Pipe #1602H "Cuttlefish" 

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 Price: $SOLD
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I knew when I started this pipe that I wanted it to be a two-toned color mixture of black and natural, to be a sort of spiritual successor to the two Halloween pipes I made in 2013. I love the contrast; it seems ideally seasonal and evocative of autumn colors and nights, even though we're currently in the middle of Spring as I write this. I recently wrote a blog post about the sort of "language of pipes" that I was developing in curves and negative space, and I wanted to try and incorporate this stylistic way of thinking into a Halloween pipe form... Something that visually and thematically meshed with the recent Talbert Briars but which also clearly said "Halloween".

Why Cuttlefish? A) They're freakish and frightening, the more you learn about the intelligence and hunting abilities. B) The entire form was designed to be evocative both of the hooked beak of a Giant Squid, and also the hooked, clawed tentacles of its cousin the Colossal Squid. I had a good time working the curvature of the bowl into the hooked form in such a way that it worked in both opposition and concordance with the radial flow of the ring grain, and also on the purely practical level of designing the hook curve such that it wouldn't actually poke the smoker in the palm - It really has a very nice "hand feel", like any large, round, sandblasted egg shape. The wicked look of the pointy bits are strictly bark, not bite. Many elements of the design work this way... The flared, curved bowl top serves the connected functions of providing drama to the shape, showing off the beautiful natural bird's-eye across the top, and also giving the smoker a convenient "Smoker's-Eye" view of the bowl top to make for easier lighting.

Despite the two-colored look, the pipe is all one solid piece of briar. The stem is handcut from black German ebonite rod, with a ring section of Maple Burl capped on each end with a ring of polished brass. The real star is easily the grain, though... Holy crap, it blasted well. The age rings are so consistent and so evenly stacked it looks almost unnatural (which I guess is appropriate for a Halloween pipe...)! Usually age rings have some degree of wander to them, but this pipe looks as if someone sat down with a spirograph and made expanding radial circles for the grain to follow like clockwork. I see, and do, a lot of sandblasts in my biz, but this definitely ranks as one of the best I've encountered, and I don't say that as self-praise but rather as praise for the briar itself. It's just a fantastic piece of wood.

While I was working on this pipe, I snapped a few photos for our Instagram account. I'd have made more, but my work was interrupted more than a bit over the last two weeks due to having two parents in and out of the hospital. Life has been a bit hectic here! But here's an early shot of the pipe, taken as I worked out the overall shape:

The goal was that it look "alive" from every angle... Alive and in motion as well:

I'd been wetting the grain to follow its flow, but the first trip to the sandblaster was nonetheless an eye-opener:

Sadly, that's all the pics I have of the pipe's creation, so this one will just have to retain a bit more mystery than others. I also don't have any photo's of the pipe's Halloween bag, for the simple reason that Emily is cutting and sewing it now as I write this! Like all our Halloween pipes, it will ship with its own handmade and hand-sewn decorative bag - For an idea what it will look like, see the bag shown in the previous Halloween pipe's photos here.