North American Aesthetic, Part 2

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Dec 12, 2007
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Jack Howell's suggestion that I include a response to a question by Showme led me to expand on that thread post and create a Part 2 to the North American Aesthetic Article.

Please, let me thank the members of this forum for inspiring this 2-part series. I'm getting a lot of positive feedback in emails and here. I appreciate it very much.

Putting this series on the blog site helps because I can include quite a few pictures to demonstrate what I'm writing about. A picture may be worth a thousand words most of the time, but I'm sure it's worth about 5,000 of my words!

One of the best things about being a member of a forum like this one is that there are very intelligent questions and comments that lead me to think or rethink my point of view on pipes, collecting, and artisans. You guys play a big part in helping me sort through my thoughts. I hope I repay that a little bit with my posts, too.

Here is the link to part 2:



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Dec 10, 2007
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Chestnut, IL
Very nice articles.

My own observation of American carvers compared to those in Europe are rather simplistic, but expanding. I prefer ringblasts. That will usually catch my eye first. Then I look at the shape. These highly artistic shapes have less appeal to me. But John Crosby has introduced me to a rather graceful shaped pipe. More like some of the European carvers. What really separates the two for me, is the applied finishes. typically, the Europeans have a less craggy blast with a thick looking stain. A stain that seems to fill all the smaller details. Almost smooths out the sandblast.

Where the American carvers mostly use a thinner finish stain that can actually make the smaller details just out at you. There are exceptions. My first John Crosby has a thick looking dark finish. But it plays well on that pipe. I have a Rad Davis that is similar. Mark Tinsky's pieces from a couple years ago have that sort of look. But recent examples from these carvers are deeper and the finish appears thinner, yet wonderfully colored. The grain is no longer hidden, but stands out.

Where some like to see the beautiful grain in a highly polished, smooth finish, I want to see it in the texture. To be able to feel it. To let my eyes play upon the surfaces and not see what appears to be a smoothed finish.

Does that make any sense?