Introducing the Talented Sergey Senatorov
The summer always seems to be the season for new pipe makers at Smokingpipes.com. Last week it was the talented Greek Chris Asteriou. This week, it's Latvian pipe maker Sergey Senatorov. The process of beginning to work and getting up to speed with a pipe maker is a fairly elaborate one, with examples of their work going back and forth so that we can see and handle their craftsmanship and style in person, discussions on philosophy of design, and a general period of getting to know one another. Usually, pipe makers contact us. Sometimes, we'll see examples of a pipe maker's work and contact him or her. But ultimately it's all about the pipes. We represent most of the best pipe makers in the world, which, I think, gives us a particular good vantage point from which to spot new talent.
In Sergey's case, we actually saw a couple of his pipes come through as estates before we started talking with him early this year, giving us a head-start on the whole aspect of handling his work in person. We were impressed enough that I reached out to him personally, and, as fortune would have it, he was as excited about the prospect of working together as I was. When the new pipes finally arrived (after a tremendous postal delay; we suspect that they were routed through Nairobi, Hong Kong and Sao Paolo as they made their way to us from Latvia) we were floored by the quality, execution and shaping, especially given the modesty of his pricing.
From a wider perspective, it's fascinating to see pipe makers of such considerable talent pop up outside of the traditional pipe making centers of Denmark, Italy, Japan, and England. In 2003 I was interviewed by Pfeifenbox.de, a German/English pipe news website that was popular at the time. There was some discussion about the aging of the world's top pipe makers, and the fear that the craft would die with that generation. At the time, I was sanguine: I was confident that we would see lots of new talent appear over the coming years. Moreover, I suggested that, because of the internet and globalization, that it would be a global rather than, say, solely a Danish or German phenomenon. Since then, we've seen a profusion of pipe makers from Eastern Europe, Russia, the United States and elsewhere outside the established pipe making centers become prominent. And yet, at the same time, we've seen also fresh faces in Denmark (Lasse Skovgaard and Peter Heding are household pipe names; keep in mind that the interview was nine years ago) and Germany (Jorgen Moritz and Frank Axmacher come to mind, though there are many others), while the likes of Cornelius Manz and Kent Rasmussen, who were discussed as up-and-comers in that article, have become established greats since then.
I have no particular talent for prognostication, but I'm certainly glad I was right about this. Pipes have never been better and the world has never seen this present profusion of highly talented, young artisan pipe makers. It's an unprecedentedly fine time to be a pipe smoker or collector.
Joining the remarkable selection from Sergey today, you'll find as well a vast update of some 171 pipes, including selections from Castello, Radice, Tsuge, Savinelli, Sebastien Beo, Peterson and others! Plus, you'll find the spiffy new Peterson pipe lighters on the site too. Check 'em out!
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