Being a great artisan dedicated to a high level of craftsmanship is, well great. But it can't hurt the collector status of your work if you happen to have a an unusual back-story as well. In the case of Karl-Heinz Joura, it's that of a world-class diver, turned outlaw (well, technically - he left a country it was illegal to leave, barring special permission, in the hold of a cargo ship), turned physical education teacher, turned pipemaker who takes his influence from the winding paths and smooth curves seen about the riverside parks he takes his walks in.
In the end, of course, you still do need that aforementioned dedication to craftsmanship to maintain staying power, and fortunately for us all, Karl does have that covered, in spades. Just beautiful shaping here, for example, with a sheer-faced and hard-lined taper to the bowl contrasts by a smoothly rounded underside, delicate, defined transition, and easy-flowing shank and stem. Then on top of it all, scads of flame grain and birdseye covering the whole thing from top to bottom.
- Eric N. Squires