Ukrainian artisan Yuri Aksenov went on a health-related hiatus in 2011, and I honestly don't know if he's returned to making pipes or not. Hopefully he does eventually, because, from I've seen, he has quite a combination of skill and talent. This bent Bulldog is one his more reserved, traditional pieces, a sturdy, muscular rendition of the classic shape, following along English lines. There's a fine showing of flame grain along the shank and surrounding the bead-lines, though, as expected in a shape proportioned like this, it's the birdseye which dominates the bowl, displayed beautifully both above and below.
- Eric N. Squires