Renaissance man and master carver, Dr. Roman Kovalev, applied his unique manner of looking at things, as well as two singular processes/materials, to create what both Eric and I agree to be one the most visionary interpretations of the Blowfish we have ever seen, though for different reasons. Initially, my obsession with this composition hinged on the shape. Eric’s focus pretty much locked on the manifold differences found in the good doctor’s approach to the blasting of this piece, compared to others we’ve seen in the past, and the stain: “When was the last time we saw a matte, dual-stain pair up with a blast to become positively iridescent in appearance?”
The answer, of course, was “never”. As Eric continued, I realized that, as a describer, I was about to make a similar gaff that a carver might have made if they created such an incredible form: just say “great shape!”, and be satisfied. My ego diminishing with each additional observation, Eric pointed to six more things which made this composition exceptional, all of which (save one), relied on a near-supernatural read of the grain, long thought and intent to occur. No, I won’t touch on all of them, but how about a couple? Keeping in mind that Doc blasts grain, he doesn’t “etch”, look at the tear drop panel on the right of the bowl – then the four micro-ridges held within, as well as the two mirrors within the expanding rings without. On the left, a “bull’s-eye” counters, with six expanding ripples. Though both effects seem to be fed by the same, insanely tight ridges found within the shank, that grain holds “tells” of differing patterns to follow on the left and right. Roman took the read, used up a ton of sketch book, and managed to create this priceless predator with that pattern intact – nay, maximized. In defense of my initial reaction, this shape is amazing and, like all of Doctor’s pipes, a sublime experience in the paw.
R. ‘Bear’ Graves