Presently in his mid-60s, it has been well argued that Vladimir Grechukhin owns the bragging rights to possessing the largest amount of design knowledge in the pipe industry. By the age of 12, the Soviet State dictated that Grechukhin’s path in life would fall into a broad “arts” category, and though the idea of compulsory education is pretty much considered an anathema today, the rigors of a highly focused, disciplined study across the entire arts spectrum produced results. Whether the subject was sculpture or sketches, paintings or three-dimensional design, every aspect of the art and art-development process had been mastered by Vova Grechukhin – well before he began his career as a pipemaker in the 70s under the legendary Fyodorov.
Vladimir translates in older Slavic references as "to rule with greatness", and Grechukhin’s briars exude both a definitive sense of power and intent in their presentation. More often than not, they also impart a subtle sense of organicism, as well as an implied movement which is rarely seen in workaday “strong/compact” interpretations. This masterfully sculpted, 4.8” Tomato powerhouse incorporates a nuanced left-to-right curl to the shank and an equally discrete shift to the opposite within the mass of the bowl. The gentle cupping of the rim, the smooth “keystone” mount, the amazing grain – Zounds. This is the very first Grechukhin which I have had the privilege of describing, and, if I can arrange for Eric to be abducted, it certainly will not be my last. Highly recommended
R. Bear Graves