In the fin/"step" above the stem we here find a Kent Rasmussen/Peter Heding influence that often crops up in Starkov’s work. Boris being Boris, though, in adopting this element into his shaping language he didn't simply copy what others had done, but began experimenting, changing the position, curve, crispness, and anything else he could think of to alter this one element, from one pipe to the next. Then came the idea to extend the motion of the fin into the rest of the pipe, farther and farther, and shaping more and more of the rest of the design so that all of its lines and gestures seem either to begin there, or act in complement to those that do.
It was a gradual process, evolving and reaching further into the design with each pipe, before finally arriving at shapes like, well, this. In a way, it's the asymmetric and more complex freehand equivalent of those antiquarian classic Billiards of the early 20th/late 19th centuries, where in the entire pipe could be seen one elegant and uninterrupted s-curve.
Aside from simply being a fine example of Boris Starkov's great attention to the lines and flow of design, this Teardrop Blowfish also displays dedication to accent-work. That rather substantial ferrule out back is not vulcanite, but black ebony, which has not only been carefully shaped to seamlessly match the briar, but also delicately detailed; carved with a plateau texture along the left that appears like a perfectly natural continuation of the briar's plateau.
- Eric N. Squires