Few carvers continuously tackle the Elephant's Foot with as much enthusiasm and ferocity as Alex Florov. The result of his repeated efforts surrounding this challenging shape tend toward outstanding examples of Alex's agility as a pipe maker as well as his imagination as an artist. This piece is but another variation in the carver's seemingly endless repertoire, and I'd wager to say that it's one of the sharpest I've yet seen. The orientation and cant of the shape's signature side panels are so that the pipe's anterior is suggestive of a northerly turned Rhodesian or Bulldog bowl with a tobacco chamber drilled in its face. As such, the overall composition feels like some supple, spirited take on a Danish classic, replete with undulating rims, lines, curves and pleats. The creamy ivory wafer mounted to the back of the shank handsomely plays off the deep, cherry red stain of the briar; a stain which shows off both beautiful fan grain along the pipe's side panels, and an impressive, marbled bird's eye up front.
-- Ted Swearingen