I'll admit I was a bit surprised to find the reverse-Calabash cropping up even in the Italian school. Finding them from American pipemakers isn't a shocker, though - American artisans, after all, tend to be quite a bit more eclectic. Nonetheless, this particular Scott Klein rendition is definitely one that makes you pause. For one thing, the shape is an especially dramatic play on the kind of organic forms that helped bring the underlying engineering to popular awareness. For another, this has to be one of the most intensely grained pieces of briar I've ever seen, and I'm talking in terms of birdseye and flame grain both; it is just ridiculously spectacular in both the fineness and lushness of its patterns. And on top of all that, or should I say, underneath it, Scott ran a planed ridge along the underside that exposes the natural plateau in a lovely dappled-and-crackled pattern, the effect of which recalls to mind the Art Nouveaux-inspired works of Maigurs Knets.
- Eric N. Squires