Adam Davidson Pipes

4 Total ( 3 Fresh )
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Adam Davidson was first introduced to pipes through the black-and-white films he enjoyed as a chile, as well as those he spotted in the many antique stores he frequented with his mother. His interest in hand-crafting began equally early: Even as young as six years old, Davidson was making bird houses and replicating country-style crafts of wood, metals, or clay and gifting them to his aunts on Christmas. He made his first pipes of clay that he dug up from his Indiana backyard — dried and then fired in a rustic beehive kiln he constructed from bricks — but instead of to his aunts, Davidson gifted these pipes to his pipe-smoking neighbor. Working at an amusement park during the summer when he was a teenager further expanded Davidson's skills and passion for hand-crafted work, fashioning animals, ships, and other souvenirs from silver, gold, and blown glass while people watched — all while smoking his pipe.

After graduating from Purdue University, Davidson attended the Chicago Pipe Show in 2004. The experience shifted his perspective from simply enjoying pipes to deeply valuing them as a means of creative expression, and it inspired him to make his first briar pipe and bring it to the following show: a smooth bent Dublin with three knuckles of bamboo and a hand-cut cumberland stem. It was through showing this pipe to other pipe makers at the following Chicago Pipe Show that Davidson met Todd Johnson. At the time, Johnson had recently moved to South Carolina to fashion his line of Medici pipes and was looking to someone to help him in production. Davidson relocated to South Carolina in 2005 to assist Johnson, and while Medici pipes were short lived, the experience was invaluable for Davidson absorbing and learning firsthand from Johnson about what it meant to be an excellent craftsman. Throughout the following years, Davidson established his own pipe-making workshop, and in 2008, he attended the Chicago Pipe Show once more — this time with over a dozen pipes utilizing bamboo, mammoth, and horn adorning freehand shapes such as his Ameoba, Witch Finger, Almond, and other designs.

Through the relationships he built at pipe shows, Davidson created other opportunities for working alongside other notable artisans. In 2009, Hiroyuki Tokutomi and Jeff Gracik spent a day in Davidson's South Carolina workshop, and the pair visited again the following year. In 2014, Davidson returned the favor, visiting Jeff Gracik in California and Hiroyuki Tokutomi and Kei-ichi Gotoh in Japan for a couple days. He shaped pipes alongside each of them, but mostly he loved observing their pipe-making processes: how they viewed and worked with briar, how they made their own tools, and all of the other minutia that contribute to their skill and creativity. Since then, Davidson has hosted a number of pipe makers at his own home workshop, discussing various pipe-making techniques while also sharing his passion for cooking and hospitality. His influence as a mentor and a craftsman have garnered him a reputation from colleagues and collectors alike, and such an impact earned him the Master of Pipes accolade at the 2019 Chicago Pipe Show.

Crafted in extremely limited quantities, Davidson's pipes are prized and beloved by collectors worldwide, and his portfolio ranges from a curated selection of distinctive classic shapes to an unfettered array of freehand forms and one-off ideas of singular design. All of his pipes are smooth or sandblasted, with some adorned by such accents as bamboo, mammoth, boxwood, silver, or horn, and while he does have a supply of vintage yellow Bakelite — used only in the rarest circumstances — Davidson hand cuts the majority of his mouthpieces from black vulcanite rods for their reserved aesthetic.