Adam Davidson: Sandblasted "Tokutomi and Gotoh" 2 Pipe Set

Product Number: 002-437-0142

Though an appreciation for classic shapes is readily apparent in Adam Davidson's work, the American artisan is most heavily inspired by two Japanese masters: Hiroyuki Tokutomi and Kei-ichi Gotoh. Adam has also worked with both artisans when he visited Tokyo back in 2015 and was able to watch them bring their ideas to life in their workshops. For 2020's American Pipe Making Exposition, which focuses on influences, Davidson has crafted a two-pipe set that pays homage to both master carvers, with each pipe based on pieces Smokingpipes has carried in the past. A Blowfish, or Fugu, is inspired by Tokutomi while a lithely bent, plump-bowled shape takes its inspiration from a Gotoh design we received in 2011. These two pipes do an excellent job of showcasing Adam's stylistic range while paying homage to two carvers that have had an immense impact on him as a pipe maker.

The first pipe within the set is Adam's tribute to Tokutomi's signature Blowfish. Toku's Blowfish renditions are some of the most distinctive as he's one of the progenitors of the modern interpretation of the shape. Adam's design is a beautiful celebration of the organic shape, displaying complex line work and tasteful asymmetry throughout. The form's characteristic, disc-like flanks are on fine display, with the left side more rounded and pronounced while the right side is subtly paneled. The ridgeline that encircles the left flank is more prominent and crisp in its execution, serving to emphasize the rounded disposition of the flank. I also appreciate how the ridgelines that join the rim give it a slight concave shape while adding firmness to the piece's in-hand feel. Even more texture is supplied by the sandblasted finish, which has been used to accentuate the specks of birdseye along the broad flanks while streaks of cross grain run along the asymmetric panel that wraps around top and bottom of the bowl.

Natural plateau accents the asymmetric shank face, its orientation and jagged texture looking as if a predatory creature took a bite out of the shank. I'm particularly impressed by the stem work on this piece as it truly captures Adam's detail driven approach. Davidson has long been fascinated by Toku's ability to make each mouthpiece detailed so that it complements the exact pipe it's paired to and the American artisan has done just that here. The stem's offset base perfectly aligns with the shank's ridgelines and further drives home the piece's asymmetry.

The second piece pays homage to Kei-ichi Gotoh, a master carver who crafts very few pipes each year but is renowned for his ability to seamlessly incorporate subtle asymmetry and visual balance in his work. Adam's influence for this piece was taken from a 2011 Gotoh design that featured a bulbous, Egg-like bowl perched on the end of a comparatively slender shank and a softly downturned stem. This interpretation maintains all of those aforementioned characteristics and is an excellent example of reserved organicism. The plump bowl is canted forward in a dramatic manner while its supple curves and bulging flanks make it pleasing to study in hand. The low-profile sandblast has brought out the briar's natural growth rings underneath the dark stain with the innermost portion of the chamfered rim left smooth and lightly stained for a hint of contrast. The transition is seamless and gives way to the lean shank, which gradually flares out toward the end. Much like the Toku Blowfish, the attention paid to the stem on this piece is magnificent and has been shaped to bring cohesion to the composition. The expansion disc along the stem's base mirrors the shaping of the shank end while the mortise is reinforced with a brass inset ring for a mount-style tenon configuration.

Both pipes within this set exemplify Adam Davidson's diverse shaping style and his ability to reinterpret designs in his own creative way. They're full of subtle, yet spectacular details that show the attention and care Adam takes when creating a pipe. Together, these pieces are an exquisite tribute to two master artisans that have profoundly impacted one of America's most gifted pipe makers.

- Jeffery Sitts
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Measurements & Other Details

  • (Freehand)
  • Length: 7.25 in. Weight: 2.6 oz.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.86 in. Chamber Depth: 1.98 in.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.98 in. Bowl Height: 2.35 in.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite

  • Length: 6.31 in./160.27 mm.
  • Weight: 2.30 oz./65.20 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.92 in./48.77 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.77 in./44.96 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in./19.05 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.56 in./39.62 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Blowfish
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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