Adam Davidson: Smooth Blowfish with Mastodon ivory
Product Number: 002-437-0013
This is, I think, the most extraordinary pipe I've yet seen from Adam Davidson. Given that Adam, who also works at Smokingpipes.com, is in the next office, I see a pretty huge percentage of what he makes. Actually, saying that this may be the coolest thing I've seen from Adam does the pipe something of a disservice. This is an extraordinary composition, period.
I've known Adam for about five years now. He has a sense of visual design, refined by Purdue's industrial design program, at which I cannot help but marvel. This pipe, a piece that Adam described as a design challenge, is a perfect example of that. He's incorporated aesthetic ideas from Tokutomi, reversing the blowfish form around the central axis. But that's not all he's done here. The chamber does not sit atop a disk, like Tokutomi's piece. The disk form cants upwards from the line of the shank. The visual weight of the shank is a similarly interesting departure: it has almost equal visual weight to that of the bowl.
There is so much visual complexity beyond the underlying ideas that it is difficult to capture it in words. There's considerable asymmetry and Adam has used both Eastern and Western methods to balance and contain. The asymmetrical flowing shank is cordoned off by its triangular superstructure. The cant of the bowl is offset, borrowing from Japanese aesthetic ideas, by the way the rim of the bowl falls off to the right. The bottom of the bowl, achieving an almost Elephant's Foot-esque role in the shape, is flowing and organic, evocative of Tokutomi's work again.
The point here is not that Adam is making pipes like Tokutomi. Adam is making pipes like Adam. Tokutomi, for Adam, along with the Danes and modernist aesthetic ideas outside of the pipe world, weigh heavily in the imagination of the young, talented pipe maker. Adam is creating extraordinary visual compositions and those compositions are entirely his own creation. His vision is strident and bold, but like all artists, he's not operating in an aesthetic vacuum. In many respects, this piece is seminal in his body of work. He's combined a remarkable array of forms, shapes and aesthetic ideas into an harmonic whole. An extraordinary achievement and a testament to Adam's talents.
-- Sykes Wilford