J. Alan: Smooth Bent Dublin with Bamboo (1559)

Product Number: 002-376-0290

For the first American Pipemaking Exposition in 2015, Jeff Gracik graced us with a piece that he dubbed a "Speeding Egg," marked by a svelte and slender section of curling bamboo with an affably plump bowl perched on the end. While this year's Exposition focuses on bamboo once again, Jeff decided to go a completely different direction this time. Contrasting the 2015 piece's trim sinuosity, this bent Dublin is a compact, muscular briar, Gracik's choice of proportions clearly informed by the thick, stocky section of bamboo utilized at the shank, which the American carver has oriented at an angle along the vertical axis of the bamboo's oval cross section to lend the form some obvious asymmetry.

Said portion of bamboo has quite the history too. More than ten years ago, Jeff visited Cornelius Mänz in Germany and returned with bamboo that Mänz had harvested himself. The ferrule used on this piece is from that over ten-year-old batch. It's also noteworthy that Cornelius was one of the first artisan's to start incorporating wild pieces of bamboo into his pipes, making this J. Alan piece an homage, of sorts, to the history and evolution of bamboo in pipemaking, particularly one of the movement's leading pioneers.

While compact, robust proportions define this example of Jeff's work, the sense of line throughout the piece is comparatively smooth and genteel, the heel lifted and the curve through the stem and bamboo devoid of firmness. The bowl is covered in perfectly aligned flame grain, rising up the stummel into a crown of natural plateau. Typically, carvers will use a black stain on plateau, but this block shows such a clean array that Jeff was able to keep it more naturalesque. The peaks of craggy briar, then, coincide with the numerous nodes of the bamboo, though the color palettes contrast handsomely — the plateau darker, with brighter highlights, and the bamboo light-hued but with some dark accents. It's a beautifully balanced piece from Jeff, in both shape and palette, and combined with his piece from the first Expo, showcases his diverse approach to bamboo adornments: clean-lined and trim vs. craggy and muscular.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.43 in./137.92 mm.
  • Weight: 2.50 oz./70.87 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.76 in./44.70 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.37 in./34.80 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in./19.30 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.12 in./53.85 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Dublin
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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