Chris Asteriou: ***Smooth Asymmetric Tomato with Camel Bone Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-540-0179

Chris Asteriou has one of the most diverse portfolios of any artisan I've had the pleasure of writing about. Be it flowing, organic, Danish-inspired pieces, or classically inclined Anglo-French shape chart standard designs, Asteriou crafts it all with aplomb, the Athenian architect bringing his own unique sense of style to each pipe. Chris began making pipes in 2007, after being enamored by their fusion of form and function since 2004, and made them part time until 2014 when he was finally able to make his passion his career. Since we began carrying his work in 2012, Asteriou has consistently proven his talent for both shaping and finishing, with this asymmetric Tomato being a prime example of both.

My love for the Tomato shape is no secret, and I have seen quite a few renditions of the profile from quite a few makers, but none quite like this example. When we think of the shape in general, we usually conjure images of a plump bowl with a mid-set waist and a squat muscularity, though there are a number of artisans that cant that waistline forward to introduce a sense of dynamism to the silhouette. Rather than simply lending the waist a forward urge, Asteriou has instead opted to tilt the waist at the flanks while compressing the bowl as a whole from the right fore and left aft sides. The result is an aerial view that is very much asymmetrical and extremely organic feeling, with the raised section of the waistline looking concisely pointed, while the dipped sections are thickly robust.

This isn't merely a stylistic choice, mind you, this is also a clinic in excellent ergonomics, as the contours of the bowl fit the hand exceptionally well and index in the fingers consistently. The transition is wide, aiding in this, and the shank and stem base are tapered as the shank ebbs out of of it, keeping the aft end of this piece quite sleek and placing further emphasis on the bowl. The combination is ovoid as well, lending even more intrigue when seen from above, and the stem's camel bone accent offers both traditional flair and contrast against the black vulcanite. The briar here is dressed in a warm contrast stain that unveils dense fields of birdseye on the flanks of the bowl, with cross grain wrapping around the top, bottom, and fore.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.75 in./120.65 mm.
  • Weight: 2.30 oz./65.20 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.59 in./40.39 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.14 in./28.96 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.83 in./21.08 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.98 in./50.29 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Tomato
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Greece
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