Ernie Markle's previous experience doesn't relate much to his current work as an artisan pipe carver, but that seems to be the story of many pipe makers before getting started in the craft. With an educational background in Philosophy and Spanish, Ernie made a career within the field of finance, making for quite an eclectic mix of knowledge and experience. Markle's interest in pipes began after discovering the world of handmade pipes, by which he was awestruck and decided immediately that he wanted to pursue the art form himself. Thus began Ernie's grassroots journey into pipe carving, as he joined online pipe-making forums and slowly started to accumulate the tools required to turn briar into smoking instruments.
It was a few months after making his first pipes that Ernie attended the Chicago Pipe Show, participating in the two-day pipe-making seminar as well as looking for constructive criticism on his own creations. What happened next is a great example of the new movement in American artisan pipes: While in Chicago, Markle was invited by two distinguished American pipe makers, Brad Pohlmann and Jeff Gracik, to spend time in their workshops. It was under their tutelage as well as others', such as Adam Davidson, that Ernie honed his craft and strengthened the skills required to become the respected and sought after carver he is today. With the foundation laid by those carvers, Ernie was then able come into his own as an artisan, developing his own style which has attracted collectors and pipe smokers over the past several years.
An extremely dedicated and meticulous carver, Markle doesn't take shortcuts in his designs. From stem work to each and every finish, all of Ernie's creations are made by hand. Through dynamic lines and muscular proportions, he's succeeded in fashioning some of the most powerful and poised profiles in the business, drawing inspiration from the Danish tradition as well as other modern American artisans.