Alex Florov: Smooth Autumn Leaf with Juma (Slonim)

Product Number: 002-354-0226

A Russian carver now residing outside of Chicago, Alex Florov often crafts pipes of quite evocative, sculptural designs, taking inspiration from iconic Japanese carvers like Hiroyuki Tokutomi and Kei-ichi Gotoh. This Autumn Leaf shape is one such piece, exhibiting a highly intricate and referential form. The bowl itself is broader than it is tall, most notably wrapped by a fluid panel through the flanks and across the fore, which displays concise, parallel striations of vertical grain that orients birdseye along the rim and heel. The center of the bowl, when viewed from above, is bisected, then, by a ridgeline that extends into a protruding panel at the fore, resembling the central vein and stem of this pipe's namesake and fitting with the bowl's overall, leaf-like shape — an homage to Gotoh's Leaf and Moon shape.

That wrapping panel flares suddenly outward at the shank to form a dramatic expansion that's quite trim in profile but exceptional wide when viewed from the smoker's perspective. The shaping of the shank face emulates that of the bowl, also resembling a leaf, with panels comprising the edges and section of plateau accenting the underside. As part of our American Pipe Making Exposition for 2021, with the theme of accent stems, this pipe features quite an evocative mouthpiece that rivals the stummel for visual attention. Florov fashioned the stem from vulcanite and juma in a split-stem configuration that features brindled vulcanite at the base and pale juma for the rest. Said base, though, is shaped to echo the shank face but its trajectory is oppositional, rather than being a mirrored image. While the shank face extends more to the right, the stem base bears the same overall form but moves leftward, balancing out the form. This design cue of fashioning such a dramatic stem base that aligns with the shaping of the shank is seen across Tokutomi's work, and it was even featured on a pipe that Alex made in collaboration with the Japanese master. A stunning feat of craftsmanship and artistry, this Exposition entry offers countless hours of observation and analysis, perfectly suited for smoking as it is for beautiful display, and it received Alex's Slonim grade, distinguishing the carver's superlative work.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.57 in./166.88 mm.
  • Weight: 3.80 oz./107.73 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.64 in./41.66 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.30 in./33.02 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.77 in./19.56 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.81 in./71.37 mm.
  • Stem Material: Other
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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