Alex Florov: Smooth Pitcher with Bamboo Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-354-0234

Alex Florov was originally born in Moscow, Russia, and has spent the vast majority of his professional adult life working with both exotic and delicate materials, as he spent many years repairing museum-pieces for the Russian antiquities market. In 1992 he moved to Chicago where he started work as an industrial designer and, in 2004, was challenged by his father-in-law to make a pipe. The result of this was a pipe, of course, but also a legacy that has persisted since then and transcended the generations, with his daughter Dasha picking up the torch of her own accord not too long after her father started. Using mostly hand tools, Florov crafts pipes of exceptional quality, pipes such as this striking Pitcher.

What immediately strikes me at first glance here is the incredibly architectural outline offered by the shank and its bamboo extension, the combination here growing out from a tightly-knit transition where the shank lifts and tapers gently to meet a band of black vulcanite. At this point, a nearly vertical stretch of bamboo numbering a staggering 12 knuckles of the dense grass takes hold, rising tall and flaring out to its face: The face itself is covered by a band of black vulcanite, though this band has been expertly and painstakingly carved to resemble the asymmetrical and sporadic nodules that line the knuckles themselves before giving way to a demurely curved and stylized saddle stem. The vulcanite ring's detail is not only extremely impressive in its presentation, but it solidifies the organicism present in the silhouette and captures one's attention as soon as it's recognized thanks to its subtle integration. The large nodules present on the bamboo's surfaces are additionally accented with a smoky-hued wood that evades identification but offers a lovely bit of contrasting color.

A flattened heel allows for easy sitting and supports the bowl, the sitting ability of this pipe a testament to the wonderful balance it's been carved to maintain. Atop this heel rises an asymmetric, Dublin-like bowl that slopes down to the left forward side as it expands out to a broad and impressive rim, which is kissed with crags and crevices of plateau, with the peaks having been sanded down to a smooth surface. A chamfer into the rim allows for easy loading of tobacco and the bowl's own curling lean forward adds a vibrantly expressive and dynamic element to the silhouette which is stylistically balanced by the aerially-inclined shank and stem. Dressed in a warm, vibrant contrast stain, the stummel here showcases windswept flame wrapping around the flanks of the bowl, while the rim is populated by dense pinpricks of birdseye that peek out from crevices of plateau.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.50 in./165.10 mm.
  • Weight: 1.98 oz./56.25 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.04 in./51.82 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.54 in./39.12 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.81 in./20.57 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.11 in./53.59 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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