Sabina Santos Pipes1 Total
Sabina Santos lives in Portugal, a country that lacks a wide availability of handmade pipes. It was only through the internet that she discovered the community, her imagination immediately captured by the beauty to be found in humble briar shaped by a skilled craftsman. It was this creative impulse that pushed her to make her first pipes, not long after leaving her job in corporate finance. She made mistakes, as any new carver would, but she learned from them, and learned quickly.
Sabina worked in near isolation, learning what she could through trial and error. But her desire to improve was greater than the limits of her location. She left, one day, for Denmark — a trip that would transform her pipemaking. There, she was mentored by Joao Reis, who was born in her home of Portugal, while also learning from the likes of Tom Eltang, Kai Nielsen, Tao, and Kurt Balleby. After seven weeks of intense study under some of the world's greatest pipemakers, she returned home. Sabina wasn't done there though; her desire to improve predicated yet another trip to Denmark. She visited various other carvers, like her first trip, but the highlight this time was her visit with Hans "Former" Nielsen. Every pipemaker who has ever spent any amount of time in Nielsen's workshop will tell you they're a better artisan because of it. So, Sabina stayed and learned longer than anyone else before her, studying for over a week under Nielsen's tutelage. During that time, she honed her finishing skills, bettered her bamboo work, and perfected other fine engineering details of the craft.
Her pipes first caught our attention two years ago, and the progress she has made in that time is inspirational. The quality of her finishes, her elegant shaping aesthetic, her passion, and creative eye for design all surpass her experience. She has already evolved current shapes to her own style, tweaking and making them her own (check out her Calabashes for an excellent example). Sabina is one of those rare individuals who not only has a natural talent for the craft, but an unwavering enthusiasm for design and execution, all while making it look easy.