Sabina Santos: Smooth Bent Apple with Bamboo Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-817-0037

Sabina Santos' journey into the ream of artisan pipe making began with a simple desire: to express her creativity in a palpable, functional way. Inspired by her husband, a long-time pipe smoker, she found exactly that outlet in pipe making, able to craft beautiful, functioning works of art that are made to be held, appreciated, and, above all, smoked. For three years she was an autodidact, learning what she could from the internet, before embarking on a pilgrimage to Denmark where she spent eight weeks learning techniques in drilling, shaping, design, and finishing from artisans such as Kai Nielsen and Tom Eltang, before spending a full week in the workshop of Hans "Former" Nielsen. This had a major impact on the stylings of her future work, and it is doubtlessly present in this bent Apple, in fact, I would argue that the Danish influence here is readily apparent, especially in the soft curvature of the lines and gentle, organic asymmetry offered by the bamboo.

When I speak of asymmetry here, I mean to attest to some of the subtlest, most painstakingly fostered organicism I've ever seen in a pipe. Bamboo, being a natural material, is not wont to readily form into straight lines, and its growth can vary by infinitesimally small amounts in nearly any direction, making "perfect" lengths of the dense grass difficult to find. It is therefore that only the best artisans can incorporate these naturally wavering segments into their compositions and compensate for their vertical and horizontal travel. Santos does this with a startling degree of success here, as the five dense knuckles curve upward and make a very slight right turn. She, in turn, has constructed her stem to counter this by veering it very slightly left, keeping the slot perfectly in line with the tobacco chamber: a feat of both artistry and engineering. Not only this, but the base of the saddle stem has been slanted, mimicking the angular orientation of several of the knuckles, continuing both their rhythm and their organic appearance.

The shank is incredibly trim here, and it meets the bowl with a deep cheeking, accentuating the pipe's organic leaning, as if the plump bowl were a blossom or bud perched at the end of a thin branch. A very understated lift to the heel pushes the bowl into a slight bit more prominence, allowing one to further appreciate its rotund, bulbous, low-set waistline and the arcing taper it develops to the rim. Dressing this pipe is a smooth, natural finish of only wax and polish to showcase the briar's natural palette and contrast the paler bamboo, black stem, and slanted black spacer where the bamboo meets the shank, not only offering a beautiful palette, but showcasing dense, windswept flame on the left flank of the bowl and stunning straight grain on the right, with the rim and underside peppered by pinpricks of birdseye.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.73 in./145.54 mm.
  • Weight: 1.40 oz./39.69 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.70 in./43.18 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.53 in./38.86 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in./20.07 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.75 in./44.45 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Apple
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Portugal
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