Sabina Santos: Smooth Calabash with Mammoth and Holly (G) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-817-0050

Sabina Santos' start within the pipe world started at an unexpected point, with her quitting her job in the financial sector to focus on raising her son. Craving a hobby that would both keep her brain occupied and result in the creation of useful, beautiful objects, she carved a pipe for the first time after being inspired by her husband's own experimentations in shaping briar. Immediately she fell in love with the craft, starting a nearly decade-long career that's seen her travel to Denmark twice to train with some of the most influential artisans in the world, including Hans "Former" Nielsen, Tom Eltang, and Kurt Balleby. Her personal style fuses Danish design with a uniquely organic dynamism for shapes that are both singular and beautiful, such as this Calabash, a shape that we've seen from her before, though never in these more reserved dimensions.

That being said, this pipe is in no way compact, but is quite robust overall, presenting with a bowl that's extremely palm-filling, flaring out from a tight transition that lends this piece one of its more distinctive features. The overt angularity of the profile here contributes to a silhouette which is utterly unmissable and incredibly dynamic, poising the shank and stem for unparalleled jaw-hanging potential. The transition here enables the briar to take on a rigid, upward-urging stance that firms up the transitional area of the shank's underside, making the flare to the bowl's rim all the more enthralling. The aforementioned shank is a slightly compressed, ovoid shape which takes on a subtle flare through the flanks, terminating in a junction marked by a domed fitment of mammoth. This area also starts the travel of a continuous ridge which runs the length of the stummel on the right side, plunging down through the transition and rising with the bowl and sweeping heel.

Capping off the bowl is a, well, cap of holly whose grain and pale hues contrast the finish of the stummel quite well and seemingly ends the travel of the ridge. However, Santos has very subtly shaped this cap to include a slight outcropping of holly on the right, pointed just so in order to stylistically continue the ridge's reach. This peaked cap flares out from the rest of the bowl to great effect as it sits cradled by a ring of cork around the hollow interior of the briar, making this a true Calabash and calling back to renditions we've seen from past centuries, not only functionally but in its deeply curved stance. The interior of the rim is chamfered and made from an insert of briar which additionally forms the true chamber, its smooth surface showcasing the vibrant contrast stain of the rest of the burl. This not only enhances the contrast present at the fore, but acts as a preview for the truly astounding display of grain present beneath the cap, the rich walnut hues revealing streaks of flame and cross grain following the flanks while the underside is awash with an ocean of dense birdseye throughout. This piece is a superlative offering from the Portuguese artisan, and has earned her G grade, denoting her best work and honoring her son.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.45 in./163.83 mm.
  • Weight: 2.90 oz./82.21 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.66 in./42.16 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.23 in./31.24 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in./19.05 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.42 in./61.47 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Calabash
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Portugal
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