Wolfgang Becker: Smooth Bent Brandy with Mastodon Ivory (Double Wolf Paw)
It seems to be a repeating theme amongst great pipemakers active today; they come across the work of one established master or another, become fascinated with the design and craftsmanship, yet recognize that they can't afford to purchase one, and in response begin shaping briar themselves, in the hopes of learning how to make such beautiful smoking instruments by their own hands. That's how Wolfgang Becker himself began, the seed of his own work germinating with an article on Lars Ivarsson. Even as a disciplined autodidact, it still took years before he was ready to begin marketing his own creations to the public, but the efforts have payed of in spades. He is now one of the world's premier pipemaking artisans. Here we find clear evidence of both his carefully cultivated skills and the original Danish inspiration that got him started. This ivory-trimmed bent Brandy evinces a Scandinavian flow and gesture, while also sporting both a German tendency towards sturdier proportions and a minimalist smoothness of line and form that goes beyond even what is typical of the signature look of the "Danish school" - not to mention, of course, a perfectly oriented combination of light and lively flame grain as well as beautiful birdseye.
- Eric N. Squires