This past week saw the introduction of Konstantinos Anastasopoulos pipes to smokingpipes.com. If you haven't seen them, I highly suggest you do before they are all gone. Tackling a bit of an enigma, Bear set out to learn more about this pipemaker and his craft.
Bear Graves:When and where were you born?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: I was born in Athens in 1980.
Bear Graves: Where do you live now? Is your workshop in your home?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: I live in Athens and yes my workshop is in my home.
Bear Graves: At what age did the idea of pipe smoking appeal to you? Did you have men in your life, whom you looked up to, who might have smoked a pipe?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: About four years ago, when I was 30 years old, an old bent pipe gave me the idea for pipe making. I wanted to make a pipe small and modern to better suit my age. None in my family or my friends was pipe smoker. The whole thing with smoking pipes came to me from myself.
Bear Graves: Do you smoke a pipe yourself? If so, what types of blends do you prefer?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: Of course. I was a cigarette smoker, but when I discovered the pipe world, cigarettes were in the past. I prefer Virginias and Va/Pers.
Bear Graves: What, aside from pipemaking, is your vocation?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: I am also a painter with some solo and group exhibitions.
Bear Graves: What skills might you have picked up before becoming a pipe maker, which helped once you started pipe making?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: The most important thing for me, is the need for creation, the need to create something beautiful. Secondly you must have the "eye" or the aesthetics to create something beautiful. Painting helped me to increase my imagination, originality, and the ability to express what I have in my mind. Other things, such as how to use the tools, how to drill, or to use files and sandpapers, are things that I improve day by day forever.
Bear Graves: Who was the maker of your first quality pipe?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: My teacher in pipe making was Kostas Gourvelos. I learned to make pipes on pipes that we made together. So I can say that this first pipe has his knowledge and his quality.
Bear Graves: When did you create your first pipe that you were proud of, one that you felt was worthy to sell?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: I think that was the 4th or 5th pipe. As I remember, it was a great moment for me.
Bear Graves: What is the origin/source of your briar, and, roughly, how long is it seasoned prior use?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: For many years I have used briar from many countries, but in the last two years I've used only Greek briar that I have aged in my workshop for two years at least.
Bear Graves: Having looked at your pipes, it appears that ebonite/vulcanite is your stem material of choice, is that accurate?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: Yes, I find that material more noble and natural in the mouth.
Bear Graves: Do you hand cut your stems?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: Yes. I do not like the ready made stems. I have my method on stem making and I work only with rods.
Bear Graves: Do you prefer delrin for your tenons, or do you elect to turn your tenons?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: I prefer to make the tenon one part with the stem. I do not like glue. Also I reinforce the tenon with stainless steel for better durability.
Bear Graves: What size are your draft holes?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: My standard air hole is 4mm diameter from the chamber to tenon and from tenon to slot is 4mm to 1,8mm conical.
Bear Graves: In your debut pipes, I notice a nice mixture of reinterpreted traditional shapes, as well as some very imaginative new forms. How would you describe your artistic theme ?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: I am very taken with the classic shapes but I feel the need to give them a more personal touch. As for the free forms, normally the briar itself leads me to the form. I am inspired from everything around me, most of all nature.
Bear Graves: What pipe makers, if any, have aided you in your progress as a pipe maker?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: First of all my teacher Kostas Gourvelos who taught me the basics of pipe making. After him, my trip to Denmark gave me the opportunity to meet and learn many things from the great masters as Tom Eltang, Poul Ilsted, Manduela, Nanna Ivarson, Tao, and Former. Furthermore, on my travels for exhibitions I meet many pipe makers that I discuss and exchange knowledge on pipe making.
Bear Graves: Looking at the broadest spectrum of great pipemakers, either living or passed, whose work do you most admire?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: I admire Tom Eltang's creative mind, Alex Florov's elegant free forms and Paolo Becker's "modern" classic shapes.
Bear Graves: Do you have a nickname, one that you like and we might use? An odd question, but a nickname, even if simply a shortened version of your given or surname, creates a greater sense of personal connection with collectors, as well as allows us not to simply repeat your same first/last name in a description (reads a bit better).
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: I know that my name is long and difficult but I do not have any nickname. Many people mention me as "K. Anastasopoulos" or just "K.A."
Bear Graves: What kind of music do you like?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: I like very much Nuevo Tango and also world ethnic and rock.
Bear Graves: What are your favorite things to do, when away from work?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: I like to paint, to read, to do yoga and meditation, tango dance and travel.
Bear Graves: Do you have a favorite sports team?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: No. I am not good with sports.
Bear Graves: To those unfamiliar with it, what is the correct pronunciation of your name?
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: Kon-sta-DEE-nos A-na-sta-SO-pou-los
Bear Graves: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. It's been great.
Konstantinos Anastasopoulos: Don't hesitate to ask me anything you need. Thank you very much
Don't forget to check out our selection of Konstantinos Anastasopoulos pipes!