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Talbert Halloween Pipe #1601H "The Ghost Ship" 

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 Price: $SOLD
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The first Talbert Halloween pipe since early 2014! We spent too much of 2015 in one crisis after another to ever be in a Halloween-ey mood, but recently I decided to essentially just play in the shop for a bit... To make some pipes that *I* liked without worrying about whether anyone else would like them or not, and this was born from that decision - Not unlike the very first set of Halloween pipes way back in 2000! For a long time, I've made a set of pipes called "Old Sea Captains" which were basically seriously craggy sandblasts, usually pokers, with a nautical theme that typically utilized one of our handcut stems in Sargasso. Sargasso is my name for this blended resin - I mix and cast it myself into plates, with the goal being to create the look of ocean water, sun shining through a wave speckled with seaweed. It's beautiful material, and unique to our shop.

So, the Old Sea Captains have always been a popular style for me, but when I sat down to work on this pipe I wanted to take it further... To go beyond the simple cragginess of the Old Sea Captain and make something worthy of the Talbert Halloween stamping, something that was wilder, more exotic, and more dynamic. The shape of this pipe evolved with the grain of the block. I knew I wanted a powerful sense of movement, of a pipe that was almost coming to life and surging forward, and from there it was a short hop to the overall theme for the pipe, a Ghost Ship. A Flying Dutchman, forever sailing storm-tossed seas.

Followers of our Instagram account have gotten to watch some of the creation of this pipe recently, but I'll repost some of those photos here as well. The stem is handcut Sargasso resin, fitted with twin brass rings surrounding a sandblasted center section of naturally black Breton morta:

It can be a challenging material to file and shape, but one of the advantages of the translucent coloring is that it shows off the sculpted design of my airhole interiors, which I try to give a beauty of their own:

I knew I wanted the shape and the sandblasting to be the "stars" of this pipe, but that entailed shaping the bowl very much in harmony with the flow of the grain and the age rings. This meant that the creation of the bowl was a back-and-forth process of trips between sandblaster and shaping wheel:

The sandblasting alone took more time than entire other pipes I've made, but I hope the effort shows - It's probably the best sandblast I've produced in a few years at least. Every age ring stands out strong and defined, and the craggy tips of every bird's-eye point are clearly visible. It's the sort of bowl that one can just look at and look at, and always see something new.

It's a huge pipe, so it's not for anyone looking for something small and compact. I can put my entire little finger into the bowl chamber and barely reach the bottom! When I saw how detailed the blast pattern was, I knew the pipe had to be black... It's almost a Giger-esque surface, extremely intricate and "briar skeletal" in its structure. But I've become fond of the black & natural color theme for Halloween pipes, so I chose to make the natural plateau rim unstained... which was quite a trick, I can tell you, given the propensity for the black stain to want to leech over the edges! Ultimately I had to stain and finish the entire pipe, then wrap the whole body in masking and re-sandblast the bowl rim to remove any black from the edges to give it that crisp look of demarcation between black sides and natural top.

The pipe ships with the handmade custom Halloween bag seen in the final photo above, complete with skull-beaded drawstrings.

Halloween in March? Maybe it's too early for others, but all I can say is, I wanted to do something that was enjoyable for me and that was exactly what I wanted to make, without having to worry about whether it would sell, or if the marketing timing was good, or any of that crap. The last year has been one long mess of stress for me and if anything, this pipe is me having fun again.