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Estate 1996 Talbert - The Twisted Egg 

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 Price: $SOLD
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The quick story - I've recently gotten hold of a large cache of my older pipes as part of a generous gift to help us pay my wife's cancer surgery expenses. Over the next weeks, I'll be gradually posting them as I get them cleaned, inspected, etc. Many of these pipes are NEW and UNSMOKED and have been part of a display collection, sometimes for as much as 20 years!

With this pipe and the Saruman, we're now into the seriously rare, very collectible work. This pipe was one of the first three pipes I ever made! A lot of craftsmen cringe over their early work and while this pipe has its rough bits compared to later production, I'm proud to think that it still holds plenty of its original impact today. When I was carving it, I wanted to do literally everything differently from the usual pipes I saw in shops, and the one visual cue that stands out obvious here is the sense of the organic - I wanted it to look "alive". In a nutshell, I wanted it to look unlike any other pipes I'd seen to that point, and the thing to remember is that this was the mid-late 90's and 99% of the pipes that I or anyone else saw were the ones in B&M shop displays. Which is to say, conventional classic shapes or Danish freehands, at the wildest, but nothing like the vast proliferation of exotic pipe styles on the internet today.

This Twisted Egg, then, was very much "me unfiltered" since there was no one back then to copy styling like this from. I knew I wanted a sense of movement, a feeling that the pipe was somehow in a slightly disturbing phase of mid-transition from one form to another. I also wanted to use this organic shaping to further accentuate the grain of the wood, which one can see especially in the detail of the twisting shank - I would wet the wood to see the grain angles and where the flat planes needed to be for the bird's-eye, and then cut my "sinews" and structure around that.

The block ended up having a spattering of minor spots all through it, but from that I decided to try combining rusticated areas with smooth areas. I didn't generally like pipes with what I thought of as "And there's where he rusticated over the flaw" styling, so I wanted to try to blend the rustication INTO the shape, and let it fade out of the twists in the shank. I was only partially successful with this, but I didn't yet have any proper rustication tools - I did this entire pipe with a Dremel and the basic Dremel tools you can buy in any home supply place. I think/hope I did an OK job of it as I tried hard not to have it look like "Dremel rustication" (which is a really obvious sort of look once you've seen it).

In terms of condition, I've cleaned and reamed the bowl chamber and applied a new bowl carbonizing, and cleaned and polished the stem. There's a bit of rim char at the front of the bowl chamber but I opted to leave it as-is instead of "topping" the bowl and trying to match 23 year old stain and smoke darkening.

When I finished it in '96 I was really pleased with the final result and still am today. It was one of the first few pipes I sold, and I turned the money from it around into buying a micro-lathe for the workshop, and from that point on Talbert Pipes was born. This pipe, the Saruman, and the pipe that won the P&T carving contest are very much the foundation pipes for the 21 years of pipecarving adventures since, so it has more than a wee bit of historical significance to me. More so, this pipe was my first stab at the sort of sinister, askew, slightly warped stylistic sense that would eventually give birth to my Halloween Pipes and more in years to come, so it's DOUBLY a foundation piece.

Comes with its original signed scroll, also!

Also, I was goofing around and made up a few wallpapers of this pipe. All are 16:9. Click the thumbnails to download the fullsize versions.