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Talbert Briar #2001TB 'Near Dark' 

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 Price: $SOLD
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First Talbert Briar of 2020! And not just the first of 2020, but the first since early in 2019, not counting the Pumpkin King who was started in 2016. When it's been so long, I get like a lot of creative types and start to worry that I've completely forgotten how to do anything. Yeah, I know it's silly, but there it is - Go months without doing a thing and it spurs a lot of, "Can I still do this?" The main thing is just to jump in. As the old saying goes, activity sparks inspiration, not vice versa. I knew going in that I wanted to do a freehand, something that would look distinctly "Talbert-ish", and preferably something where I could utilize our 'Near Dark' finish to the max. I've experimented with this finish a good bit on Ligne Bretagnes but they just lack the budget hours to allow for really sinking a lot of time into creating this look. It takes multiple applications of the darkening process, careful layering of darkening techniques, and VERY careful final sanding to make it reveal *just* enough grain to be tantalizing without losing that overall "almost black" look.

Anyone interested in seeing the creation of this pipe is encouraged to check out our Instagram page, where I've been posting frequent photos of the work on it, step by step. I debated a bit over whether to go for contrast with the shank ring, via something ivory or bone colored, but chose instead to stick with a closer overall color harmony. The stem is handcut German ebonite, and IIRC I even posted a few Instagram pics of how it was shaped. The bit is cut comfortably thin and yet will still pass an extra-fluffy pipecleaner from bit to bowl.

Probably the oddest bit of character it has is the bowl rim. I'd initially simply flattened it off, but decided that wasn't interesting enough and so instead created a shifting curve to the rim - It goes from a rising concave curve on the left side of the bowl to a rounded, downward-curving convex curve on the right. I tried to capture this in the photos and hope it came out visible. I think it's a neat and subtle effect.