Twenty years ago I was living in the Bavarian Alps where pipe smoking is much more popular than here in the U.S. I remember hiking through the mountains one day when a man smoking a pipe walked past me. The aroma was wonderful; kind of a woody campfire note mixed with a subtle cherry flavor. I remember thinking how pleasant it would be to have that fragrance surrounding me all the time so the very next day I borrowed a pipe from a friend, poured a generous amount of his dry tobacco into the bowl, struck a match, and…I hated it. Yes, it seemed it was much more pleasant to have someone else do the smoking for you while you just sit there and enjoy that delicious roomnote. What I didn’t know is how important a good pipe is to the smoking ritual. Since then I’ve learned how the mechanics of a pipe affect the smoke and thus, the entire smoking experience. If I only had access to a good pipe that day I would not have wasted so much time in appreciating the wonderful qualities of a good pipe smoke. I make my pipes with these mechanics in mind, considering everything from the draw and how the smoke travels through the pipe to the materials I use.
In addition, I try to create pipes that are aesthetically pleasing. By manipulating the pipe’s angles I search for the shapes that best show the wood’s grain whether it’s a stunning display of straight grain running up the bowl and shank, or a brilliant show of birdseye adorning the rim. The end product is an Edwin pipe; a pipe that smokes well and is beautiful to the eye.
As I continue to create new shapes and carve pipes distinctive to the Edwin name, I keep one eye fixed on artisans who have inspired my craft. As colleagues, customers, and collectors I also consider you as part of the story to help encourage and influence my work.
Kris Edwin Barber
Listen to the “Pipes Magazine” radio interview with Kris Edwin Barber here.