So what is an Edwin Pipe? To begin with, they come from Northern Minnesota in the heart of the Superior National Forrest. There’s definitely an influence of outdoors and nature in each one. There’s also an element of fantasy infused within their design. They display a holistic aura of a complete pipe. Not just a bowl and a stem, but an agreement between the two from bowl to button. Their graceful lines flow from end to end and the pipes are instantly recognizable as an Edwin. These qualities took years to develop. So how did this unique Edwin character come into being? Well, that story goes back a few years.
In 2010 I saw an artisan pipe that blew my mind. The graceful lines, the beautiful grain display, the overall artistry of the piece completely captured me. I don’t even remember who the maker was but I owe them a big debt of gratitude because that pipe set me on a course that completely altered my life. The next few weeks saw me pouring over the internet, exploring other carver’s works and creations. I couldn’t get enough. Soon I decided I wanted my own pipe treasures so I scoured eBay. I found dirty old estate pipes to sand, scrub, and stain. What was old became new. I improved my craft and began to relist the refurbished pieces for a profit. Before long those refurbs afforded me a complete workshop full of new tools and materials. But the important thing those hundreds of refurbs did for me was teach me to know the mechanics of a great smoking pipe. I came to recognize sound drilling as well as faulty tenon spacing. I noticed superior angles as well as inferior wall thickness. They were my tuition.
After two years and hundreds of refurbs, the time had come. I sat on a fully-stocked workshop and a head full of knowledge. On a whim I bought a block of briar and made my first pipe. The joy of creating took me and suddenly I had this new outlet for my own artistry. I never refurbed another. I learned to work with the briar’s grain. I followed my artistic flair and little by little I infused original, flowing elements to my creations. I found that I had this very unique style that somehow captured a whimsical yet elegant character. My style gelled and took form. I experimented with new techniques and I learned from other great carvers who inspired me.
As one who was never completely comfortable in corporate America, the day came when I finally quit my regular job to make pipes full-time. In 2018 I left the world of middle management and moved the shop to the shores of Lake Superior. The persistence and love of the craft paid off and success followed. I am grateful to both the new fans of Edwin Pipes as well as all the long-time pipe aficionados and collectors who have followed my work through the years. Their support keeps me exploring new territory as I continue to grow and refine my craft.