Every single piece of wood is full of possibilities. A craftsman's job is to discover its potential and bring it to life."
Todd M. Johnson from Nashville, Tennessee, crafts hand-made tobacco pipes in his workshop. Yet for him it is more than just a trade. He regards crafting the pipes as an art form. The form is not simply there to fulfill the function. But rather form and function are deeply entwined and create a perfect unity. Statements like these make it clear: Mr. Todd lives for his work as a pipe craftsman. Yet he discovered his calling more by chance. As a qualified woodworker he was already familiar with the material and the many tools. He made his first pipe as a gift for a friend. Working on this piece awoke his passion for pipes and crafting them.
The tobacco pipe is almost as old as smoking tobacco itself – the oldest piece found dates from 1500 BC. In the 19th century it was the most common way of consuming tobacco alongside snuff and chewing tobacco. Today it remains an integral part of the culture in many North and South American countries. Although the pipe has been increasingly replaced by cigarettes, today it has become more of a statement than a simple smoking instrument. Pipe smokers are now regarded as true connoisseurs. Pipes are available in numerous shapes and colors, made from a vast range of materials, manufactured by machine or crafted by hand. Those who discover their passion for pipes are often enthusiasts for life.
This was also the case for Mr. Todd. He decided to completely dedicate himself to his newly discovered passion, acquired the necessary tools and went to work in his newly equipped workshop. He also spoke with other craftsmen to improve his technique. Trever Talbert's work, in particular, has had a major influence on him and his style.
The pipe maker from Nashville sets high standards for himself and his craft. That is why his pipes are intended for "discerning collectors", explains Mr. Todd. His work is primarily distinguished by a unique drilling and turning technique. When it comes to the form and color, the artist draws his inspiration from areas as diverse as automotive design and ancient Japanese weapons.
In his workshop he creates artistic unique pieces for passionate pipe smokers.