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 Artisan, or Pipemaker?

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eklektos44

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PostSubject: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:27 am

What is the difference between an Artisan and a Pipe maker for you? Is it the quality, styling, price, number of pipes in a year, that they're handmade, or something else? Thoughts?
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riff raff

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:59 am

I supposed that an elevated skill level might earn the term "artisan" but to me, they are synonymous.
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eklektos44

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:28 am

riff raff wrote:
I supposed that an elevated skill level might earn the term "artisan" but to me, they are synonymous.  

Well an artisan is certainly a pipe maker,. But I was more curious about what people thought were the characteristics that separated an artisan from just a pipemaker. Skill would be a factor.
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monbla256

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:13 pm

eklektos44 wrote:
riff raff wrote:
I supposed that an elevated skill level might earn the term "artisan" but to me, they are synonymous.  

Well an artisan is certainly a pipe maker,. But I was more curious about what people thought were the characteristics that separated an artisan from just a pipemaker. Skill would be a factor.

Are you using the term "pipemaker" to designate a firm or worker at a pipe making company as opposed to an individual who works at making pipes alone in their "studio"? You really have not defined the differences you seem to imply in your terms! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil To me, if I work in the Savinelli factory I'm a "pipemaker" and if I work making pipes by myself I probably would call myself an "Artison" strictly for marketing and pricing reasons as opposed to just a "pipemaker" though that is what I am Twisted Evil Twisted Evil


Last edited by monbla256 on Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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eklektos44

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:15 pm

monbla256 wrote:
eklektos44 wrote:
riff raff wrote:
I supposed that an elevated skill level might earn the term "artisan" but to me, they are synonymous.  

Well an artisan is certainly a pipe maker,. But I was more curious about what people thought were the characteristics that separated an artisan from just a pipemaker. Skill would be a factor.

Are you using the term "pipemaker" to designate a firm or worker at a pipe making company as opposed to an individual who works at making pipes alone in their "studio"? You really have not defined the differences you seem to imply in your terms! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

I'm not implying anything actually. I was simply curious as to what people saw as the difference. You seem to be saying that an artisan makes pipes as a solo endeavor. Oh, and please don't read biases into the question. Wink
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monbla256

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:18 pm

eklektos44 wrote:
monbla256 wrote:
eklektos44 wrote:
riff raff wrote:
I supposed that an elevated skill level might earn the term "artisan" but to me, they are synonymous.  

Well an artisan is certainly a pipe maker,. But I was more curious about what people thought were the characteristics that separated an artisan from just a pipemaker. Skill would be a factor.

Are you using the term "pipemaker" to designate a firm or worker at a pipe making company as opposed to an individual who works at making pipes alone in their "studio"? You really have not defined the differences you seem to imply in your terms! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

I'm not implying anything actually. I was simply curious as to what people saw as the difference. Don't read biases into the question. Wink

Fair enough but HOW DO YOU define these two terms? Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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eklektos44

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:19 pm

I asked an opinion, I didn't share one. Why do you seem to want to make this combat?
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monbla256

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:28 pm

eklektos44 wrote:
I asked an opinion, I didn't share one. Why do you seem to want to make this combat?

No combat. Relax. Just asking for more info. I really could care less about "Artison" Pipemakers as it's a term used usually to inflate selling prices of pipes. There, there's an opinion, make you happy ?? Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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joshoowah

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:40 pm

I used to not use the term "artisan" out of sheer disdain for hipster lingo, but the term seems to be sticking these days. An artisan, to me, would be an individual pipe maker rather than one who makes factory pipes. For instance, while the new Briarworks brands (Icarus, etc.) may be owned and designed by artisans, they are not artisan pipes. They are factory made pipes with a higher price tag because of who backs them.

Either way, the terms are fairly synonymous, unless further clarification is given.
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Richard Burley

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:41 pm

Let's start with a definition, one as good as any: "a person or company that makes a high-quality or distinctive product in small quantities, usually by hand or using traditional methods: our favorite local food artisans."

Few civilians, when hearing the word artisan are going to think of a pipemaker. So you can't really say that the words are synonymous, except of course on a pipe forum. Seems to me that "artisan pipemaker" would be the way to go in general usage, implying something resembling the definition above, and excluding colossi like Savinelli and Peterson.

The word, of course, is not to be confused with "artiste," which as everyone knows, is a gay pipemaker--and there's certainly nothing wrong with that. Some of my best pipes were made by artistes.
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tslots

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:55 pm

If we go by the definitions:

artisan = a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.  
(Based on the Latin "artitus" meaning "instruct in the arts")
pipe maker = someone who makes pipes

Then it would seem to me that someone who works in the Dr. Grabow factory cranking out pipes on machines for 8 hrs a day (assembly line style) would fall into the more general pipe maker category.    

To me an artisan has a bit more of the art involved.  Taking pieces of briar or other appropriate woods and seeing where it leads in terms of making a pipe shape that is seen in their mind.   Machines can be involved in the process, but lots of hand work also.   Also, an artisan usually determines when the pipe is actually "finished" vs. just having a functional pipe.  Sometimes this involves scrapping efforts and starting over again.


Last edited by tslots on Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:11 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Sasquatch

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:56 pm

All these definitional kind of things are a little slippery.

Can we assume that artisanal pipes are made by one maker? S. Bangs are made by two guys. So they are out. LOL I didn't get very far.

Because I focus on basically traditional English, French, and Italian shapes, does that make me something different than a guy making Danish styled stuff? One seeker of Danish-style pipe design said to me at a show "I see you more as a craftsman than an artist." I didn't disagree. The question of course, becomes "is THAT guy an artist because he glues a hunk of whale tooth to the end of a tear drop shank?". The definitions are unclear, the meanings clearer.


There's about 8 zillion guys hammering pipes out of their garage or basement right now. I don't consider most of them artisanal pipe makers, because to me, I want to see a certain skillset mastered before I call a guy an artisan. Pulling a lumpy, over-salted loaf of bread out of the oven doesn't make me an artisanal baker, it makes me a shitty baker. There's lots of that in the pipe world right now.

So I'd apply the label "artisan" to guys who have put in time, perfected skills, possibly guys who have shown that they have a recognizeable style (this is a whole nother kettle of fish really). Whether their intent is to make art or not... I don't think that's too relevant in our context. The intent to make something unique, and wonderful, and presumably as good as it can be, combined with enough skill to get it there....

It's probably a thing where we aren't going to generate a definition that works for every case, and certainly even inside the community, people kind of shrug about terms like "artisanal" and "handmade" because in a way, every pipe is those things, no matter what. Our intent with defining something is by necessity to exclude something else, and it's kind of unclear in these cases what we are hoping to exclude. Badly made pipes? Ugly pipes? Who judges this? scratch lol!
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eklektos44

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:14 pm

monbla256 wrote:
eklektos44 wrote:
I asked an opinion, I didn't share one. Why do you seem to want to make this combat?

No combat. Relax. Just asking for more info. I really could care less about "Artison" Pipemakers as it's a term used usually to inflate selling prices of pipes. There, there's an opinion, make you happy ?? Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

Well, as you asked I usually associate "artisan" with older production methods usually handmade. Which actually lets out almost all pipes made today. It's not necessarily solo, as an artisans workshop may have many people working in it, such as apprentices, ect. It's almost a pre-industrial term.

As an aside I would consider Roy Underhill an artisan.
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Sasquatch

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:29 pm

LOL yeah we just pour blocks and rods in the machine, and out comes a pipe!
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eklektos44

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:31 pm

Sasquatch wrote:
LOL yeah we just pour blocks and rods in the machine, and out comes a pipe!

Not what I said. Some people use the term more broadly than I do perhaps. But there is something to the term that implies a pre-industrial means of production.
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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:34 pm

I'm surprised there's been this much input on  the topic, lol.

It's just a designation which has become popular to denote an individual hobbyist/pipe maker from the larger, mass produced makers.

I think it's kind of cool to see guys who I remember as newbs here on BoB now as successful pipe makers. cheers



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eklektos44

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:38 pm

MisterE wrote:
I'm surprised there's been this much input on  the topic, lol.

It's just a designation which has become popular to denote an individual hobbyist/pipe maker from the larger, mass produced makers.

I think it's kind of cool to see guys who I remember as newbs here on BoB now as successful pipe makers.  cheers



Well I was just curious as it seems a pretty nebulous term as used today. There's a lot of "artisan' cheese makers who actually mass produce their products for example. I am somewhat taken aback at the defensiveness about it though. I appreciate a well made pipe, so how it was produced really becomes irrelevant. Wink
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monbla256

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:47 pm

As an example of how nebulous the term "artisan" can be, what would one call the Autograph series produced in the Savinelli factory? they are ALL made by one of 5/6 craftsman, in one of a kind shapes and quantities ( no duplicates of shapes ala standard shaped production ) ? I would term them as "Artison" pipes IMHO Twisted Evil Twisted Evil So much for the one man, one pipe idea as these folks work in a FACTORY that turns out 1000's of pipes a year !! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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eklektos44

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:03 pm

monbla256 wrote:
As an example of how nebulous the term "artisan" can be, what would one call the Autograph series produced in the Savinelli factory? they are ALL made by one of 5/6 craftsman, in one of a kind shapes and quantities ( no duplicates of shapes ala standard shaped production ) ? I would term them as "Artison" pipes IMHO Twisted Evil Twisted Evil  So much for the one man, one pipe idea as these folks work in a FACTORY that turns out 1000's of pipes a year !! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

You know, with all the Italian pipes I own I don't have a Savinelli. I'm going to have to look into an Autograph. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:04 pm

Yeah I'm just playing around, man.

I think for most solo pipemakers, a lot of the production means ARE pre-industrial or nearly so because in making one-off pieces having machines (which are by nature best at replication) isn't super helpful. There are machines that will make stems, but none of us "solo artisans" have them, we use files to cut the button etc. Lots of handwork.

But yeah, the lathe (x2), the sander, the polishing wheels, it's all modern, for sure. But the skills and knowledge to get something out of those things... that's the part that I guess I'd focus on. I don't need the machines to make a nice pipe - they make things faster. My hands, I need.
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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:04 pm

Well, it's really just semantics. Maybe there should be a distinction of some sort, like the designation "Grandmaster" in chess. Not just anyone can call themselves one. In the end,  I think Artisan Pipe Maker is simply easier to market than Home Pipe Carver, even if the individual might be one and the same.

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eklektos44

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:06 pm

Sasquatch wrote:
Yeah I'm just playing around, man.  

I think for most solo pipemakers, a lot of the production means ARE pre-industrial or nearly so because in making one-off pieces having machines (which are by nature best at replication) isn't super helpful.  There are machines that will make stems, but none of us "solo artisans" have them, we use files to cut the button etc.   Lots of handwork.  

But yeah, the lathe (x2), the sander, the polishing wheels, it's all modern, for sure.  But the skills and knowledge to get something out of those things... that's the part that I guess I'd focus on.  I don't need the machines to make a nice pipe - they make things faster.    My hands, I need.  

Heh, you get a lathe like Underhill uses, foot powered. lol!
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eklektos44

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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:10 pm

MisterE wrote:
Well, it's really just semantics. Maybe there should be a distinction of some sort, like the designation "Grandmaster" in chess. Not just anyone can call themselves one. In the end,  I think Artisan Pipe Maker is simply easier to market than Home Pipe Carver, even if the individual might be one and the same.

Heh, Master Artisan Pipemaker...do we really want to open that can of worms? Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:15 pm

Scoring pipe makers is really tough, and developing a stratifying set of criteria for certain "levels" probably even tougher.

The so-called Pipemaker's Guild for example has a set of specific targets for each of their designations - a journeyman for them has to produce a certain pipe, with a home-made wind cap, etc and have it "inspected" by their experts. I think it's nonsense. It renders a Rad Davis (who I realize is retired) outside of Journeyman status, and that's just goofy.


It is semantics, and as usual, someone will fall out of the mix just because the definitions are too tight (or too loose).

I consider myself an artisan pipe maker because I make one-off pieces, I have generic rather than specific equipment (no specific piece of equipment in my shop generates anything pipey as it's prime function - there's no shaping heads, no drilling jigs, no stem shaping jigs), I work alone, and I've made enough pipes that I feel like I know what I'm doing, or rather, my learning curve is flattening out at this point, there's less and less change in the pipes week to week, where a "newbie" is on a much steeper curve in that regard.

Anyone else considering themselves as an artisan pipe maker, I would probably accept that they are, and anyone wishing to kick me out of their definition, I would probably accept that as well. I am neither fully-industrialized to manufacture pipes, nor am I going to make them with only my teeth and fingernails.
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PostSubject: Re: Artisan, or Pipemaker?   Sat Jan 02, 2016 3:19 pm

Sasquatch wrote:
Scoring pipe makers is really tough, and developing a stratifying set of criteria for certain "levels" probably even tougher.  

The so-called Pipemaker's Guild for example has a set of specific targets for each of their designations - a journeyman for them has to produce a certain pipe, with a home-made wind cap, etc and have it "inspected" by their experts.    I think it's nonsense.  It renders a Rad Davis (who I realize is retired) outside of Journeyman status, and that's just goofy.  


It is semantics, and as usual, someone will fall out of the mix just because the definitions are too tight (or too loose).  

I consider myself an artisan pipe maker because I make one-off pieces, I have generic rather than specific equipment (no specific piece of equipment in my shop generates anything pipey as it's prime function - there's no shaping heads, no drilling jigs, no stem shaping jigs), I work alone, and I've made enough pipes that I feel like I know what I'm doing, or rather, my learning curve is flattening out at this point, there's less and less change in the pipes week to week, where a "newbie" is on a much steeper curve in that regard.  

Anyone else considering themselves as an artisan pipe maker, I would probably accept that they are, and anyone wishing to kick me out of their definition, I would probably accept that as well.   I am neither fully-industrialized to manufacture pipes, nor am I going to make them with only my teeth and fingernails.  

LOL. Well if you used your teeth and fingernails the results might be gratifying, of course given the time involved the cost would be scary. Wink
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