I sculpted this water pipe in the form of a white water buffalo. I really like the sweeping formal quality of the water buffalo’s horns, though this is a difficult form to dry and fire without cracks developing in the attachment points of horns and body. The body of the pipe and the bowl with its riser are thrown on the potter’s wheel; the head of the buffalo and other features are hand-modeled. The stem is pulled in a manner similar to a pulled handle on a mug or teapot. I used my white silky crystalline glaze on this piece, for its tactile attractiveness.
Clay pipes have a very long history; examples from thousands of years in the past can be found in museums around the world. But they are rarely to be found in the work of contemporary potters, which is a great shame, in my opinion. High-fired porcelain is particularly well-suited to pipe making, as it is fully vitreous and is as impervious as glass to soaking up unpleasant odors. It can be cleaned in any way that a glass pipe can be cleaned.
Each pipe comes with two high-fired porcelain screens made to fit the bowl, and these are far better for a smoker’s lungs than the metal screen often sold with commercially produced pipes. The porcelain is completely non-reactive and will not erode with use. Screens may be cleaned by soaking in alcohol or other solvent. With care they should last a lifetime.
This piece, like all my work, contains no lead or other toxic elements, and is food-safe, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe.