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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Defining a Symbolic Language of Pipes

And how is that for an imposing and pretentious-sounding article title?  It isn't quite as esoteric as it might sound, though - Really, all I've been doing is gradually, over the years, assembling a visual "alphabet" per se, of the lines and curves and forms that I love in pipe design.  One can find pipe shape charts everywhere, but what I am after is more elemental, more of a fundamental means of building an attractive shape.  The Legos of Beauty, I might say.

(I will, however, readily admit that I'm one step from creating an alphabet in code form out of the lines and curves I'm defining, for the sole purpose of inserting secret words and riddles into the very shapes of the pipes I make... One of these days I'm going to go full-Kit Williams)

But enough of the prattle, let's see some pictures.  Here's one of of my symbol charts, where I've gathered together the basic curves and shapes that I love most:

In a nutshell, these are lines I have a passion for... specific curves and weights of line and flares and elegant twists that look good in pretty much any form, from nature to automobiles to human bodies.  There's an old-but-true saying that the more you can make your car/carving/anything resemble the curves of a reclining female, the prettier it will be.  What I'm trying to do is sit down and put together a fairly comprehensive collection of specific elements that can be blended together to create beauty to the eye, when they're put together in a harmonious way.

So far, so vague?  Let's try and showcase some of these lines in action:

I dearly love the S curve, and try to work it into every bent pipe that I do.  Above and below you can see this philosophy as it's incorporated into the physical object of a handcut stem, in specific the stem of the Talbert Briar Emerald Teardrop.

S curves abound in my work, as well as teardrops and spirals.  Below I'm posting a few pics of the Emerald Teardrop - Take a look at the pics and the symbols above and see how many you can spot!