Those who are familiar with our company know that our products are not produced on a massive scale, but rather handcrafted by highly skilled artisans. Each pipe that is produced is a unique piece, representing the maker’s mastery and creativity. As they are so proud of their work they rarely share it with others, but on some occasions they do so for us.
Back in 2006, at Mimmo Romeo’s workshop six Italian and Danish master craftsmen had worked together in Taggia to produce a fine pipe to celebrate our company’s centenary (The Celebration Event). Setting off for the annual Briar Tour in 2011, we packed a superb briar block in our suitcase. The idea was to persuade the Danish artisans whom we were going to visit to take part in something wholly original: working in a group, but without the group. They only knew when we would arrive and when we took out the block, they were surprised. We asked the first artisan to trace out the approximate shape of a pipe which would then be gradually developed by subsequent artisans. We then asked each artisan in turn if they wanted to add their artistry to the pipe on the spot. We wondered how this experiment would turn out, with numerous craftsmen working on the same pipe, with no contact and advance notice whatsoever. The risk was also that the shape of the briar itself could at any time be irremediably damaged, but as it happened everything went perfectly. Five thousand kilometres later our rough pipe turned into a unique piece, which held in its shape, workmanship and every nuance the memory of its 12 diverse creators and 12 unique styles. This was the first Running Pipe.
Apart from the pipe we also cherished the memory of the pipe makers’ enthusiasm when they accepted the challenge. So we decided to try it again this year, with an even more adventurous project. From the first block to the completed pipe, Running Pipe 2012 travelled over six thousand kilometers, and we accompanied it. The pipe stopped at eleven workshops along the way between Italy, Germany and Denmark. The artisans who worked on the pipe with their tools, skills and imagination were two Italians, one Frenchman, three Germans and ten Danes, making a total of sixteen magnificent contributions. Round Europe in a pipe, or rather “for” a pipe. It was a challenging, but highly satisfying experience and you can judge whether the result was worth it. Running Pipe 2012 bears a “guarantee certificate” that is also quite original: on a disc that has been “sliced” out of a briar block all the artisans have signed their names or else their brand.
Running Pipe 2012 has been sold on eBay and the proceeds of the sale went entirely to our friends at OrphanAid Africa. It is the second time (the first was for the Celebration Event in 2006) that Al Pascià, together with those who created the pipe, has donated proceeds from a specially created pipe to this organization.
OrphanAid has been working in Ghana since 2002 in close partnership with the local authorities. The organization provides material and moral support to countless children who lack a family, and where family members exist, but are unable to support the child, OrphanAid provides the necessary resources to support the family. If you would like to know more about OrphanAid Africa, go to its website www.oafrica.org.
The various stages of the “run”:
2 March 2012, Italy:
Briar root purchased from Mimmo Romeo and work begins in his workshop. Mimmo Romeo, Kurt Balleby and Eder Mathias.
11 March, Germany:
At Axel Reichert’s workshop .
12 March early morning, Germany:
At Frank Axmacher’s workshop with Jurgen Moritz.
12 March late afternoon, Denmark:
At Kai Nielsen’s workshop with Karsten Tarp and Joao Reis.
13 March morning, Denmark:
At Johs’ workshop.
13 March late afternoon, Denmark:
At Kent Rasmussen’s workshop.
15 March morning, Denmark:
At Peter Heding’s workshop.
15 March late afternoon, Denmark:
At Lasse Skovgaard's workshop.
16 March morning, Denmark:
At Former’s workshop.
16 March late afternoon, Denmark:
At Tom Eltang's workshop.
11 November, Italy:
At Roberto Ascorti’s workshop.
Special thanks to Baglioni Hotels for communication support.
Running Pipe 2012
Materials: briar wood (seasoned for 5 years) and cumberland stem
Shape: Freehand Blowfish
Cut: straight grain
Filter: without filter
Stampings: Running Pipe 2012
This unique pipe comes with a leather box (Al Pascia'), sock, certificate (made of briar wood).