12 June 2000

Maurizio Tombari: Le Nuvole


On the Wednesday before today, I received an extremely carefully wrapped package from Italy, from Maurizio. As I began to unwrap the package, Sue left the room, so I asked, "Didn't you want to see the pipes?" She replied that she'd be back long before I had the package open.

Five minutes and several layers of air bubble wrapping later, Sue was not only right but back, patiently waiting for me to finish. And at last I got to the heart of the matter: two corrugated cardboard box sleeves with the Le Nuvole label on each.

The label is white lettering over a blue logo over orange. The logo is a cloud, as from the name "Le Nuvole" itself. One could either think of the cloud in terms of the variety of shapes a cloud can assume, the pleasant shape of a tobacco puff, or the lightness of one of Maurizio's pipes.

My contest pipe was sitting in a suede pipe sleeve, and I took it out, and was immediately impressed by Maurizio's ability to match design to wood, fantasy to reality. The picture below is a composite of my design and Maurizio's pipe.

A fantasy and a real one

In some ways, the above picture doesn't do Maurizio's pipe justice, because the grain of the briar is much, much tighter than the resolution shown in a jpeg. A small portion of an enlargement from a scan of the bowl shows how the grain is incredibly tight - around the entire pipe.
A very tight grain
The only direction that Maurizio went differently from the design is that I had an inlay, whereas he (and his wife Stefania) felt the inlay didn't work in the actual pipe, that a groove looked better. Since computer design doesn't necessarily reflect real-world conditions, I went with his recommendation, which looks beautiful.

After I won the contest, I also ordered a second pipe, from a habit of mine to have two pipes from any one pipemaker, to get a better idea of the worksmanship. So below is a second pipe from Maurizio.
An elfin pipe
Size for size, Maurizio's pipes are the lightest I've tried; there is a certain elfin quality to them. As I generally give my pipes a name somewhere along the line, the one above is Elfdrum, due to the markings around the bowl. Thus far it is a joy and is breaking in exceedingly easily. Quite a treat!  

Maurizio Tombari: Le Nuvole

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