counter free hit unique web Newly posted in the BRIAR GALLERY:  a PROFILE OF TOKUTOMI based on my article in P&T magazine.  See EXHIBITS AND ESSAYS.


Toku shaping a blowfish sitter in Todd Johnson's workshop, November 2005

Toku in Chicago, May 2005, with Hiro Grade Freehand (reverse-curve) Cavalier

Toku in Chicago, 2005

 

Tokutomi and
the Art of Pipe-making

Ivory Inlay "Hiro," 2004


 

Often called the most influential pipe-maker working outside Denmark today, Hiroyuki Tokutomi has revolutionized the way people look at pipes.  A master of improvisation at the shaping wheel, with a fertile imagination, a joyful wit, and breath-taking technique, Toku has created an original synthesis of Danish and Japanese art and craft that both delights us and challenges us to expand our aesthetic responses to pipes.

 

While always superior smoking instruments, Tokutomi's briar carvings present unique occasions of visual and tactile beauty that enhance and enlarge the pleasures we experience from our pipes.  Many of these smoking tools evoke the imagination and personality of their creator with the vividness and intimacy of sculptural art.

 

Toku's pipes inhabit that fascinating, mercurial landscape where functionality and expressiveness mingle ... as in works of craft whose exquisite design gives voice to the maker's unique personality (an artful pot), or in works of art whose seductive forms encourage use as well as appreciation (a sculpture holding flowers).

 

Hiroyuki Tokutomi has enlarged the creative possibilities of pipe-carving and opened up new avenues of expression for contemporary pipe-makers.  He is becoming as significant to the future of briar carving in the early 21st century as was his teacher and mentor, Sixten Ivarsson, during the late 20th century.

 

This web site is dedicated to the study, appreciation, and enjoyment of Tokutomi's astonishing work.


"Hiro" Grade Stamp, 2005

Thomas Looker

Student of Pipes

Curator, The Briar Gallery



Using the Dremmel on a Cavalier Blowfish in Todd Johnson's workshop.


Blowfish Cavalier, South Carolina, 2005.

All photos of Toku at work were taken in Todd Johnson's pipe-making studio, near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Fall 2005


 


COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  ALL TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS ON THIS WEBSITE  2007, 2008 BY THOMAS LOOKER (EXCEPT WHERE NOTED ON INDIVIDUAL PICTURES).  AS A MATTER OF COURTESY AS WELL AS LAW, PLEASE DO NOT DUPLICATE, QUOTE, OR REUSE ANY CONTENT ON THESE PAGES WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:  OVER THE COURSE OF SEVERAL YEARS I HAVE RECEIVED INVALUABLE HELP FROM MANY JAPANESE CARVERS AND ENTHUSIASTS OF JAPANESE PIPES, INCLUDING TOKU HIMSELF, BARNEY SUZUKI, KEI GOTOH, AND TAKEO ARITA CONVERSATIONS WITH AND VISITS TO CARVERS IN DENMARK AND ITALY HAVE ALSO HELPED WIDEN MY UNDERSTANDING OF THE HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT OUT OF WHICH TOKUTOMI'S BRIAR CARVINGS HAVE EMERGED.  TEDDY KNUDSEN, LARS IVARSSON, AND TOM ELTANG HAVE PROVIDED PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT PERSPECTIVES ON TOKU'S WORK, AS HAS THE WONDERFUL BRIAR-CUTTER, MIMMO (DOMINICA ROMEO), WHO SUPPLIES THE EXTRAORDINARY BRIAR BLOCKS WITHOUT WHICH TOKU'S EXTRAORDINARY PIPES WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE.  FINALLY,  VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO SYKES WILFORD OF SMOKINGPIPES.COM WHOSE ARTISTIC SENSITIVITY, IMAGINATIVE PERSPICACITY, AND BUSINESS ACUMEN, MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR TOKUTOMI'S PIPES TO BECOME KNOWN OUTSIDE JAPAN.  PERSONALLY, SYKES' KNOWLEDGE AND INSIGHT, FRIENDSHIP AND ENCOURAGEMENT, HAVE BEEN ENORMOUSLY HELPFUL TO ME ON MY JOURNEY THROUGH THE LANDSCAPE OF INTERNATIONAL PIPE-MAKING.

 

THOUGH I OWE A GREAT DEBT TO MANY INDIVIDUALS AROUND THE WORLD, I BEAR SOLE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FINAL CONTENT AND PRESENTATION OF THESE PAGES.


DISCLAIMERS:  THIS SITE FUNCTIONS INDEPENDENTLY OF ANY COMMERCIAL ORGANIZATION.  ITS PURPOSE IS TO PROVIDE A PLACE FOR THE STUDY AND DISCUSSION OF THE UNIQUE PIPE ARTISTRY OF HIROYUKI TOKUTOMI AND THE POSSIBILITIES HE SUGGESTS FOR THE FUTURE OF CREATIVE PIPE DESIGN.  I HAVE COLLECTED THE MATERIALS POSTED HERE AS PART OF MY RESEARCH FOR A BOOK ABOUT CONTEMPORARY BRIAR CARVERS IN JAPAN AND DENMARK.  PLEASE DO NOT QUOTE OR COPY ANY PORTION OF THIS WEB SITE WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.


CONTACT:  WRITE TO BriarGalley@comcast.net IF YOU HAVE COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS.