Grechukhin: Sandblasted Bent Apple with Ivorite
Product Number: 002-196-0007
While his long-shanked and markedly asymmetrical pipes are certainly more conspicuous, Vladimir Grechukhin is just as skilled (and maybe even more so) when it comes to fashioning compact, chubby interpretations of the classics like this bent Apple. Featuring a plump, softly contoured bowl, a seriously stout, sweeping transition, and a thick, curling, and abbreviated shank to match, it exudes a tight-knit, bundled sense of potential energy in profile — balancing a strong, obvious muscularity with smooth, easy-flowing Danish lines for a beautifully cohesive composition overall. As impressive as the shaping is, however, what struck me initially about this piece was the finish. By pairing one of his bold contrast stains with a light-depth sandblast, Vladimir has actually preserved the block's dense flame grain pattern while unveiling an array of rippling growth rings dancing around the bowl. Fittingly, he topped it off with a very slim wedge of Ivorite at the shank, adding just a touch against the jet-black saddle stem.
— Adam M. O'Neill