I've had the rare privilege of sculpting my handmade pipes from earth's oldest, most magnificent briar burls
For almost 40 years Andrew Marks has been hand carving pipes in his Cornwall Vt. workshop. The setting is tranquil, sugar maple trees, red barns, and lazy cows grazing set the stage for his work. Marks was born into an artist family, his mother a painter, sculpture, and writer, and Marks always knew he would be a man that would also create. Marks’ was first introduced to pipe smoking early in life by his father who smoked a pipe, a Dunhill shell, one he owns and still smokes to this day. When Marks was 15 his father gifted him a Dunhill pipe of his own. Marks recalls his fathers advise: “If I was to smoke, it would be with a good pipe and at home.” From then on he was hooked. As the years past Marks passion for pipes grew, and at the age of 26 he decided that pipe making would be his profession. From that point forward he traveled the world seeking out the wisdom of the the “old guard” master pipe carvers. During his early days he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Former Neilson, Poul Hansen, and Sixten Ivarsson. These men made a serious impact on his work and still do to this day. One of the most unusual and yet spectacular things about Marks’ pipes is the fact that each black of briar in his studio is over 30 years old. While in Copenhagen in 1974 Marks purchased a large supply of Corsican and Greek briar that is still used to make his pipes today. This briar was from the same supply that the high grade Danish carvers were using at the time.