Yang Kun Pipes
Formerly a makeup artist for Chinese television and film, Yang Kun first discovered his love for pipes in 2010 when a friend showed him a book of pipes by Sixten Ivarsson. Yang Kun transitioned to full time pipe carving from his small shop in Liuzhou in 2012. Early on, Yang had the opportunity to study alongside long time artisan carver Hongjian Qiu who had by then been carving pipes for a few decades (since retired but still teaches), and had himself studied under some of the Danish greats. Qiu has also been instrumental in teaching other pipe makers like Liu Zifeng who has been enjoying success in the American market recently.
"Qiu taught me a lot about the fundamentals of making pipes, things like proper contrast staining and the importance of creating a pleasing draw and precision draft hole work. He also pushed me to establish my own individual style instead of purely copying other pipes, which is much of what you see occurring in China. Like many, my first pipes were deeply inspired by many Danish carvers like Bo Nordh, S. Bang, and Lomma. But since then, I like to think that my style has evolved into something more individualistic. As I meet and study the works of more Asian carvers I find myself being more inspired by them as well. Carvers like John He, Sam Cui, and Ping Zahn have really helped legitimize the artisan pipe scene in China recently."
Yang uses only high grade Italian and Grecian briar, and German ebonite. His pipes bear his unique footprint logo (in honor of his son’s birth) and his high grade pieces additionally carry his stamped signature. His grading scale is from 1-4, with 4 being his most exceptional pieces.
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