By Kent Rasmussen
I was born in 1961 in a town called Randers located in Jutland, Denmark
When I was a boy I was often making drawings and small sculptures in clay. My brothers and I were also very occupied down in my fathers hobby workshop making knives, swords and miniature sailing boats in wood. We learned how to use the tools from my father (he is a handyman who can build and fix almost anything) and I think that´s the main reason why I have the skills I have now.
In 1988 I started working as a self-taught modern artist. I made paintings, photos, sculptures and some combinations between paintings and sculptures, a kind of reliefs. I also made some objects to hang on the wall in wood with a very high finish.
The combination of making drawings, clay sculptures and working with hand tools in my childhood, together with the years as an artist, has made it possible for me to make the quality pipes I make today.
In 1997-98 I kind of lost interest in modern art - or should I rather say, I did not feel that I could contribute with anything new, and it didn´t help that it was impossible to make a living as an artist.
I made my first pipe in 1994 as a hobby thing, inspired by a friend who had made his own pipe. I was a real amateur - pre-drilled briar and so on. I only made a few and didn´t make any pipes for the next 4 years.
In 1998 I started again and this time I got serious! When I found out that I was actually pretty good making pipes I had kind of "found home". In February 1999 I met Teddy Knudsen and experienced that pipes can be real art, and that you can even make a living out of it. Since then my skills and ambitions have risen considerably.
I mainly work with Corsican and Greek briar. When I start making a pipe I always begin to look at the grain: How do I get the most out of this briar with this grain? The form of each pipe is essential. As I work on the pipe the shape changes slightly along the way - the pipe almost never turns out to be as I planned it to begin with. The pipe hidden inside the briar kind of takes over.
I consider pipes as small sculptures. It´s the aesthetic that interests and really drives me and I try to make each piece a work of art. I´m inspired by some of the great "old" pipe makers and by modern designs in cars, furniture etc. Many of my pipes have sharp, curved or straight lines repeating themselves in the bowl, shank and stem.
My designs often have concave surfaces which requires the use of my Proxxon (it´s similar to a Dremel) followed by a lot of filing and sanding by hand. All my stems are handmade out of vulcanite, cumberland or art amber. I pay a lot of attention to the drillings in both stem and pipe because it´s essential for the smoking quality.
The pipe must be a pleasure to smoke!!
Information for the section bellow is from the excellent book, Scandanavian Pipemakers, by Jan Andersson
Kent lives and works in a small village near the city of Aarhus. His makes about 85 pipes each year, which end up in a lot of countries, but his primary markets the US, China, and Italy. He uses Mimmo Romeo briar. Kent does not have a sandblaster, but uses the blasting equipment in a shop that specializes in sandblasting. Only 10 to 20 percent of his production are blasted. Only a very few pipes are rusticated, usually in just a section of an otherwise smooth pipes.
He has used many different exotic woods for adornments, but mostly prefers mazur birch grown in the Northern parts of Scandinavia. The pipes are stamped Kent and Denmark, and graded with one to three stars. Earlier they were also stamped Handmade, but no longer The best pipes are stamped with a butterfly, but that is only about 30 pipes each year.
Kent likes to work on several pipes at a time, and sometimes as many 5 to 15 pipes in various stages. That way he can work on a pipe and let it rest while he continues with another pipe. Then when he comes back to a pipe he may see a fresh and different way to finish it.
Pipes For Sale by Kent Pipes Address: Kent Rasmussen Kent Pipes Absalonsgade 31 DK-8000 Aarhus C Denmark Phone: +45 8619 0461 Email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org