veiled pipe, sculpted tobacco pipe by arcangelo ambrosi

The veiled pipe– a carved tobacco pipe by Arcangelo Ambrosi

How the idea for a carved tobacco pipe was born.

As a lover of art and sculpture, I have often tried to give an artistic touch to what I create, and lately I have been trying to focus on my personal vision of the smoking pipe too. In this blog entry I talk about the creation of my latest carved tobacco pipe.

Since the start of this year I’ve decided to create a series of pipes in which, unlike past works, I do not use the carving to decorate, but to upset the pipe. This maintains its classical basis, but something happens to it. It can change consistency, it can be knotted, it can be deformed, in short, something strange happens.

This work I show you today is The Veiled Pipe: a classic pipe is “simply” covered with a veil. It has been quite a long work. It wants to be both a tribute to the great sculptors of the past and present, and to the pipe object.

I have been so immersed in this work that I still cannot detach myself from it and give a judgment on the result.

Detail of the veiled pipe

The idea

Of course in my mind there were visual influences of great sculptural works.

I have always admired the simulation of materials with different “consistencies” in sculpture, such as drapery.
I was recently looking again at the pictures of the Veiled Christ by Sanmartino (it is in Naples, not so distant from me, but I still haven’t had the chance to see it live). Recently, our young talented Italian sculptor, Jago (Jacopo Cardillo) has made a tribute to that sculpture but it has a little dead child as protagonist. It is called “The veiled Son“. Of course they are Masters. I’m only a little wood carver and I don’t want to compare myself to them.

“The Veiled Christ” by Giuseppe Sanmartino, 1753


Making the pipe

drawing sketches for the veiled pipe
The first sketches.

After drawing some sketches in pencil, I prepared the model. I simply took an old pipe and put a cloth inside.

the model for the veiled pipe
Inseriting a cloth into an old pipe to create the reference model.

After trying different fabrics, what satisfied me most was a piece of those clothes with wich glasses are cleaned. This is because it was able to create interesting folds. I also wet it, to make the fabric stick more to the pipe.

the model for the veiled pipe
Wetting the cloth.
the model for the veiled pipe


The piece of briar that I have chosen is a flamed plateau. I deliberately chose a piece with flames neither too evident nor too bland, and I wanted to “arrange” them so that they did not follow the folds of the cloth. This is so as not to create overlaps that could create visual “confusion”.

I have no photos of the carving progress, unfortunately. I was so caught up in this job that I didn’t really think about doing photos. However my procedure is always the same: roughing to create the main volumes, a job which I usually do with carbide cutters mounted on dremel, and then details made with well-sharpened hand tools. The sanding work was very long and exhausting. Following there is photo of the pipe before the staining, compared with the model.

During the carving process, a big natural flaw (a sandpit cavity) appeared at some point in a critical point and I desperately had to change the design a little to save the work. Fortunately I managed to do it! In those moments I was meditating to abandone pipemaking.

the veiled pipe, a carved tobacco pipe
the veiled pipe, a carved tobacco pipe
the veiled pipe, a carved tobacco pipe
the veiled pipe, a carved tobacco pipe


Hope you like the work!

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