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The story of how I started carving pipes under the name of Jan Pietenpauw is long and boring. Suffice it to say that the name stuck.

I was actually born Jean Christophe du Toit, way back in 1953 in a little country town, Carolina, in what is now known as Mpumalanga - literally "The place where the sun comes out". So I guess the day I was born, the sun came out.

Ever since I can remember, I have been manufacturing things. Cars, boats, airplanes (models that is, some working some not) turntables, amplifiers, speakers (all working) I even made an umbrella once. I still bear the scars of trying to fly my "glider" from the roof of our house. At the world-wise age of seventeen, I started smoking and obviously I had to "manufacture" my own pipe. Plaster of Paris, a cherry tree branch, reed, these were my materials. I remember reading somewhere that pipes were carved out of rose wood ("rooshout" in Afrikaans) and afterward I spent weeks inspecting every rose bush in my mother's garden trying to find a suitable shrub for a pipe.

In April of 2009 I decided to see if I could carve a proper pipe and when I found that I could, I thought of offering some for sale. I was flabbergasted when they sold - in fact, faster than I could carve them - so I kept on offering some for sale.

I am mostly drawn to the classic English shapes. If I were to carve only straight billiards, I would be happy, but I guess that would be boring. I strive to improve my skills with every pipe I carve and, although my eyesight is not what it used to be and my hands hurt and my legs cramp, it is only logical that they (pipes and skills) must get better.


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