The road less traveled : Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine

The road less traveled

eder1Sometimes the creative urge is simply too much to resist

by Stephen A. Ross

Every  journey  begins  with  a  single step. Sometimes the journey is a short one with a clear path straight to one’s goal. Those journeys are far too rare. Most are tortuous—filled with detours and delays with obstacles occasionally causing one to set aside a goal to take care of the tasks immediately ahead. Eder Mathias’ goal of being a pipemaker is one such journey.

Mathias  has  been  longing  for  the day when he could set aside his career in IT to become a full-time pipemaker. Nearing 40 years of age, the Brazilian lives  in  the  picturesque  French  Riviera town of Menton, where he diligently handcrafts each of his pipes in his home’s basement, which he’s slowly transforming into a pipemaking studio. While many of his neighbors and countless tourists flock to Mediterranean beaches nearby to enjoy their free time, Mathias turns to his cramped basement workshop and studiously seeks to master the secrets of pipemaking one smoking sculpture at a time.

eder2Mathias mostly uses hand files and a Dremel to make his pipes. It’s a laborious, lonely and time-consuming method, but it’s also one that gives Mathias a better appreciation for the techniques that are necessary to constantly strive for pipemaking perfection. Balancing a full-time job in the IT world with an intense desire to make pipes his career, Mathias has only been able to make on average one pipe a week. It’s a pace with which he’s been comfortable, as he prefers to allow himself the time that’s necessary to make the best pipes he can create and enjoy the journey as it reveals itself.

“My process is longer, but I have reached the optimal time to make them,” he admits. “I cannot find short-cuts. It’s like cooking. You can make something in five minutes, but if you want it to taste really good you take more time. Every pipe I make is a very important pipe to present to the world, and I don’t want to rush the process. If  you  take  the  time  you  need,  you can reach great things. I would rather make fewer but more complicated pipes than just make more pipes.”

eder3Though his overall production remains small, with a little more than  300  completed  pipes  to  his credit, Mathias’ work ethic and labor-intensive pipemaking process is gaining  notice  among  the  international pipe community. When asked about any up-and-coming pipemakers to keep  an  eye  on,  Cosimo  and  Leonardo Sportelli of Al Pascià in Milan remarked,  “We  are  very  impressed with Eder. He has discovered his own style. We think he will be one of the top pipemakers in the world in time.” (See “Sharing the insanity” in our Spring 2016 issue.)

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Category: Fall 2016, Feature Article, Pipe Articles

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