On a recent trip to Norfolk, I was lucky enough to get to a very reputable cigar and pipe shop and bought my first Meerschaum pipe. For those not in the know, these are carved from a white mineral, and naturally colour as they bake with successive smokes. They’re not cheap, and to keep them safe, they come in bespoke cases. They’re particularly handy for smoking outdoors as they don’t burn through like wooden ones can when wind keeps the embers constantly alight. Imagine then my horror when on first smoke there was a sudden crack noise, and the bowl left the stem.
It seems that every now and then, there are flaws in the mineral that aren’t obvious, and being quite thin walled, the pipe just gave out. The dealer replaced it with absolutely no fuss and I’m pleased to say the replacement pipe is giving me a great deal of pleasure as I have my downtime.
Long story cut short – I now had a pipe case with no pipe. It was too nice to throw away, but not easy to find another use for. I remember seeing Magritte’s ‘Treachery of Images’ and loving the surrealist observation decided to make my homage. Thanks to a friend who is considerably more knowledgeable about French than I am, I was able to add my own tagline: ‘This is not a pipe either’. I plan to send the canvas to the great guys who dealt with me so helpfully, and hope they (and their customers) enjoy the joke.[Acrylic on canvas, Liquid Pearls Onyx, found object. 20cm x 20cm]