Ukrainian artisan Konstantin Shekita was born in 1967, graduated from the Kiev Energy Technical Secondary School, and later served as a border troop. He was still a very young twenty-three years of age when he first got involved in pipemaking, preparing and polishing stems for the Gold Gate pipe factory in Kiev. As he gained experience his duties expanded to shaping and finishing, with his pay being based upon how flawless he could make each pipe. By 1997 he was ready to go independent, which is exactly what he did, with his earliest work being fashioned from Albanian briar. Somewhere along the way, curiously enough, he also picked up a second career as stuntman, working on the set of many films in the Russian entertainment industry. He is, as far as I know, the only stuntman-pipemaker currently active. Or just as likely, ever, for that matter.
Konstantin produces some 200 pipes annually, though to look at his work you might be surprised at that number -- while many would consider it reasonable for a skilled artisan who concentrates on quality, the amount of detail, careful shaping, and profoundly rich, smooth contrast finishing found in a lot of his work could readily leave one wondering how he would have the time to create even half that number. He's been participating in shows on his side of the Atlantic since 2006, in Ukraine, Russia, and Poland, and began attending the Chicago show in 2008. That's where we first ran across him, and looking at his work, varied stylistically yet consistently skillful, gorgeously finished, and at times unbelievably intricate, we're glad to have his offerings on board.
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