Wednesday, 12 July, 2006
Rest In Peace, Bo
I had something in mind to write about, but was stopped short by the receipt of some very sad news.
Tonight, I received word that Bo Nordh, considered by many to be the world’s greatest living pipe maker, lhas eft this earth. He’d been in hospital, gravely ill, but it is nevertheless disquieting to know that the inevitable has come to pass.
I first met Bo in 2001 while visiting with the Svenska Pipklubben at their annual BBQ at Bo’s house. He was a wonderful host, a great cook, and an avid lover of jazz and blues music, of which he spoke with encyclopedic knowledge. I cherish the memory of that evening, now more than ever.
Bo had a unique style, and a remarkable attention for detail. The first time I ever saw one of his pipes, I was instantly in awe of the precision of the construction. Taking the pipe apart was revelatory – I had no idea briar and vulcanite could fit together so smoothly, so precisely. The joint between the stem and shank was almost undetectable, even to trained fingers. The shape was graceful, balanced and poised. The finish, flawless. Bo only made a few pipes each year, but each was a masterpiece.
I was in his shop while he was working on one of his Ramses shapes and was fortunate to witness the birth of a pipe that, eventually, became the most perfect (and expensive!) he’d ever made. But, even more than that exquisitely amazing pipe, it was Bo’s hospitality and warmth that I remember.
I can type no more. We have lost a great pipe maker, an artist, a mentor to many. For those who knew him, a friend has departed. I will light a candle in his name, and make offerings to the four winds, to the earth and to the heavens. May he rest in peace.
Farewell, Bo. You are remembered.