Autumn of 1998, that was me in the left pic there, or rather my first pipe exhibition. I’d just won the P&T carving contest and lots of people were mailing and emailing and even phoning (It was the Jurassic era, after all…) wanting to see and/or buy my work. I scrambled like crazy to get some stuff ready for the CORPS show that year but it was too late to register a table and my little handful of pipes wasn’t enough for a full table spread anyway. While I was trying to figure out what to do, Craig Tarler contacted me and told me to bring whatever I could and they’d make room for me on the C&D table. He barely even knew me at the time, but was perfectly happy to help out a new carver, and as everyone knows there is no better exposure at any pipe show than to have work on the C&D table spread, because 150% of the floor traffic is guaranteed to come your way.
So, we sat, we talked, and we got to know Craig and Patty. Patty even bought some earrings from my wife, if I recall correctly. They were wonderful people to know. When I think back on how I got started, I credit my early success primarily to just a few big helpers – Paul Perri for teaching me how to make pipes, Mark Tinsky for answering a lot of other pipemaking questions back in the days before there were any internet tutorials for this stuff, and Craig and Patty for helping me out with the early exposure that got my work known. I feel like I owe pretty much all my success today to these folks. I could say a lot of high praise about Craig because he was a genuinely good guy, but I’ll sum it up really simple.
Craig, we’ll miss you.