Pipe Maker Q+A with Clark Layton of Sloth Pipes
How well do you know Clark? What follows is an funny, honest, and insightful interview.
I hope you enjoy it.
DN: Before we get started, tell us a little about yourself.
CL: I grew up from age six in State College Pennsylvania where I graduated high school in 2003. I make pipes with high technical quality from the best materials. Each pipe I make starts out as a raw block of the best Greek Briar sent directly to my shop from my Briar Cutter in Greece, and every stem starts out as a solid rod of high quality Ebonite or Cast Acrylic.
DN: What got you into hand made pipes?
CL: What I like about handmade pipes is making them. In 2012 my younger brother wanted to try to make a tobacco pipe for himself after seeing some pipes that my older brother had made. I decided to make a pipe with him. I enjoyed it very much. Now here I am making pipes full time.
DN: What is your greatest achievement as a pipe maker?
CL: I don't know. That kind of question is hard for me to answer.
DN: What has been your biggest struggle/ challenge?
CL: Pipe and stem design has been my biggest struggle/challenge
DN: Do you have any pipe makers you draw inspiration from or admire?
CL: I admire many pipe makers, there is not much money in handmade pipe making. Many guys do it because they enjoy it, I think.
DN: When you're not in the shop, what hobbies do you have to fill the time?
CL: I don't have any free time to fill, although everyday I take my dog Gus to a farm and let him run outside.
DN: How many pipes do you make a year?
CL: Between 50 - 200
DN: What is your ideal smoking setting?
CL: I smoke in my shop while working. I smoke whichever pipe is closest and whichever tobacco I can find.
DN: What is your favorite pipe show, and why?
CL: I don't have a favorite.
DN: Do you take commissions? If so, what is that process like?
CL: I take commissions , at this point it would be 4 months until I can start on a new pipe.
DN: What kind of pipe is your favorite to make?
CL: My favorite pipe to make is a pipe that is sold.
DN: If you could pick one pipe maker to hang out with for a day and learn from, who would it be and why?
CL: I am not going to answer this a question because I may meet this person in the future.
DN: What is the coolest pipe in your collection? How did you come by it?
CL: I don't consider myself a pipe collector. I have many pipes, most of them I made and would not sell. My most prized pipe is a collaboration pipe made by Josh Feldman and myself.
DN: Tell me one thing that most people wouldn't know about you.
CL: If I told you, most people may know.
DN: What is the coolest material you have used in making pipes?
DN: Where do you find value in pipe making?
CL: Not in money. I find value in enjoying what I do everyday.
DN: Just as every burger joint has a 'secret sauce' to make their burgers stand out, what do you think sets you apart from the crowd with your work?
CL: Probably the reasonable price.
DN: What is the best way to get in touch with you? (phone, email, website)
DN: And finally-- a curveball: Ask me anything!
CL: If you were an exotic animal, which animal would you be?
DN: The African Otter. It seems to me that Otters have a pretty carefree lifestyle, and can be pretty fierce when they want to be. I'm also a big shellfish/ seafood fan, so it seems pretty agreeable to me.
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