The Artistry and Authenticity of Terry Harlow’s Soapstone Pipes

Soapstone pipes have been found in American Indian cultural history for over 7,000 years – playing a major role in their religious and spiritual practices all over North America. But when it comes to the modern day translation of the artform, look no further than the owner and artist behind Paleolithic Pipes, Terry Harlow. 

He sat filing on one of the rough-cut pipes as we talked, every so often pointing to the stone in his hand. He shapes it based on how it holds in his hand and fingers, telling me a pipe needs to be comfortable to hold. The only time he uses electric tools is to cut the stone with a bandsaw, sculpting the rough pipe shape out of larger stones – using several drill bits to enlarge the bowl hole, and then a Dremel with a longer drill bit for the long mouthpiece hole. He explains that he knows the filing is done by the feel and sound the file makes on the stone. Read More…