Pipe Tampers and Wooden Picks
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There are a number of different pipe tools that can be used depending on the smoking mixture. These include the pick and the tamper. A pick stirs up the smoking mixture, giving it more air so it will burn more readily and quickly. It can also be used to clean the pipe bowl. A tamper packs the smoking mixture down so it burns more evenly and more slowly.
As far as Native American pipe tools, the pick was traditionally a pointed wooden stick used to clean the pipe bowl and stir the herbs and grasses. After tobacco was introduced, tampers were made to press the tobacco tightly in the bowl so it would burn slower and stay lit.
Lakota artist Alan Monroe began making catlinite tampers about 20 years ago. They are made of solid sacred catlinite from Alan's own mine at Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone Minnesota. The stone has been buffed and polished to a high gloss with beeswax.
Alan's tampers range in style from simple to very ornate. Small to quite large and heavy. Plain or in the image of an animal effigy. Each tamper has a hole drilled in it so that a leather thong, feather, horsehair or other adornment can be attached to the tamper. We offer tampers with a simple buckskin lace and glass crow beads but these can easily be embellished or removed to make the tamper reflect your unique personality.
Alan Monroe was born in Hot Springs , South Dakota and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. He graduated from Hot Springs High School and studied business and art in Nebraska, Tennessee, and South Dakota. Alan creates his Northern Plains artwork from hides, stone, leather, and wood. He learned the basics of quill working, weaponry, sculpting and pipe making from traditional and contemporary artisans in his family circle. He is a fifth generation master pipe maker. In his sculptures, Monroe works with a variety of materials such as pipestone, bone, wood and alabaster. He creates small objects like fetishes to large pieces than can weigh hundreds of pounds. Monroe's work can be seen in many galleries and museums across the country and he has won many awards. About Lakota Sioux
Pipestone, also known as catlinite, is a form of clay called argillite with a high iron content that colors it a deep red to pale orange. Pipestone was discovered in southwestern Minnesota by the Sioux Indians, who consider it a sacred material and use it to carve pipes and other ceremonial objects. It is easy to carve because of its lack of quartz. Read about stones