|Kurt Balleby, pipemaker, Kolding
Kurt Balleby began carving pipes in 1983. He studied the art by working with Kai Nielsen, a Danish pipe maker of high regard, who also lived in Kolding, Denmark. Six years later, in 1989, Kurt invested in his own machines and organized his workshop in the basement of his home.
Balleby Pipes are carved from specially selected Corsican briar blocks seasoned for five years. Kurt uses only plateau blocks with fine straight grain or exquisite cross grains. Balleby's ambition is to earn the recognition as one of the world's best pipe carvers. He spends a considerable amount of time on each pipe thus limiting his production to 200 to 250 pipes per year.
Each Balleby Pipe passes through approximately 150 detailed production steps. Kurt prefers the classical forms in the finest Danish tradition. For him the pipe is a man´s jewel and each pipe has to suit the owner in size and form. Over the past three to four years, Balleby Pipes earned a reputation as some of the finest pipes in the world. This is due in part to his unique artistic interpretations of traditional shapes and his finishing techniques.
Kolding, Denmark is located in a beautiful river valley in southern Jutland. The area was formed during the last Ice Age. With its picturesque scenery and stimulating climate, Balleby enjoys taking long walks and riding his bicycle through his valley. This gives him the freedom for inspiration and peace. Kurt has lived his whole life in Kolding. His father, Jens Villy Hansen, was a potato dealer at the local market. His mother, Alice Balleby Hansen, was a social worker in her active working life. Kurt honors his mother by using her maiden name for his pipes. Balleby lives with his wife Else and their two daughters Anne and Tine in an old house in Kolding.
Today, Balleby is recognized as one of the top pipe carvers in the world. In the November 1999 issue of the German magazine, Deutsche Tabak Zeitung, Balleby is called "the virtuous from Denmark."
All Balleby Pipe mouthpieces have a 14 carat gold inlay profile of a diamond as his signature mark.
Kurt has several grades of pipes ranging from Sandblasts, Grade "C", Grade "B", Grade "A", and rare Select grades.