RAFAEL Y. ARZUAGA
My name is Rafael Y. Arzuaga, a Cuban pipe artist, and I develop my creations together with my wife Zuzel Rodríguez Rivero, to whom I entrust my pieces to add the fine finishes and the delicacy of the lines and shapes that you will find in each one of them.
For 20 years I have been creating pipes with selected materials, especially from local and international products. The Cuban wood and the individual design make each of my pipes something special. My designs are inspired by nature, music, and the delicate curves of feminine beauty. They reflect softness and ergonomics with an authentic style. I have my atelier in Havana and in Spain and from there I am developing new projects together with my clients. I exhibit my collections at international fairs and have clients all over the world. My training as an artist in the world of pipes is self-taught. In my free time I love to practice mountain biking with my friends and wife, teaching my daughter the places of our beautiful island by bicycle.
ME AND THE PIPES
At the end of my military service, I was already motivated by the passion of some colleagues who smoked in small improvised pipes, with the thorn of a tree and a bamboo straw, so I was interested in learning more about that peculiar way of smoking, which later it would become one of the greatest passions I have today.
Fortunately, when I first started working in carpentry, I came across that mythical object again: a pipe! After hours of talking about the history of a pipe, I got caught up in the exciting art of making them and then, I began to carve them entirely by hand, without any knowledge or adequate material, I just knew and was sure that I wanted to make one pipe.
In 2000, I met the person who today is my wife and co-worker; thanks to her and her family I was able to dedicate myself entirely to making pipes professionally.
My training as a pipe craftsman was self-taught, as was miniature and medium-format sculpture; I was getting experience, studying in the old books that told and showed how a pipe should be inside and out, as well as practicing cutting old pipes that friends brought me, to better discover and understand how it should work; in this way, I improved my technique, allowing me to make new models.
In 2001, we decided to present my first pipes at the Habano Festival in Cuba, together with my new family. This space became the only place where we could show my pieces.
For 15 years I maintained a stable participation and I was able to meet pipe collectors and houses, such as Piterson and Murray Freen, with whom I maintained collaboration in the manufacture of pipes in England, acquiring more knowledge with experts in this art.
In every Habano Festival in Cuba, during the five days of the event, I exchanged experiences while exhibiting my work.
I will always be very grateful to my family, to my friends who gave me their full support, to all those people who are always aware of my new projects and especially to my little daughter Lía and my wife Zuzel, who is an important part of this four hands work.
I would also like to thank the person who from the day one met me, took me like a son, giving me all the support and motivation to become what I am today, a Pipe Craftsman, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Miranda, I really thank you what I have accomplished so far.