PLAINS style Pipes have been used by many different Nations over the years. Traditionally used in Ceremony this style of Pipe can hold enough tobacco for a large group, the bowl tends to get hot so it is handled via the prow as that does not get as hot. The bowl shown on the left is the regular size and shape for a ceremonial or personal pipe. This one was crafted by Chuck Derby
The older style has a squared off shank. This one made by Chuck Derby.

There are various styles of Plains Pipes, the first one is the basic shape but the second one has a flared bowl and an elongated prow. The stem of the second one made by Randy Stevens has a lot of fringing on it to go with the more flamboyant style of bowl.

The old pipes that people like Sitting Bull and Red Cloud used were much longer and thinner than those used today. Tim Brady one of the Pipestone Dakota Community pipe makers creates his in that thinner style

ELBOW style is traditionally a woman’s pipe. This style are usually smaller because they tend to be used more for personal or smaller ceremonial use. This one is the basic style made by Chuck Derby.
Also crafted by Chuck this one is very ornate with a mini prow and a four winds decoration on the shaft and bowl. This was crafted from someones dream, and the stem was decorated with special symbols from the vision.
A FOUR WINDS style by Randy Stevens, is a Plains style with grooves cut into the pipe which represent the cardinal directions. In Native American traditions each direction has a meaning and usually a color dedicated to it. The Sacred colors as they are known are Red, Yellow, White, Black and often Green and Blue. Each Nation have their own system and some have none at all. This Pipe style is very popular. Ours have the rings on the bowl, or the shank. Some have more than 4 rings and these represent Father Sky, Mother Earth and the Creator as well as the directions.
This Four Winds has rings deeply engraved in the bowl, that is crafted from the real spotted stone. The spots are often called stars and this one is almost a complete universe of stars. The stem has regular decoration on it. Each quarry has it's own unique coloring of stone. This stone comes from the 'Spotted Quarry'.
This Four Winds by Tim Brady is very slim and sleek again deep bands cut into almost pure red stone. The stem is crafted from sumac and is a simple design with no decoration to take away from the natural beauty of the wood. Often Sundancers want an undecorated stem so that they can add their own decoration to it.
This Pipe is a BUFFALO EFFIGY crafted by Mark Pederson. The Effigy Pipes can have various animals sculpted although the Buffalo is very popular. Often the person needing the pipe will choose his or her own animal that they have visioned. On this stem Mark has added some turkey feathers. (Raptor feathers cannot be used.)
Again a Pipe crafted by Mark Pederson. This time an EAGLE CLAW design. This is an old design as well and is of the eagle clutching an egg. The stories are that the Thunderbird lives in Pipestone and you must be very careful where you tread for fear of breaking her eggs. This egg is safely held in it's mothers claws.
There are of course other designs but these are the most popular. Anyone who crafts Pipes have their own favorite designs, each to his or her own dreams, traditions and talents. These are the ones traditional to the Pipestone Dakota Community's artisans.

Stem Decorations

Randy Stevens always puts a lot of fringing on his creations and the beadwork is often intricately woven. This is a typical example of his work
Tim Brady can do various things with his stems. This one has been beaded almost the whole length, and beads and fluffies have been added to complement the beadwork.
This is a typical Pipestone Dakota Community stem decoration. a few fringes and about 8 or 10 rows of beadworking. This particular stem was made by Mark Pederson.


Please take care of your Sacred Pipe, it is the life and soul of many Native American Cultures. Do not leave it on display once you have used it. It is an altar at that point, and each section should be wrapped separately, (preferably in red cloth) and stored away from prying eyes and hands.


emailPlease send any questions you may have about the Pipe or Pipestone here

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