Prefer cigarette tobacco over cannabis
How to stuff a chillum
My name is Jonas, I am a ceramic artist. Growing up in a family of artists and artisans, I began experimenting with traditional pottery techniques as a child. In the late 1990s, at the age of 14, I started seriously learning to make pottery from an old friend of the family. He was also a master in the production of chillums and excited me for it. Although I also devoted myself to other art forms for years, sculpture, painting and tattooing, I always kept my passion for this sacred object from India.
Today I made the chillum my job.
The chillum is a sacred pipe, with a history of more than 7000 years. It is traditionally used by sadhus and babas in India to invoke a heightened awareness of good and bad. But it has also spread to the international subculture since the 1960s, popular with hippies, lovers of good hash and others who seek higher consciousness. The chillum combines the elements fire, water and earth. That makes this pipe something special.
Not only in India, but also in Italy, the construction of chillums is widespread. There are some master craftsmen who have perfected the old, simple object into a highly functional smoking device. Italian chillums in particular benefit from the deeply rooted art of pottery, which is thousands of years old here in Italy and came to us via the Etruscans, Greeks and Romans.
Many masters brought changes and improvements and further developed the chillum so that it became more resistant and easier to clean.
I've spent the last 20 years developing the Italian chillum tradition. The technique refines and tries to improve every single piece. I grew up in northern Italy, in Milan, where chillums were and are used a lot. Especially in the 1990s you saw the clay pipes on every square and in every park where people were smoking, you didn't roll joints there, but stuffed chillums. I was fascinated by the culture that surrounded this sacred Indian ritual. Driven by curiosity for Indian mysticism and culture and of course my own passion for charras, I decided to make the most beautiful and practical chillums myself.
How to stuff a chillum
There are several ways to properly stuff a chillum. That depends on the location and of course the material available. Some use tobacco leaves for the mixture, others prefer cigarette tobacco and still others use pure cannabis flowers. In Italy - and in India too - cigarette tobacco is commonly used. It's drier and doesn't taste as strong as tobacco leaves.
First, the cigarette is dry roasted with the lighter. The tobacco should be very crumbly when mixed so that it makes a homogeneous mixture with the hashish. Larger pieces should no longer appear, otherwise the head could burn off irregularly. The tobacco is then mixed with 0.3-0.8 grams of hashish. The best natural high quality charras, the famous hashish from the slopes of the Himalayas. This is rubbed by hand from fresh plants, giving it its unique color and taste.
When the cigarette is roasted, everything is rubbed as little as possible with the fingers on the palm and then the mixture is poured into the chillum. A damp Saffi, which is a thin strip of cotton, is tied around the lower opening of the chillum as a filter and the chillum can be ignited.
Who lights up takes a long drag and passes the chillum on, usually to the person on the right hand. Everyone in the circle takes a long, deep drag and also passes the chillum on until the head is completely burned to ashes. The chillum should be smoked directly into the lungs with deep gulps, like a bong. The smoke shouldn't be sucked into your mouth like you would with a joint. After each round, the chillum and stone, the inner filter, are cleaned with a dry Saffi, which is wrapped around a cleaning rod.
Cleaning is very important because all parts should always be polished clean for smoking. Residues spoil the taste if they are not removed immediately after smoking, and tar that is not removed hardens quickly. With careful cleaning of the chillum, you show your respect for Shiva and the plant.
I focus my artistic work with devotion on the chillum and try to make each pipe better than the previous one. My goal is to create the perfect smoking device one day.
Boom Shankar !!!
We met Jonas on Instagram. He has not given us any money and unfortunately has not yet given us a chillum. We found the products to be very nice. Jonas says he would also deliver to Germany. You can contact him on Instagram or Facebook. We do not know whether this is all true. But it seems fine. Jonas reacts very friendly and it takes an extremely long time until this interview came about. The circumstances suggest that Jonas actually writes by hand and deals with hand-rubbed hashish both professionally and privately. There is also no price list. You have to negotiate this individually in each case.
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