Accessories

Attack Line Leather: When Virtual Media Meets a Traditional Art

By Nick Pernokas  Digital media is here to stay. And like it or not, it is affecting the ancient art of leatherwork tremendously. A young leather worker has access to a virtual library of lessons that 30 years ago he would not have without a long apprenticeship. The learning curve has been flattened for the ambitious artists out there and the results can be seen in the halls of leather shows around the world.
Accessories

Rescue. Transform. Donate.

Elvis & Kresse's Loving War on Leather Waste  by Gene Fowler  Shortly before the pandemic kicked in last year, a gas leak in my home led to the presence of a houseful of firefighters. And despite my concern about the leak, I found myself—to a degree I hadn't anticipated—swept up in a wave of admiration. Ever since the nation, and the world, witnessed the heroic actions of the FDNY on 9.11.01, any
Accessories

A NEW START WITH LEATHERWORK

Triple Crown Leather Goods is retired Army aviator’s winning ticket   By Lynn Ascrizzi  How many people can point to a specific month and day on the calendar and declare that it marks the beginning of a new chance at life? But for David (“Dave”) Botelho, who lives with his wife, Maria, in Paducah, Kentucky, the transforming event associated with his brand-new start, arrived unannounced on May 2, 2020.  Before this turning point, Botelho, 59, already had under his belt a dedicated and highly active, 26-year military career, first as an enlisted man in both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army, and then, as an Army aviator. Among his many other duties, he piloted both Black Hawk Assault and Apache Attack helicopters. And, in 2003, he was deployed as Battalion Aviation Safety Officer during the conflict, Operation Iraqi Freedom.   Dave Botello,
Saddles/Tack

LIFE IN THE BUSH

Long-time Australian saddler finds renewed purpose in full-time book authorship   By Lynn Ascrizzi  Rick Allen, who lives in the Levendale area of Tasmania, retired last year after a three-decades-long career in saddlery. “I built my first saddle in 1989; I built my last saddle in 2019,” he said. Reflecting on his many years as a skilled leatherworker, he added, “I’m probably an all-around saddler.”   Tasmania is an island state of Australia. Roughly the size of West Virginia, it is located about 150 miles south of the Australian mainland.  About 45 percent of the rugged mountainous island, with its spectacular coastlines, forests, beaches, bays and lakes, is preserved as World Heritage Sites, national parks and reserves.   “I was born and
Boot/Shoe

Houston’s Parker Boot Company

LIVIN' A TEXAS LEGACY by Gene Fowler  Most fine, custom cowboy bootmakers have at least a passing awareness of the artists and artisans who preceded them. But few live that legacy as fully as Zephan Parker, who hangs his bootmaking shingle in wide-open H-town, the frontier space-age megalopolis named for Sam Houston, one of the most maverick Texans who ever lived.  Zephan grew up in Sam's town. “Cowboy culture, of course, was a
Accessories Artisan Saddles/Tack

DND Leather – Where Beauty and Function Come Together

by Liisa Andreassen  When the colts she was riding started breaking her stuff, Dee Dee McGraw took matters into her own hands. She knew that making her own repairs would save her money, but what she didn’t know was that it would eventually lead to a full-time gig. She started out doing patch and repair work, and her mom quickly recognized how much she enjoyed it and offered to buy her a whole hide. That was just the beginning. Not too long after, Dee Dee stopped into Tandy Leather in Montgomery, Alabama, to buy some fancier
Supplier

Lowy Enterprises: Los Angeles’s Well-Known Secret

By Nick Pernokas  Many well-known companies roll off of leather craftsmen’s tongues because they’ve worked at developing and promoting their brand within the leather industry. Sometimes though, a real gem can be overlooked just because it’s not right in your path. I want to tell you about a company that may not be on your radar yet, but it should be.  Lowy Enterprises primarily focuses on webbing-related industries. They are distributors for webbing, fasteners, soft goods and hot cutters. Many products for
Accessories Artisan

AN ULTRA-LUXURY, HAND-ASSEMBLED ALLIGATOR HIDE NICHE

Part-time leatherworker, Lucas Coffield, creates sophisticated, small accessories in Palm Beach, Florida  By Lynn Ascrizzi  Ten years ago, Lucas Coffield was studying environmental marine policy at the University of Miami. For fun, and to try something new, he elected to take a course in glassblowing. He happily discovered that putting together materials and tools to handcraft items from hot glass, produced a marvelous therapeutic effect.  “I enjoyed the stress reliever aspect of glassblowing. I missed it when I got out of school,” he recalled. He graduated from the university in 2014, with a major in marine affairs. But it didn’t take him long to find another equally challenging and exciting handicraft — leatherworking.   “I’ve always had a
Artisan Boot/Shoe

Mercedes Boot Company: A Legacy of Horsemen

By Nick Pernokas  You probably noticed those old boots over in the corner. Leaning up against that canvas suitcase like an old dog begging for one more road trip. Orange tops. Black bottoms. Yeah, I know, not to everybody’s taste. They suit mine though and fit just as well. They should, because they are the only pair of custom boots I’ve ever had made. In 25 years, they’ve literally traveled around the world. From the subways