Accessories Artisan

Revisiting Western Skies Handmade        

Emergence of the Circle by Gene Fowler  Throughout the American West and Southwest, the vast cathedral of space that looms and soars above the landscape inspires and humbles all who behold it. In praise of this great natural temple, the name Western Skies has been applied to everything from motels to golf resorts, insurance agencies to RV dealerships. Event venues. Jewelers. Realtors. Veterinarians. Steakhouses. Candles, contractors and campgrounds. Art galleries. 
Harness Supplier


Careful planning and a good deal of footwork turned a challenge into a success.    By Lynn Ascrizzi  When one door closes, another door opens.   That old saying pretty much sums up what John Raber, owner and operator of Hillside Harness Hardware in Millersburg, Ohio, had experienced last year.   It all started when Weaver Leather, LLC, a leather goods manufacturing, distribution and retail business based in a 300,000-square-foot facility in nearby
Accessories Artisan

Lost Dutchman Leather Nears Double-Digit Growth 

by Liisa Andreassen  In September 2020, we ran an article about an up-and-coming entrepreneur Nate Walker, founder of Lost Dutchman Leather. We were excited to catch up with him again and learn all that’s happened since we last talked. To date, he’s seen a huge growth spurt in his community and continues to push his creativity in design. In fact, over the last year, he’s realized about a 40 percent
Artisan Saddles/Tack

Don Gonzales: Riding the Wave of Social Media

By Nick Pernokas Many of us, who have been in the leather business for a long time, started out with Al Stohlman books and Tandy Leather tools. Some craftsmen were even able to go to a Tandy store and take lessons. For the young person interested in the leather business now, it’s a brave new world; one unlimited by the brick-and-mortar walls of the nearest leather dealer. Since ShopTalk! last
Accessories Artisan

Lifetime Leather Co. 

By B. Crawford  ShopTalk! is proud to have supported the age-old skills and resilience of leather craftsmen for the last five years. In this, our yearly anniversary issue, it is only fitting that we reach back into our own heritage and shine the spotlight on Ty Bowman, a craftsman whose story was told in our December 2018 issue, who continues to honor the tradition that so few follow in modern
Accessories Artisan

Duane Ballard Custom Leather 

Easy Rider by Gene Fowler  “As long as I get to mess with leather,” jokes artisan Duane Ballard, “I don't really care what I'm making.” To prove it, he sports tattoos of a swivel knife and a traditional oak leaf tooling on the back of his right hand.  But, while he does find leatherwork of any kind to be a satisfying activity, Duane generally concentrates on custom motorcycle seats and
Accessories Artisan

Carlos Macias: The Lost Buckaroo 

By Nick Pernokas  Forty-five-year-old Carlos Macias was raised in the small town of Elk Grove, California. This urban setting in a non-horsy family wasn’t the background that most people would think of for a cowboy. Carlos received a nudge in that direction from an aunt who was involved in “The Painted Ladies,” a drill team that performed at rodeos. She put him on his first horse when he was little
Accessories Artisan

Prairies, Tattooed Fingers and Victorymade Goods 

By Bill Crawford Victorymade Goods is like the song “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” by Richard Thompson - bold, ballsy and forever cool. Like Thompson, Danial Orchard, the founder of Victorymade, is a dedicated craftsman with a passion for bikes. But unlike Thompson who is British, Orchard is Canadian.   “Full disclosure,” Danial confessed from his workshop in Okotoks, Alberta, just outside of Calgary. “I moved here from Central Ontario in 2013,
Accessories Artisan

Crimson Willow: The Horse She Rode In On 

By Nick Pernokas  Rachel Dake inherited a love of horses from her mother. When she was nine, Rachel got her first horse. She spent the next few years competing in various equine events in 4-H, but never suspected this passion would lead to her eventual livelihood.  Rachel started barrel racing while in college in Independence, Missouri. She purchased a mare named Crimson Willow and started competing with her at local