Alchemy Kustom

A Supernatural Natural By Gene Fowler Natural talent has a knack for finding its way to the gallery or stage, especially when it operates in Shakespeare’s context of “all the world.” Many, if not most, of the leathercraft artists I’ve spoken with began drawing or practicing some other form of the visual arts in their youth. It was kind of like breathing for them; it was something they just did.

A Conversation with Shep Hermann

Hermann Oak Leather's chief executive shares knowledge and wisdom gained from his long years of running the tannery By Lynn Ascrizzi It takes a certain kind of resilience, know-how and stick-to-itiveness to run a successful business long-term, especially a four-generation, family-run tannery like Hermann Oak Leather, located in St. Louis, Missouri. All this became evident during a conversation with company president and CEO, Shep Hermann. He shared some hard-earned knowledge

Clint Wilkinson

A Top-End Texas Leathercraft Hand By Gene Fowler When Clint Wilkinson was born in Denton, Texas, his grandfather Weldon Burgoon bartered a custom-made saddle to pay the doctor bill. Now, 36 years later, Clint carries on the family tradition of leathercraft arts: producing handmade bags, briefcases, wallets and other finely wrought creations in the same location where Weldon’s Saddle Shop served North Texas cowgirls and cowboys for more than half

Precision Saddle Tree Company

Ten Years of Discarding Tradition Driving Change through Technology By Danna Burns-Shaw [gallery ids="1564,1563,1562" type="rectangular"] Halfway between San Antonio and Houston, is the small town of Yoakum, Texas – a town steeped in the saddle and leather business tradition. Yoakum first received its saddle making identity back in 1919, when the Tex Tan Leather Company was founded. In 1960, Leland Tucker founded Circle Y saddles, also in Yoakum. Like Tex

K Bar J Leather

Know Your Customer By Nick Pernokas Jack Gully decided to take a break from the plains of Montana in Miles City. He was hauling a load of horses home to South Dakota. As he ate breakfast in the motel, an older gentleman walked up. Jack didn’t recognize him at first. The man said, “You damn sure knew what you were doing!” Jack looked at the man blankly, until he began

Duluth Pack

The Great-Great-Grandpa of Backpacks By Gene Fowler Camille Poirier arrived in Duluth, Minnesota, in the winter of 1870 with “my little stock of leather and tools.” The 32-year-old had learned the shoemaking trade in his native Canada. Like “almost every boy in lower Canada,” he wrote in his autobiography, Camille “had visions of the U.S. as a land of wealth.” At the time Poirier arrived, Duluth, a port on Lake

Russell Moccasin Co.

Making quality, outdoor footwear, one pair at a time, since 1898 By Lynn Ascrizzi If you’re deep into exploring mountainous terrain, or you only feel fully alive while trekking over miles of woods and fields or braving wild savannahs — then you definitely have worn out a lot of boots. And, it’s a sure bet that you’ve learned, after suffering painful blisters, raw skin and bruises, that a pair of

The Hide House

Napa's Finest By Danna Burns-Shaw When you think of Napa, California, of course you think of wine. The combination of diverse soil, climate and topography is the perfect recipe for producing light, fresh Sauvignon Blanc…rich, full-bodied Chardonnay… silky, seductive Pinot Noir…bold, spicy Zinfandel…ripe, velvety Merlot…and of course, their world-famous Cabernet Sauvignon! (Yes, I love Napa Valley wines – all varietals.) There are nearly 500 vineyards in Napa County and neighboring

Traditional Leathercraft Meets High Tech

Arrow & Board creates a new generation of custom leather goods By Lynn Ascrizzi It comes as no surprise that the new moderns — that is, the 20-and-30-somethings — are crazy about high-tech products that fit their digitized lifestyles. But the real jaw-dropper is that this tech-savvy generation also values fine products that are traditionally handcrafted. This trend is evident in the growing success of the three-year-old, artisan leathercraft business,