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American Bench Craft: Built for Any Frontier

by Gene Fowler  Necessity, some wise personage once ventured, is the mother of invention. No one knows for certain who first spoke (or wrote) these words, though some attribute the phrase to Plato. It doesn’t matter, really, whether the stone-chiseled maxim was voiced by the Athenian philosopher or by George Washington or…Groucho Marx. It hangs in there. It endures. And after talking to dozens of makers all over the country who found their
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PERGAMENA Makers of Artisanal Parchment and Leather

Targeted marketing and a tan-and-return service are promising game changers for family run, New York tannery  By Lynn Ascrizzi  Tucked into the picturesque Hudson River Valley region in New York state is the small town of Montgomery. Its lush, natural beauty, cultural festivities, historic homes, antique shops and sustainably-raised local food, attract a growing surge of folks seeking to escape Manhattan for a genteel, countryside experience.  And, the town is only an hour-and-a-half drive from the Big Apple.   “It’s a hip little place. Lots of people are moving up. Add the pandemic to that, and people want to get the hell out of Dodge,” said Jesse Meyer, 48, owner and general manager of the five-generation, family-run tannery, Pergamena Parchment &
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Durb’s – One-of-a-Kind Leanderthal Leather

Maverick Matt Durbin by Gene Fowler  “I don’t like things that look all cookie-cutter,” says Matt Durbin, when asked how he got interested in working with leather. “I always hated it when somebody had on the same clothes I did. Even in high school, when I worked at Cavendar’s Western Wear, I didn’t like it when a guy walked in one day wearing the same shirt I had on. I always wanted to
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Wayne Jueschke: Tools to Last

By Nick Pernokas When you roll across Interstate 80 in Nevada, you pass through a vast swath of the American West. You might appreciate the emptiness of the country. You might wonder how it felt to cross this land on horseback a century and a half ago. Elko, Nevada, has been here since before the highway was thought of. A railroad town, a mining town and home to the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, this town has always been an
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Lost Dutchman Leather – A Young Entrepreneur Strikes Gold

by Liisa Andreassen  Inspired by the legend of the Lost Dutchman mines in Mesa, Arizona, Nate Walker, founder of Lost Dutchman Leather, named his burgeoning business after this mysterious locale located in the Superstition Mountains. About 15 minutes from his workshop, rumor has it that a man named Joseph Waltz hid a large amount of gold somewhere in the area. People search for it every year and while they may not find hidden treasure, they will find a leather craftsman worth his
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EMBODYING THE SPIRIT OF EXPLORATION AND FREEDOM

Western Bound Goods has emerged as a thriving business in Bozeman, Montana.   By Lynn Ascrizzi  Anyone lucky enough to live close to an awesome mountain range must soon feel its lofty vibes rubbing off on their soul. After all, mountains set our sights beyond the mundane, help us to find strength in creative independence and even inspire us to embrace a more upbeat lifestyle.   This seems to be the happy frame of mind enjoyed by artist-craftsperson Jill Johnson, who singlehandedly owns and operates her studio workshop, Western Bound Goods, in the popular mountain town of Bozeman, Montana.   Jill Johnson, owner and operator of Western Bound Goods, displays a creative cluster of  her casual handbags made of waxed cotton, leather and bold Pendleton fabrics. She designs and creates
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Never Too Young to Lead

By Jim Linnell  Many people may think that Elktracks Studio is synonymous with Jim Linnell, however the reality is that it takes a team of passionate leatherworkers to make it all happen. Annie Libertini has reached entirely new audiences with her additions to the instructional library. George Hurst still regularly publishes patterns on the page. Michael Magnus oversees the digital marketing efforts and his second-grade daughter, Caragh, is a contributor as well.   Caragh stamps leather
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An Armory of Creations

By Liisa Andreassen  Ever wonder what it would feel like to be a medieval wonder woman or to walk in Aquaman’s shoes? From medieval legends and superheroes to knights in shining armor, leathercraft master Samuel Lee is helping people realize their fantasies – one leather creation at a time.    “I first became interested in making armor while I was in high school and doing live action play/ role play at Renaissance festivals,” Lee says. I created Prince Armory in 2007 to do this full time
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Coblentz Leather

“Top Quality Leather Goods for a Fair Investment”  by Gene Fowler  Last summer, a 12-year-old boy staying with his family at The Inn at Honey Run in Millersburg, Ohio, found the seven-inch tooth of a woolly mammoth on the hotel grounds. Scientists identified it as a third upper molar of the Ice Age beast, to be exact. Understandably, the youngster was over the moon about his find.  Most visitors to the
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CREATIVE CUSTOMIZATION IS THEIR FORTE

ColsenKeane Leather is celebrating its successful, first decade  By Lynn Ascrizzi A rugged, hefty cowhide handbag finished in ColsenKeane's signature "Crazy Horse" style of leather, rubbed with special-purpose waxes to give the cowhide a distressed, "antique" patina that will change color and texture, over time. Like many a small enterprise in its start-up phase, ColsenKeane Leather, LLC of Charlotte, North Carolina, had a humble beginning. “I began making leather goods