Artisan Leather

TRADING IN HIDES AND LEATHER  

Andy Barta gained expertise in the business from the toughest of teachers   By Lynn Ascrizzi  After working for 55-plus years in the hide and leather business, Andy Barta knows a thing or two about weathering the ups and downs of the trade. His hands-on confrontations with adversity and his knack for bouncing back with fortitude, began for real in December 1955, one year after his father had launched the rawhide
Artisan Boot/Shoe

Tim Bishop: Just What He Wants to Do 

By Nick Pernokas Tim Bishop was raised in the small, eastern New Mexico town of Logan. Tim’s high school had only 13 in his graduating class. In this rural ranching community, there were only a few choices in lifestyle for a teenager. Tim chose the most attractive one to him which was the western one.   “Everybody wore boots,” Tim remembers fondly.  Tim’s dad retired from the military in Logan and
Artisan Boot/Shoe

Boots from Harlick & Co

A Skater's Dream  by Gene Fowler  Figure skating legend Brian Boitano, who won a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics, still has the first pair of skates he got at the age of nine. Why hang on to something you outgrew an eon and a half ago? Simple. Boitano's childhood winter-sport boots aren't just any old slapped-together slabs of hide. They're Harlicks.  Generations of amazing skaters have acquired the leather
Accessories Artisan Leather

Joe Schussler of the Chap Shop: Living an Abundant Life

by Liisa Andreassen  When Joe Schussler was a kid, his father would take him to a little café for breakfast in their small Idaho hometown. It was there that he first got inspired to create art. While the inspiration was a simple can that had been converted into an airplane, Joe thought it was just about the coolest thing he’d ever seen and set out to create one of his own. He went
Artisan Boot/Shoe

Music City Leather

Wes Shugart: Makin' Boots in Nashville  by Gene Fowler  Wes Shugart heard the call of leather back around 2011.  At the time, the Nashville-based cowboy bootmaker was a builder of multi-million-dollar homes. “But I was stressed out, big time, and not very happy,” he says.  “I knew he was searching for something different,” adds his wife, Sandra. “He came to me one day and said he wanted to make footwear or
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
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