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
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Julie Simon Turns Reality TV Addiction into New Career 

by Liisa Andreassen  When Julie Simon started watching Project Runway, an American reality TV show that focuses on fashion design, she had no idea that one day it would inspire her to trade in her computer for a sewing machine. After more than 12 years working as a graphic/web designer, she was ready for a change, so with the show as her muse and YouTube by her side, she bought
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FOOTWEAR FOR THE STARS 

Sharlot Battin has made a full career out of building shoes, boots and sandals for Broadway actors — and beyond.  By Lynn Ascrizzi  Who’d think that someone born and raised in the old railroad town that is Whitefish, Montana, would establish a highly unique career in New York City building leather footwear for celebrities of stage and screen?   “My grandparents had 200 acres in Whitefish,” said Sharlot Battin, reminiscing about
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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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