Harris Leather & Silverworks sets the standard for the show horse community A show horse decked out with a custom Harris saddle enhanced with ornate silverwork. By Lynn Ascrizzi Anyone deeply involved in big-time show horse events, such as The All-American Quarter Horse Congress,is well aware of the stature of Harris Leather & Silverworks and their hand-built, silver-spangled saddles and other artfully craftedleather tack.  “Our saddles and silverwork are what
Accessories Saddles/Tack

Heritage Brand: A Family Brand

The Heritage Brand leather shop in Tumalo, Oregon, where all HB products are manufactured. By Danna Burns-Shaw Did you know that family businesses account for 64% of U.S. gross domestic product? They generate 62% of the country’s employment and account for 78% of all new job creation. Family-owned businesses are the backbone of the American economy! Small businesses employ just over half of U.S. workers. Research also shows that family

Frecker’s Saddlery: A Family Affair

Karsten and Kent Frecker shown with a couple floral carved saddles. By Nick Pernokas The tall cowboy eased through the crowd at the tradeshow.  Every once in a while there was a flash of recognition from other shoppers, but then they went on about their business. This was Vegas after all. The National Finals Rodeo sported several large trade shows filled with western merchandise and it was easy to miss

Tad Mizwa: A Lasting Impression

This Mother Hubbard saddle is representative of the historical miniature reproductions that Tad made. The base price on his miniature saddles in the 1990's was $3000. By Nick Pernokas John Kelley always eagerly anticipated his monthly copy of Shop Talk! Magazine. The Morton, Illinois, leatherworker had been working with leather since he was 10. He had created beautiful knife sheaths, holsters and handbags, many featuring beautiful carving and fine hand

Monroe Veach: A Ten Dollar Horse and a Forty Dollar Saddle

By Nick Pernokas Monroe performing a rope trick with his daughter Letty in 1946. The young cowboy dropped his bag on the ground and loosened the cinches on his saddle. The saddle he set a little more carefully on the small Parkerton railway stop platform. After he slipped the bridle off over the old mare’s ears, he slapped her on the butt, to send her on the familiar journey home.

Taking Chances and Building Saddles

By Liisa Andreassen Kevin Parrish His real name is Kevin Parrish, but he’s affectionately known by most as “The Saddle Guy.” At the age of 13, he started out in the business washing saddles that were in for repair in his father’s hobby saddle repair shop. He worked there through high school performing various tasks such as disassembling, washing, oiling and reassembling saddles. More than 30 years later, he’s still

Carol Gessell

In Pursuit of Art Carol Gessell's favorite job is making saddles. By Nick Pernokas The attractive, fiftyish artist concentrates on cutting in her scroll pattern in the cased leather. A book on tape plays in the background. An orange cat, Minkey, ignores both the woman and the mystery thriller. At 19, she needs her beauty sleep. When the woman begins to stamp out the pattern, the cat   leaves the small,

Berlin Custom Leather

Staying True to its Roots, Never Trendy  By Danna Burns-Shaw  Berlin Custom Leather, Ltd. is located in Berlin, Ohio. Berlin Custom Leather Company gets its name from the small community that it resides in Berlin, Ohio.  Berlin is in the heart of one of the United States’ largest Amish communities near Millersburg, Ohio. The area is steeped in rich old-school traditions like family unity, impeccable work ethic, faith and community
Boot/Shoe Saddles/Tack

A One-Man Leather Shop

Long-time leatherwork instructor, Mike DeWitt, keeps his heritage craft alive and well in Oklahoma By Lynn Ascrizzi Michael DeWitt, at the workbench in his leather workshop, with saddle trees and stirrups in the background. You never know where a passion for the age-old art of leathercraft will take you. For Michael DeWitt, owner and operator of DeWitt Custom Leatherworks, the long and winding trail that leading to his current workshop

Don Gonzales: Texas Saddlemaker, Leathercraft Teacher

By Gene Fowler           Texas saddlemaker and leather artist Don Gonzales is living proof of the benefits of a family that encourages creative expression and exploration. “I grew up in the Aransas Pass and Refugio area,” he says, “down along the coast, and we had a very creative household. My mom is a nurse who creates artwork out of gourds, and my dad, who passed away in 2013, was always