Big Sky Country Inspired Saddle Bags

By S.G. Burris Custom Leather

His love for learning and creativity started at home, where he was the oldest of five children who were homeschooled until high school. Spencer Burris, a Montana cowboy, gained a deep appreciation and admiration early on for the beauty that surrounds him. In his early 20s, Spencer’s fascination with leathercraft, and its traditional art form, influenced him to learn the basics. He wanted to make his own gear and tack, as well as learn to create handmade gifts for friends and family. His time spent cowboying, packing with mules and horses, in the majestic Montana landscapes; this started influencing his creativity and still does. “It is difficult to not be inspired when you are surrounded by the work of God, the Ultimate Creator,” said Spencer. 

Only two short years ago, Spencer’s fiancée, Theresa, persuaded him to try leathercraft as a profession; it turned out, the gentle nudge from her has paid off. The intricately-detailed saddle bags Spencer created for his Shop Talk! showcase not only demonstrate his capability with a swivel knife…they tell his story. On each bag are scenes straight out of Spencer’s cowboy life. The right side flap pictures a wrangler, chasing down runaway horses under wisps of clouds and is a tribute to none other than the great Al Stohlman. The left flap illustrates a cowboy who has just roped a calf, a good indication that he is about to doctor the young cow. Three horses graze across the yoke and under each flap are surprises, a cowboy holding tight to the reins as his horse takes to bucking and a cowboy roping a calf; both are representations of the kinds of surprises that occur daily in the life of a true cowboy. Beautiful floral tooling surrounds each scene and all straps are finished off with Mincer Silversmith buckles and conchos. The entire project was hand stitched and made with Hermann Oak Leather. 

“One reason I enjoy working with leather so much is because I can make something useful that also has artistic qualities; it doesn’t just hang on the wall either,” said Spencer. “I believe it is important to keep western traditions alive, along with this way of life. I try to do my part by creating quality pieces of functional art that will last for generations.” 

Spencer Burris, founder and leather artisan at S.G. Burris Custom Leather
in Whitefish, Montana.

S.G. Burris Custom Leather

Whitefish, Montana



Photographs Courtesy of S.G. Burris Custom Leather

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