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
Accessories Saddles/Tack

Big-Small World of Leathercraft, South African Edition 

WOODENWULF  by Gene Fowler  As I sat wondrously immersed in the universe of the television program Yellowstone during its recently concluded fourth season—the hats, the horses, ranchers, cowboys, pretty women, gorgeous country, and a lone guitar—the notion that folks might have been savoring the same scenery on the other side of the world was the farthest thing from my mind.  The Republic of South Africa, for instance. Like many, if
Artisan Leather

Twenty-three Plus Is a Twenty-five! 23+

Joe Meling’s Pendleton Leather Arts and Education Outpost By Gene Fowler Location, location, location. Ordinarily, that overwrought marketing mantra doesn’t apply to most custom leatherwork outfits. Find a spot with internet and mail-order access, and you’re in business. But 23+ (Twenty-three Plus), the leather arts and education emporium operated by Joe Meling in Pendleton, Oregon, has what has to be considered a perfect location. “I can look out my front
Accessories Artisan

Jenn Hall: The Feathered Leopard

By Nick Pernokas  Where does art come from? That is a question that has been debated for centuries. One thing for sure is that it’s persistent and it will eventually surface. For Sacramento native Jenn Hall, it could have been foreshadowed by the beautiful artwork and jewelry that her grandparents collected from the Native American reservations near their Tucson home. It could have been predicted by Jenn’s burning desire to paint as a child. But life got
Artisan Boot/Shoe

Abilene, Abilene, Prettiest Boots That I’ve Ever Seen…

Leddy’s Cowboy Boot Legacy by Gene Fowler “Legacy” is one of those words that when you look it up in the dictionary, the definition you get is underwhelming. “Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor from the past.” Really? Come on, Webster! Get with it! It’s so much more than that. At its best, a legacy is a living entity. A force of nature. A jolt of ancestral
Accessories Artisan Leather

Jesse Beckham and the Lost Penguin

 By Nick Pernokas  Jesse Beckham sports a cool Western look that would remind you of the Texas Red Dirt Music scene that’s so popular in the Southwest. The “Open Road” hat that he wears is a tribute to his grandfather’s choice of headwear, but also a nod to his Texas heritage. Like the products he makes, it says that this is what he came from, but not where he’s going.  “I haven’t been a cowboy since I was about 12 years old,” laughs Jesse.  Jesse grew up in
Artisan Leather Saddles/Tack

Pete Gorrell Building A Balanced Staircase

                     By Nick Pernokas  The young boy was happy to get off the bus in Kelly, Wyoming. The trip from Rock Springs was beautiful, especially for a boy from the Midwest, but it had followed a long train ride from Chicago and he was tired of sitting. He craned his neck, trying to take in the horse pastures, the log cabins and the Tetons. It all looked like a set from one of the matinees that he would watch on Saturday afternoons at home. The cowboy, Ben, who greeted
Boot/Shoe

Ray Jones: Texas’s Greatest Bootmaker?

By Edward Loya  In the late 1970s, there was a growing consensus in Texas that Ray Jones just might be the best bootmaker in the state, if not the country. So, when Ray abruptly announced his retirement in 1977 at age 65, he shocked his clients and the entire bootmaking community. Every major newspaper in Texas covered the story because it was unthinkable that an artisan of such extraordinary talent and
Accessories Leather

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