Musings of a Cowboy on the Tooling of an idea

An un-tooled piece of leather. Yet un-worked, stamped or sewn. Starting in the craftsman’s mind and then manipulated decision by decision into a piece or art. Skilled techniques appear as expected adornments, mistakes are made and provide its character and humanity, and accidental moves turn into signature trademarks of future creations.

Thus the lineage of The Leather Showcase. It began when I was looking to memorialize my children with angels embossed on a new gun rig. I found the number of craftsmen, options, and prices as plentiful as the shot flying from the end of my shotgun. For such a personally significant item, I wanted to make sure they were represented by the best leather maker I could find and afford. But nobody had a display I could look at to see the actual quality of work. I received a lot of ideas and websites but I desired the opportunity to see a representative sample of the craftsman' skills before turning my most precious memories over to a strangers hands.

Hence I began to tool the Doc Workday’s Leather Showcase in my mind. A side-by-side display of the various craftsmen's wares to be displayed at as many shoots as “Ma” Workday would allow me to attend. A hearty shoot out of craftsmen’s skills for the average cowpoke to see how different craftsmen make their products.

Remember we talked about mistakes and accidental moves…well the leather bit back. The leather craftsmen’s followers became very defensive of their maker’s work and the shots began to fly. I received a lot of good suggestions as to who’s leather to buy or to ask to be donated, but the general mood was that I was just looking for “free” stuff. It was a hard time. That was never my goal. But sometimes the tool hits the leather in a way not expected and the maker must fashion the mark into the design.

And design we did. With the help of many friends, they helped me keep the heart of the pattern while designing a piece with presentation and soul that all could appreciate free of jaded distortions.

Most of the pieces I have bought, some as noted at their pictures, were generously donated. The website was the work of Shyanne Sweet.

I plan to keep adding to my showcase as funds and donations permit. Please enjoy hanging out in the showcase on-line and I look forward to making your personal acquaintance at as many shoots as time and travel permit.

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