Thursday, February 11, 2010

Upcoming projects

I've got a couple projects coming up that I'm really excited about. The first is a class I'm going to be taking with Jan Schoonover. Jan has offered to teach me how he created his amazing grizzly bear. I think this is the project is the definition of "Extreme embossing". Several years ago this picture on the World Leather Debut in Sheridan, Wy. I'll be traveling to Billings, MT and spending 2 weeks with Jan in March learning the secrets to how he created this work of art. I'm really excited and honored that he has chosen me to be the person he wants to pass this on too.

I'm also in the planning stages of another big project. My son has recently decided that he wants to learn how to make a saddle. We've decided to apply for a grant from the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program from the North Dakota Council for the Arts for funding for the materials he will need to build a saddle. It's kind of "iffy" as to whether we'll be approved or not, but even if we aren't, we are going to go ahead with the project. Jake would like to make an old time saddle similar to the last one I made myself in this apprenticeship program. We are in the process of trying to figure out what kind of tree we will need to order. We are going to be ordering the tree for this project from Rod and Denise Nikkel from Valleyview, AB, Canada. Rod and Denise have a lot of info on their saddle trees on their website and we are studying it trying to learn as much as we can, and we are going to be asking a lot of questions. We have also ordered The Dennis Lane Equine Back Profiling System for Measuring Ridden Horses to help us determine how to order a tree that will fit our horses properly. I am really looking forward to working with Jake on this project and I think I am going to learn a lot at the same time. I've decided that while he is making his first saddle, I am going to be building a saddle too. I've got an old worn out saddle here that belonged to my great grandfather and I've decided that I am going to try and build a saddle that will replicate that one. That saddle was made by a now defunct local saddle shop called Sentinel Butte Saddlery. I am going to have a tree made that will be as similar to the old one as possible. I have most of the old leather from that saddle so I will try and replicate the pieces. I'll also try and replicate the carving patterns from those pieces of leather. I think it will be really fun to try and recreate a piece of history that belonged to the man that homesteaded the ranch that we live on over 100 years ago.

I've also got some other smaller projects to work on so it should be a really busy leather year!

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