Sunday, May 31, 2009

Carolina Wren

I really enjoy carving leather myself, but I also enjoy seeing what other people do with leather. Kate Dubiel is someone who's work always impresses me. There is just something about her "style" that always catches my eye. Earlier this year she shared a picture of this Carolina wren that she carved on a clock. This little bird looks so neat the way she carved and colored it, and I thought it would be neat to try it in my style. Kate was kind enough to share her pattern with me and said she would like to see what I did with the pattern.

As I carved this bird, I took pictures and wrote up a step by step lesson on the process. I posted this as a lesson on the internet and you can see it here on my website. I entered the completed picture in the Prairie States Leather Guild's spring show where it took a first place ribbon, and a best of catagory.

Clay Miller, who manages the Tandy Leather store in Rapid City, SD has been after me to teach a class at his store for quite awhile now and he thought this would be a good project for the class. I really want to be prepared if I am going to do something like this, so last weekend I carved this wren again, just to make sure I could, and to have some idea of how long it might take in a class. The second one turned out pretty good too, so I decided to go for it. We've picked the 24th and 25th of July as the date for this, my first real live leather class.

I'd really like to thank Kate for inspiring me to try something new and a little different and for sharing her pattern for this project. Kate's been a good friend for several years now. Along with being a talented leather artist, Kate is also a web designer/developer. If you're ever in the market to have a website built, drop her a note at and see what she might be able to do for you. Oh, and check out some more of her work on her Etsy site.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Friends

The show in Sheridan gives you a chance to take classes from some of the best teachers in the world, see all kinds of leather "toys", and view some of the very best leather work you'll find anywhere. But one of the best things about the show is getting to see old friends and making new ones. This year, Stacy and I had the chance to meet Paul and Rosa Zalesak. Paul and Rosa are the owners of Leather Wranglers Inc. Leather Wranglers offers one of the nicest swivel knives available anywhere (and they come in all kinds of really cool colors!) They are also two of the nicest people you are ever going to meet! We got to spend quite a bit of time with them and enjoyed every minute of it. Paul even took the time to give Stacy her first lesson on using a swivel knife. This picture is a sample of what Paul can whip out with a knife in just a few minutes. I got my purple knife from Paul for my birthday earlier this year and the more I get a chance to use it, the more I like it. I am sure it's going to have some "buddies" on my bench in the near future.

It seemed like almost everytime we walked by Paul and Rosa's booth there were people lined up to talk with them and try out the knives. We finally caught them during a slow time and Paul gave Stacy a lesson on using the swivel knife.

Stacy and Rosa at the Saturday night reception.

Paul, Clay (me) and Jim Hay in the parking lot at King's reception on Thursday evening.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Miniature Leather Pots with Cheryl Smeja

While in Sheridan a couple weeks ago, Stacy and I took a class from Cheryl Smeja on making miniature leather pots. The pots were really fun and easy to make. The leather was dipped into boiling water and the water shrunk and curled them up so you really didn't know how they were going to turn out until you were done. Then we made flowers to put into the little pots. The flowers were also dipped in the water for shaping. The water hardened the leather so once it cooled and dried, it keeps it's shape. Then the pots were decorated with wire and beads. Cheryl does a lot of different, fun things with leather and it was great to finally get a chance to take a class from her. I know we are going to be making more of these little pots. They will be a great way to use up small scraps of leather. You can see a lot of the different things Cheryl does with leather at her website. She also teaches classes at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point WI.

These are the 2 pots I made in the class. I had another flower in the pot on the left, but Stacy stole it and put it in her pot! The pot in the photo above is one of her pots with her flowers and the one she stole from me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A gift from my friend

While I was in Sheridan, I got a really cool gift from my friend Kathy Flanagan. It will be a nice addition to my slowly growing collection of leather art. Kathy and I decided a couple years ago that we were going to do a carving for each other, and we both got stuck on our projects. Kathy said she messed up the painting on hers, but obviously she has figured out how to fix it. I really love how it turned out! Now I suppose I have to dig my project out of the drawer it's been sitting in and figure out how to finish it for her. Kathy also gave me another project back that we are working on together. It's not done yet, so nobody gets to see it yet.
Since this is my first post about Kathy, I'm not even going to pick on her, boy does that take a lot of will power!!!
Thanks Kathy!!! I'll try really hard to make your's turn out as good as the one you made for me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Backyard Visitors

We don't get a lot of visitors out here in the boonies, but these guys showed up in our backyard last night. They seemed to just want to check things out.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jim Linnell Class in Miles City, Montana

On May 8th and 9th, 2009, Jim Linnell taught a leather carving class at the historic Miles City Saddlery in Miles City, Montana. Jim taught students from Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota to carve the buffalo picture that was featured on the cover of a recent Tandy Leather catalog. Jim started out by showing us how to carve his version of an old Ken Griffin pattern. This was really fitting for this class because Ken Griffin had been a carver at Miles City early in his leather career. Once we finished the floral carving, we started carving and embossing the buffalo. The next day we finished carving the buffalo and colored the whole picture. This was a really fun class. I knew several of the students from previous classes we had taken together, and make a few new friends too. During the class we had an opportunity to look at several examples of Jim's art work.

Jack Deibel, current owner of the saddlery also brought in several pieces of leather work to show off during the class. One of these was an original carving by Ken Griffen that appeared in his book, Ken Griffin's Scrapbook.

At the conclusion of the class, Jim gave the picture he created in the class to Jack as a thank you for his hospitality letting us use his store for a classroom for the weekend.

Here is a picture of all the students from the class and thier completed projects. They all look different, but they all turned out very nice and I think everyone was really happy. It's always fun to hear someone say, "I can't believe I did that!"

Sheridan 2009

I just posted the pictures that I took in Sheridan at the 2009 Rocky Mountain leather trade show on my dot photo site. You can see these pictures by clicking here .

Badlands Leather Art Blog

I set up this blog several months ago, but haven't used it yet. I've decided to start using it as a way to document what I've been up too. I'll try and post when I finish up a new project, go to a show or class, or if I decide to work up a lesson on something that I am working on. If you are interested in seeing what I am up to lately, this will be the place to find out. It'll take me some time to figure out how to use this, and get caught up, so be patient :o)