Monday, May 31, 2010

Not a lot of time for leather working

I haven't posted anything new on here in a while. It's been kind of busy here at our house the last few weeks. My son Jake graduated from high school a little over a week ago. A lot of my family came up to attend graduation and spend a little time with us. My oldest son Dusty was here for 2 weeks. It was great having him home again. We haven't seen him very many times since he moved to Salt Lake City where he's been living and working the last couple years. My parents, my sister and my younger brother and his kids were also here for a few days. It was nice to see all of them too!

Our weather has finally gotten nice which brings yard work along with it. I haven't been doing much in the way of leather work, but I did manage to make Dusty a plain black belt while he was here, and since the first one ended up being a little too small, Jake now has one too :o) The are both talking about wanting ranger style belts too, so there may be some more belts to make. We haven't gotten very much farther on the saddle projects either. We did cut out Jake's stirrup leathers (again). We realized after cutting the first ones that they should have been longer if he wants them laced instead of having buckles. They are now hanging from the basement ceiling with weights to take the stretch out of them.

We did finally get a chance to start working with our new horses. On Sunday evening we got on both Biscuit and Buttercup for the first time and were pleasantly surprised at how well that went. No rodeo!! They both seem to be pretty quick learners. Jake took a few pictures while I was saddling the horses and a couple close ups that I asked him to take.

One that turned out really neat was a close up of an eye. You can actually see him taking the picture in the reflection, along with some of the corral in the background. I'm thinking that will go into the "someday I might have to try this on leather" file. It might be a while cuz that list is getting pretty long. I'll also be starting on a new lesson with Jan Schoonover pretty soon. This one will be a black bear. I've done that one before, so the class will be a nice refresher for me, and I can really concentrate on getting pictures and notes taken. We sold a few of the antelope lessons and the people that have bought them seemed really pleased. I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of their projects using the lessons.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sculptured Leather Art Lesson #1 now available

I'd like to announce it here first. The first lesson in the Sculptured Leather Art series is now available on my website. This lesson will teach you Jan Schoonover's techniques on how to carve, emboss and color a pronghorn antelope. The lesson includes a tracing pattern, list of materials and tools needed, and complete instructions with text and color pictures (over 120 of them!).

These lessons will be in the form of PDF files, downloadable to your computer. Cost for the lessons in this series will be $25 USD and payment can be made through Paypal. I'd really appreciate feedback on these lessons from anyone that purchases them. I also welcome any questions you might have.

We'll start working on the second lesson in the series in early June and plan on having it available around July 15th. Lesson #2 will be on a black bear.

For those of you attending the Rocky Mountain Leather Trade show this week in Sheridan, Jan will have a printed copy of the lesson at his booth available for viewing. I've made a few revisions since he got his copy, but it will still give you a pretty good idea of what is contained in the lessons.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rex Cook nominated for ND Cowboy Hall of Fame

I just found out that Rex Cook, who taught me how to build saddles, has been nominated for induction to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in the Leaders of Ranching and Rodeo Division. Nominees selected will be inducted into the hall of fame June 26th, 2010.

You can read more about the nominees at the ND Cowboy Hall of Fame website. There was also an article about Rex's nomination on page 5 of the May issue of the Prairie Arts Newsletter

Congratulations Rex on your nomination and good luck in the selection process!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Coming soon!

Back in the middle of April, I went to Billings and took a class with Jan Schoonover on how to create an embossed pronghorn antelope. I had taken this same class a few years ago, but this time we had an agenda. Jan and I are going to put together a series of lessons geared at teaching the techniques he has developed over the years to create his extreme embossed leather pictures.

Since taking that class, I have been working at writing up the first lesson in the series. For some reason, I was having some trouble getting started on this one. Last weekend I decided to try it the way I've written lessons in the past. I started carving a new antelope project and just wrote as I was going. It didn't take long to get into the swing of it, and I got past the writers block I was having. Thursday it rained and snowed all day and Friday it snowed on and off, so I had both days off from work. I spent then both days working on the lesson, and it's just about finished. It just needs a little more proof reading by new eyes to pick out any errors I might have made. I printed out a copy of what it looks like right now and mailed it to Jan. He wanted to have a copy to show people in his booth in Sheridan in a couple weeks. Our plans right now are to make these lessons available as PDF files downloadable off the internet. To keep the cost down, we'd like to not have to print them out, but I haven't ruled that out completely yet. As soon as we get things set up on my website to start selling the lessons, I'll make an announcement. Hopefully it wont be too far in the future. Once we get things going, we'd like to be able to offer a new lesson every 6-8 weeks. It'll mean a lot of trips to Billings for me in the next couple of years, but it's a project I'm really excited to be part of.

Each lesson will contain fully illustrated instructions for completing a new project. The first lesson has 32 pages of instructions that cover the tooling, hairing, embossing and coloring processes, including over 120 color photographs. Hopefully I didn't leave anything out :o)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Saddle trees arrived, and what's new.

Our saddle trees arrived Saturday from Rod and Denise Nikkel. They look great. I'm excited to get started on them, but not as excited as Jake is. He started on his Sunday afternoon! I've got a dozen things to finish up before I can get started on mine and there just isn't enough time in a day.

We started working on a new building last week and it's a lot closer to home. I wont miss the 3 hour a day drive that we have been doing since last fall. That should give me some more time to get things done. The lady we are working for now had to horses in the corral that she decided Jake could have, so add more things to the to-do list. Both horses are 3 year olds and just halter broke. If it's nice out on Sunday, we'll probably have a rodeo here!

I've been writing up a lesson on the antelope class that I took a few weeks ago with Jan Schoonover. I'd really like to get this finished up, but it's taking longer than I expected it to. I didn't realize how many pictures I took at this class, but I didn't want to leave anything out. Jan would like to have a copy of the lesson available to show people at his booth in Sheridan. Kate Dubiel is helping me re-do my website and add some features so that we can offer the lesson (and future ones) for sale as downloadable PDF files. I still haven't finished the coloring on my antelope from the class, and I started carving another one as I was writing the lesson to help me get past some issues I was having with writer's block. I have a partially finished bear that could use a lot more attention too!!!

My grizzly bear and elk arrived home from the show in Indiana. I was kind of nervous to see what he looked like after his trip, but the damage wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. The scratches are pretty minor and I think I can fix them up pretty easily. The best of show trophy that Roz made is really neat. I'll have to take a picture of it one of these days. Roz comes up with some of the most imaginative ideas I've ever seen.

We'll that's it for this update. Have a great week everyone.