I suppose I should confess my guilt. Not only do I spend the majority of my time making stuff, I also spend a huge number of hours watching other people make stuff. I’ve always been fascinated with useful products painstakingly created by hand, one at a time.
Watching widgets banged out by the thousands using machinery never held much appeal.
In my little world, my canvas is most often leather. But, many times it’s a camera, a Wacom tablet and stylus, software and other “techie” stuff. However, with the abundance of learning material available on YouTube, via Google, millions of assorted videos and images, websites, etc., there’s never a shortage of things to learn. More often, it’s a shortage of time.
A couple weeks ago I read the book “Steal Like An Artist,” by a guy named Austin Kleon. It’s a pretty funny book, but it also rings with truth. I was compelled to subscribe to his newsletter, and that weekly e-mail triggered whatever brain cells came up with the idea for this post. I didn’t actually steal anything. (The photo below is a screenshot).
Personally, I like to think I don’t copy anybody, or God forbid–steal. But, I learn from everybody. Just a few of my influences would be California saddlemaker Jeremiah Watt, Idaho artist and saddlemaker Cary Schwarz, Colorado saddlemaker and leather master Jesse W. Smith, Dusty Johnson, and easily a thousand others. If you can find them on the Leatherworker.net Forum, they’re an influence for me.
Just in the gunleather genre I’d have to mention Matt Del Fatti up in Northern Wisconsin, Milt Sparks Holsters in Boise, Idaho, and Tucker Gunleather over in Houston, Texas. That’s just three, but be assured I’ve forgotten to list a hundred others.
Here’s an article by Casey Lesser I read this morning on Artsy.net.
Here’s some links to the folks mentioned earlier if you’d like to go over and take a look. All artists in their own right, and influential on me and many, many others. If leather is something you’re interested in looking into, and trying your hand with, there is no better resource than LeatherWorker.net .
Please feel free to comment on any of your influences, or if we share any of the same ones. I would guess that we’re all influenced by others–or by at least someone.
Here’s to Happy Trees, and Happy Accidents.
Bob Ross, October 29, 1942 — July 4, 1995.