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Bob Klenda. Colorado leatherworker and saddlemaker.

I’ve never met Mr. Bob Klenda, but over the years I have become well aware of who he is, and I’ve also got several of his patterns, and we’ve talked on the phone.

A two word description?  Nice guy.

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“I wish I had his job. He’s living my dream.”

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Practice pieces. Carving and stamping flowers, vines and leaves.

An old friend of mine said that to my wife a few years ago.  He was a lawyer, and had been for many years.  He passed away a while back, far too young, and I was just thinking about him, and what he’d said to her about this “job” of mine.

I love what I do.  Most of the time.  I suppose most folks that have chased a dream, do.  I worked in the legal field for many years, but for me, it was like trying to nail Jello to a tree.  Constant stress, and no sense of worthy accomplishment.  Even good outcomes were intangible, and rarely, if ever, good for both sides.  I don’t miss it.

With this gig, it’s different.  It’s not all wonder and awe–it has its moments.  But, even when it’s bad, it’s awful damn good.


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Clean & Cluttered.

Leather requires that you keep it clean.  Avoid slopping stuff.  Wash your hands–a lot.  Keep your tools sharp.  Plan ahead…take your time.  As a result, you spend a lot of time sharpening stuff, sketching, doodling, washing your hands, cutting, stamping, more sharpening.  I’ve pretty much mastered the “clean.”

That brings me to the “clutter.”  My bench is always one mini-brainstorm away from disaster.  Clutter destroys efficiency.  I know all the rules, I just find it necessary to break ’em regularly to remind myself why we have them.

It’s a beautiful Thursday morning.  I’m looking forward to hitting the bench.  But first, the bench gets to hit me.