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TCAA Mom’s Scholarship

The TCAA is pleased to announce the creation of a new MOM’S Scholarship in the amount of $1000.00 to be used to help defer expenses associated with the recipient’s tuition and travel when studying with a TCAA member. The MOM’s Scholarship is to be awarded to a woman seeking to improve her skills in one of the 4 TCAA Disciplines of Rawhide Braiding, Silver Smithing, Bit and Spur Making, and Saddle Making. The individual applying must have as a primary goal working full time in one of the 4 listed disciplines if not already so engaged. Prospective applicants may apply with a short bio and a minimum of 4 pictures of their BEST work. Each applicant must show a dedication to improving their skills in the chosen discipline and their goals must be aligned with those of the TCAA as evidenced in the TCAA Mission Statement.

TCAA Saddelmaker John Willemsma created the Mom’s scholarship to honor his mother Mrs. Tena Willemsma. A women who is and will be remembered for her ability to inspire others while living an exemplary life with strength and grace.

Tena Willemsma immigrated to the United States in 1956 from Holland. She raised 6 children and worked hard to receive her GED at age 52. Two years later she concluded her education and received her certification as an LPN. For the next 20 years Tena worked nights as a registered nurse, finally retiring at the age of 74.

Tena Willemsma a strong and determined woman demonstrated tenacity, strength of character, and unwavering dedication to her family and her work. John along with the TCAA continue to believe that these qualities are as essential today as they were 50 or 100 years ago. The TCAA is very grateful to the Willemsma’s for sharing the empowering story of their mother, while providing the resources to promote and encourage a craftswoman to develop and improve in her chosen trade.

Mom’s Scholarship applications will open
July 1st and close September 15th 2017

Send photos and bio to:
John Willemsma 
535 Airway Dr
Westcliffe, Colorado 81252
405 282-5336

Mom’s Scholarship Recipients

2016 – Rawhide Braider, Justine Nelson
2015 – Saddle Maker, Anna Severe

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Anna Severe – Mom’s Scholarship Recipient

ANNA 2

A few snippets about this year’s Mom’s Scholarship we promised you! Anna Severe was the recipient and here’s a few quotes and pic we wanted to share.

TCAA Saddelmaker John Willemsma created the Mom’s scholarship to honor his mother Mrs. Tena Willemsma. A women who is and will be remembered for her ability to inspire others while living an exemplary life with strength and grace.

 

From Saddlemaker Cary Schwarz: Anna Severe was a delight to have in my class recently. She is an outstanding student a great person as well. I’ve taught many folks over the last 13 years, and she ranks near the top as far as her willingness and effort to absorb information. I am looking forward to watching her development as an artist and a craftsman. I’ll be staying in touch with her as time goes by to see what else I can do to help her along the way.

Anna had expressed her desire to learn more:

FB_IMG_1446817951484I feel I have been stuck in a rut when it comes to my saddle making. This scholarship I am hoping will help me with the small things which will effect the quality and function my saddles. I am also looking forward to having some help with my tooling to make my flowers and pattern flows smoothly. Thanks so much for this opportunity.

And the results? 

Thanks so much for this opportunity to work with Cary. I have learned more than I could of ever thought. My notes are over 50 pages and over 500 pictures. Cary has given me an awesome vision on how to make my saddles clean, and functional. I am looking forward to building a saddle using what he has taught me. I will send you more pictures after I get the saddle done. Feel free to do whatever you would like with these pictures and if you want more I have lots. Thank you so much.

 

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Hermann Oak Tannery Tour

herman-oak-tour-01I was fortunate to be invited to join all the TCAA saddle makers & Don Reeves to tour the Hermann Oak Leather Tannery. On March 29/14 I flew from Calgary, Alberta to St Louis, MO.  Shep Hermann picked up Chuck Stormes, Perdro Perdini and myself and took us to our hotel in St. Louis, the historic Missouri Athletic Club.

March 30 was the first of our two day tour of Hermann Oak.  We were all picked up from the hotel by Hermann Oak staff and taken to the tannery. After introductions we sat down in the main office with Shep Hermann and some key Hermann Oak employee’s.  Over the next couple hours Shep explained the plans he had for us in regards to the tannery tour, the company history, and their business philosophy.

herman-oak-tour-02After our discussions in the office the group of saddle makers along with Shep and some of the department heads from Hermann Oak we started out tour of the tannery. The tour was in chronological order from when the cowhide arrives to the finished leather.  According to the staff this tour was by far the most in-depth Hermann Oak has ever done, they explained each and every process of tanning leather from the hides arriving salted, to the cleaning and un-hairing process,  then the hides are taken to the rocker room where they start the process of tanning the leather using some machinery and tanning vats that are over 130 years old, this process can take 2-6 weeks. Then the leather goes into large wood drums to put back into the leather fat liquors and oils. This process takes a couple days, the leather is then put thru a slicker machine and then taken upstairs to the drying room where it is hung and dried.

After we finished the tour of the tanning process we had a very detailed question and answer period with Shep Hermann, the department heads and the chemists going over all the different processes of tanning leather. These discussions were very informational for us saddle makers and for the Herman Oak staff. This concluded day 1 of our tannery tour.

The next morning we started with another quick question and answer period, we then went upstairs to complete the tour of the tannery.

herman-oak-tour-03We spent a large amount of time going the grading process, learning all the different defects in leather and what the effects of these are.  Along with the grading department heads we went over each and every defect, how the leather is selected and graded etc. Shep had all of us saddle makers to make a list of our top 5 most important leather defects. This discussion was again very educational for us makers and the Hermann Oak staff.

herman-oak-tour-04Next we met Earl and Ron whom are the two gentlemen who grade the leather.

We all had many questions for Earl & Ron in regards to how leather is graded, then the staff brought to us many different sides of leather so we could see the different defects and grades of leather, as a group we had very details discussions on each side of leather we looked at.

herman-oak-tour-05After our discussion on grading leather we finished the tour of the tannery, seeing all the other processes involved,  splitting the leathers, dying and hot stuffing with wax and much, much more.

herman-oak-tour-06We then spent another few hours in the office, with another very in-depth discussion with Shep Hermann & staff with any and all questions we had about the tanning process or leather in general.

Something Cary Schwarz said after the tour which I had to agree with 100% “this was a life changing event, I’ll never look at Hermann Oak leather in the same way after visiting their tannery.”

I was simply amazed at the amount of knowledge that I gained about leather and the tanning process. This was yet another awesome experience, many thanks to the TCAA and the fellowship program.

Steve Mason

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An Invitation To Visit Hermann Oak Leather

Throughout 2013, the TCAA had ongoing talks with Mr. Shep Hermann of Hermann Oak Leather regarding maintenance of saddles and leather products. As a result of these exchanges, Mr. Hermann became interested in the TCAA and its goals. While attending Cowboy Crossings last October at the National Cowboy Museum, he invited the TCAA saddle makers to St.Louis for a tour and talks with key tannery workers.

Those invited included Rick Bean, Pedro Pedrini, Cary Schwarz, Chuck Stormes, John Willemsma, Steve Mason (Tcaa Fellowship 2014) and Don Reeves, National Cowboy Museum Curator.

On March 31st and April 1st, 2014 we met at the Hermann Oak Tannery for a complete tour, including a series of lively, informative discussions centered on the details of tanning and using traditional vegetable tanned leathers.

 I believe leather to be the first chemically-produced product in the history of mankind, because it can be produced by accident and is one of the most useful articles throughout history. – Shep Hermann

This may well represent the first time discussions at that level have taken place between experienced saddle makers and a leading tanner of saddle skirting.

The TCAA extends its sincere thanks to Shep Hermann and the entire staff of Hermann Oak Leather for organizing this historic meeting.

Please enjoy the accompanying video which provides a window into the operation of one of America’s most celebrated tanneries.

For further information please visit their website

Steve Mason – 2013 TCAA Fellowship Recipient

2013 TCAA Fellowship recipient Steve Mason (High River, Alberta) spent four days with Cary Schwarz recently.

Here are Steve’s thoughts after the time at Cary’s shop in Idaho:

Time for another update on my TCAA Fellowship experience.

I have just returned home from 4 days spent with Cary Schwarz, 2 days of private instruction working on specific details and problem areas of saddle construction, and 2 days taking a floral design & carving course with 3 other students.

Cary’s is a first class teacher & human being. The hospitality he showed us was amazing, and with every question I asked, Cary gave a thoughtful and very informative answer.

One of the most inspiring things from the weekend was Cary’s true passion to improve his own craft. To see a craftsman of Cary’s caliber still working as hard as he can to make every saddle better than the last, was very inspirational and will help me to continue my never ending quest to improve my craft. And this should benefit the industry of makers as a whole to never stop trying to improve their work.

I would like the thank the TCAA for the amazing journey I am on with the fellowship.
And I would highly recommend any gearmaker out there to get your application in to the TCAA for next years fellowship, the applications need to get to Scott Hardy before the deadline of April 1. Whether you are a silversmith, bit & spur maker, braider or saddle maker, this is an opportunity of a lifetime to improve your craft.

Steve Mason
2014 TCAA Fellowship recipient.

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Details of Saddle Making with John Willemsma

JW-2014-SaddleWorkshop-07Thirteen years ago I had the great opportunity to attend a Traditional Cowboy Arts Asociation workshop at the NATIONAL COWBOY MUSEUM in Oklahoma City .. Fast forward to this past February and to the “Details of Saddle making ” workshop that I had the honor present as a member of The TCAA.

Eleven students from California to Wisconsin spent four days observing how to work on areas that give many saddlemakers issues , such as the proper way to cover a metal horn, fitting a swell cover on a saddle requiring a seam or welt and a Wade (slick fork),the proper steps to achieve a nice cantle shape (fitting your cantle back and cantle filler) and according to all in attendance.

Making clean cuts and fitting the “seat ears” at the base of the cantle binding for both a Cheyenne roll and a straight Bead style cantle.In the four day class two different styles of saddles were worked on .. A Wade and a Will James .. Giving everyone a wide range of ideas to improve upon their work.

The focus on the TRADITIONAL COWBOY ARTS ASSOC. fall workshop will be ..Saddle tree fit with TCAA member Chuck Stormes. Many thanks to all who attended and worked so hard to make the February work shop a success .

– John Willemsma TCAA

JW-2014-SaddleWorkshop-01 JW-2014-SaddleWorkshop-02 JW-2014-SaddleWorkshop-03 JW-2014-SaddleWorkshop-04 JW-2014-SaddleWorkshop-05 JW-2014-SaddleWorkshop-06Those attending the workshop

Cindy Abrams…Midway, TX
Craig Brown ..Stillwell, OK
Jim Kiss Modesto, CA
Jan Mark, Elbert, CO
Mike Monroe, Fletcher, OK
Ed Rodgers, Arena, WI
Jock Pollard, Cement, OK
Ken Raye, Zachary ,LA
Evan Rolland, Coalgate, OK
Jamie Sayre, Ventura, CA
T.A. Williams, Benton, KS

2014 Workshop Dates

2014 TCAA Workshops

The 2014 workshops, co-hosted by the TCAA and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and presented by TCAA instructors, will focus on saddle making with particular attention to the areas that are often the most problematic to saddlers.

dev cult tcaa12 cs_0117 February 11-14, 2014, “Details of Saddlemaking” will be held in the Museum’s Nona Jean Hulsey Rumsey Art Education Center. John Willemsma will concentrate on several common problem areas including fitting a saddle seat, different styles of cantles and cantle bindings, riggings, horns and covering both Wade-style forks and also one requiring a welt or seam.

This will involve intermediate to advanced instruction with many practical solutions. The program is styled for a class of 15 participants.

IMG_4382PH BWThe fall 2014 workshop, October 7-10, is “Saddle Tree, Selection and Fit” led by Chuck Stormes will be of interest to both saddle makers and serious horsemen. It is intended to demystify the terminology, geometry and anatomy involved in selecting a tree that is suitable for the horses, rider and specific use intended. It is NOT a course in how to make a saddle tree but will give insight into the variables and adjustments that are possible on the part of the tree maker.

The presentation can accommodate an enrollment of at least 24 participants. Due to limited enrollment, these classes fill quickly so call early to hold a spot in the workshop. Advance reservations are required for both workshops. For further information and enrollment call (405)478-2250, Ext. 277.

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In the Shop: Cary Schwarz Saddle Building Clinic

clinic 2013

Cary Schwarz conducted a clinic at his shop near Salmon, Idaho June 10-14. Three attendees watched and listened as Cary built most of a halfbreed saddle. The important principles of saddlemaking were discussed at length: trees, riggings, ground seats, fork cover, seat, skirts, cantle binding, as well as business issues and practice.