The saddlers gathered at Rick’s place in Star, Idaho last week. We spent two days talking saddles and leatherwork. A good bit of the time was spent critiquing one another’s work and discussing ideas for the future. Discussion circled around saddles, trees, ground seats, leather, tools, techniques, history, and a bunch of other related stuff. It was a great time!
Day 5- My Goal this week was to give Tanner and Jodi Knowledge, Experience and Process that would start to form a Base allowing them to take their Ideas and Creativity from their Heads to their Hands.
Through the week they each Built a Buckle(shape, size, edge of their own choosing) that put them through the Paces of Designing Complicated Fabrication Techniques:
-These steps were Designed to Understand that if you Learnt your Basics, Respect the Trade and Materials, Dedicate Yourself to Learning that overtime You can Accomplish what you Desire.
This was a Long 5 Days filled with Discussions, Theory, Challenges and Revelations(AWE-HAW Moments). Sounds Hard Perhaps but because of their Dedication it was also Fun!
Thank You to the TCAA Providing These Opportunities, Thank You to the Sponsors for Making it Possible and Thank You to Jodi and Tanner for having the Courage and Desire to want to Continue True Cowboy Craftsmanship.
Along with Extensive Discussion about Pricing, Career Motives and Moving from Craft to Art with Dedication to a Chosen Discipline.
Day 3- We Journeyed to Chuck Storme’s Shop where Tanner and Jodi were inspired by Chuck over 50 years of Dedication to Craftsmanship, his Shop Organization and Purpose Plus Silver pieces he had On Hand from John Ennis and The Murry Brothers.
We returned to my Shop and they Proceeded on Their Projects all the Time Discussing the Purpose and Life Of a Craftsperson and Craftsmanship.
As They Said At The End Of The Day – “Life Changing”
Day 2- We worked on the Technical and Practical aspect(hands on) of Complicated Soldering Procedures.
– Designing and Executing Scroll and Flower Overlays.
– In Depth Discussion on the Ethics of Western Craftsmanship.
“Respect the Craft- Make Something Beautiful! ” — Steve Jobs
We talked about steps “process” along with a long talk on what their goals were in their chosen trades and how perhaps they can fulfill those goals.
In 1998, a group of the West’s leading cowboy artisans—saddlemakers, silversmiths, rawhide braiders, and bit and spur makers—recognized a threefold crisis: a shortage of newcomers entering their trades, an aging master class of artists, and fewer opportunities for apprentices to find willing, qualified mentors.
Disciplines that had been part of the cowboy culture for generations were in danger of dying off, of being replaced by mass production. And, the prospects for aspiring makers to earn their livings producing quality work seemed to be fading fast.
In response, these individuals joined together to form the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association, a group dedicated to educating student craftsmen, demonstrating the levels of quality possible in their represented trades, and proving that makers producing fine work through traditional methods could be paid fairly for their efforts and rightfully be considered artists.
TCAA created an unprecedented lineup of education programs—scholarships and fellowships, workshops and mentoring opportunities—aimed at enabling younger makers to achieve success. The group’s annual exhibition of TCAA members’ work, though, would become its highest-profile educational effort, showcasing one-of-a-kind, handcrafted works exemplifying the finest work possible in these traditional cowboy arts.
Cowboy Renaissance tells this group’s story—its origins, its evolution, its impact on the contemporary West—and features hundreds of the works that have been included in TCAA’s annual show, an event that’s grown from an experiment fraught with risk, to one of the cowboy culture’s most anticipated, and most inspiring, offerings.
The 2020 TCAA’s Emerging Artist Competition!
Again, we are exited it will be held at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction, Mesa Convention Center, 263 N Center Street, Mesa Arizona on January 24-26, 2020.
We believe by focusing on one discipline per year we can give participates more exposure to collectors, the public and other Western Crafts people creating more opportunity and growth in the industry.
January 2020 – Bit & Spur Makers
First Place – $5,000 value, cash and prizes
($2500 check. $2500 value for travel and hotel package to the 21st Annual Traditional Cowboy Arts Exhibition & Sale held at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
The first place winner will be enjoy the weekend festivities and be introduced on-stage during the opening night banquet.
Second Place – $1,000 check
Third Place – $500 check
Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction People’s Choice Award $500 voted on by the public will be awarded by Brian and Melissa Lebel
The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association is excited to offer this competition to the Cowboy trades!
TCAA Emerging Artists Competition Schedule
Here are Details for the Application and Rules:
- There is no official application form, simply email a complete bio with personal photo along with as many photos of your recent work as possible to both Wilson Capron firstname.lastname@example.org and Scott Hardy email@example.com (Make sure photos are of appropriate size so they are easy to see and under 1MB)
- If you have applied before you can apply again.
- The top 10 entries in each category will be accepted.
- All work/designs must be original — made only by the contestant.
If you are accepted:
- You are allowed one (1) piece.
- You must personally deliver your work and be responsible for it during the event.
- The piece has to be at the TCAA booth by 10:00 am on the date stated above.
- This is a competition Not a Sales Event, we will not sell your work. We will NOT post prices but if there is interest in a piece, that is between the interested party and Craftsperson and should be done away from the display.
- The winners (one in each discipline) will be announced at the beginning of Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction.
- If you are selected as the winner, you will receive a check along with travel and hotel expenses to the annual Traditional Cowboy Arts Exhibition and Sale at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in October. There you will be introduced on stage during the banquet.
Things to Remember:
- Although this is a competition the TCAA is trying to build community between Craftspeople, we believe the Emerging Artist weekend is a great opportunity for everyone to exchange ideas and form friendships both furthering their disciplines.
- TCAA members and Judges in attendance are all there on a volunteer basis to try to further Western Craftsmanship and camaraderie in the disciplines.
- Everyone in attendance is expected to be polite and professional – those who are not will be asked to leave.
- If you would like a critique of your work from the Judges that will be available but if you don’t ask it won’t be given.
Please come and enjoy!
Hotel accommodations – there are many in the area, here is the Host Hotel for the show (ask for Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction Rate)
Phoenix Marriott Mesa
200N Centennial Way, Mesa, AZ
Phone 1-800-835-9873 or 480-898-8300
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
October 10th and close December 1st 2019
Send photos and bio to:
535 Airway Dr
Westcliffe, Colorado 81252