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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.

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

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.

wilson-1I had a workshop April 23-26, 2013 that covered the fundamentals for fabricating a pair of spurs.  The five participants each were able to complete a pair of spurs.  Introductions were made for the use and care of files, the use of a belt sander and different methods to using it, operation of a tig welder, and a buffing machine. A little machine work was also covered with a band saw and a milling machine.  Steel fabrication was focused on so each participant could gain the skills to creating a quality spur.

Chip_01Bit and spur maker Chip Merchant from Beaver Creek OR. spent a week with me learning the art of bit making and put together a very nice peice. I think he’s looking foreward to a very successful career.

leland-1This is one of my braiding classes that was from March 4 – 9th. We started with the basics and discussed the importance of quality rawhide and cutting quality strings. Things we went over were, choosing the right weight string for the right project, moisture content and hide preparation. The students cut strings, helped with some hide preparation, braided cores, twisted cores, braided bodies and we did a little knot work to end the class. Special attention was paid to the selection of the proper weight of string for their bodies and  to the way they pulled and tightened while they braided bodies and cores.

McKateeMcKatee_2Mckatee Mason of Weiser Idaho working in Ernie Marsh’s shop learning the process of bit making. In the second shot Mckatee is sawing out a set of cheek pieces for the bit using the bandsaw, the other shows her hand filing the beveled edges of the cheek piece. As Ernie jokingly says.. it’s a challenge to make that sound very exciting.. But we think it’s awesome!