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

Braidie Butters

And Our First Award Goes To…

Braidie-smallBraidie Butters began working in her Dad’s spur shop learning how to complete basic tasks in 2008. In June of 2009 she learned her first bright cut engraving in Folsom New Mexico from good friend Bill Lusk. From that point on Braidie was hooked on engraving. A few months later she took the basic bright cut engraving class offered by the TCAA in Oklahoma City where she was inspired to learn more about engraving and silversmithing.

Braidie now lives in Dalhart Texas where she runs B. Butters Silver creating custom designs and silverwork.

Congratulations to TCAA Member Dave Alderson for being selected for the Govenor’s Award in Idaho. Recognized for Excellence in Folk and Traditional Arts.


national-cowboyBeing a member of the TCAA and being part of a great show this year at The National Cowboy Museum is such an honor. This December I had the privilege of spending two Sunday afternoons at the museum and talking with visitors as they viewed the TCAA show. It’s always amazing to me to see the change in people’s perspective of how they look at each piece of work, after understanding the amount of time involved in building a piece for the TCAA Show. I spoke with several visitors who had some basic knowledge of horses and the West, who were fascinated by the pieces. The process of how one does silver high relief engraving on steel was especially fascinating. After explaining the basics of removing the background to enhance the scroll work, each would go around the room again and re-examine each piece with new found interest. This was true of every medium in the show. Visitors were amazed at how the process evolves from the initial thought, to the layout of a design, and then to the finished product. They all came away with a new appreciation for who we are as both artist and craftsman. The visitors varied from a local woman who had been to Morocco and Spain and could see the influence of their cultures in the designs and workmanship, to a couple from China with a fascination for cowboys and the West, marveling at the artistry as they stopped to look at each piece in the show. It was an honor to be in the gallery among the great works of each member of the TCAA, and to bring a new appreciation of our goals as an organization to those that came to the exhibition.