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Joe Smith

I have always enjoyed taking raw materials such as wood, metals and leather and transforming them into items that are not only visually pleasing but often serve a special purpose. For the last 14 years I have concentrated my efforts on vegetable tanned leather creating handmade pieces that are both attractive and functional. Leather is such a great medium. By controlling the moisture content, vegetable tanned bovine leather can be molded, tooled, carved, dyed, painted and individual pieces can be stitched together to create a one-of-a-kind work of art. The attributes of leather have provided me with a means to create unique objects for people that can be personalized, last for generations and is some cases be treasured as an heirloom. I like to refer to my work as “Functional Leather Art”.
The inspirations for my works mainly come from my outdoor experiences while living, hunting, fishing, camping, and traveling, throughout the Pacific Northwest, Montana, and Alaska. And in my younger days I spent a lot of time around cattle and horses and the associated leather tack and gear. I believe that the combination of those experiences and memories are the genesis for my work.