Just back from the Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show!

Mid May is a special time of year for us leather workers, especially those living near enough to Wyoming that we can easily travel to the Rocky Mountain Leather Trade show in Sheridan, WY.

The Premier Leather Trade Show in the US

A view of the show floor at the 2023 Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show.
A view of the trade show floor.

Every May some of the best suppliers of tools, equipment, hardware and of course leather gather in Sheridan for a week long event that includes classes and a leather artwork show that usually attracts some of the best artisans from around the world.  As a leather worker this is an excellent chance to see the work of some of the best leather workers, purchase specialized tools and get some of the most unique leathers on the planet all in one place.  It’s also a great chance to learn from others and improve our skills.

This has been an event where in the past I’ve taken classes to improve my skills and where I’ve met some amazing people.  The leather worker community in the US is really a very friendly and supportive group as a whole and the leather workers at the Sheridan show really exemplify that.  They are a community that will support each other and freely share their knowledge.  A great example of this is a free class taught on Saturday afternoon to kids to introduce them to leather work.  Master leather craftsman Jim Linnel of Elk Track Studios has given his time for many years to introduce this art to the next generation and to further its traditions.  It’s this kind of openness and community that make this show such a special event in my life and the lives of many other leather workers around the country.

I came back inspired by the amazing work I saw at the World Leather Debut, an art exhibit that is part of the show, as well as the amazing friends I’ve made over the years who are real leaders in this art form.  Now I’m back with a few new tools, a few new ideas and some beautiful leather.  

Timeless Leather Decor for your Home

Remember Leather Decor?

I remember a long time ago traveling for work and staying in a small motel in central Kansas.  The motel had a western / cattle drive theme and I distinctly remember the room having carved leather artwork and picture frames along with other kinds of western themed decor.  I really liked the place and since I had to visit this customer several times I always made a point of staying at that same motel.




Carved leather picture frame with floral carving design and a brand.
Hand Carved Leather Picture Frame

“Leather decor items are a timeless form of decoration for the home and they aren’t limited to western themes.”

This was all long before I knew anything about working with or carving leather.  But it shows how I was interested in the western design motif and leather carving in general.  As a fan of western history it all points to my eventually becoming a leather craftsman and my focus on western floral patterns.

So when I got a chance to make a leather decor item I jumped at it!  A few year’s ago a customer requested a carved picture frame as a wedding gift.  She was looking for a floral design with the happy couple’s brand centered on it.  The final result is shown here and they were all thrilled with it.

It was a fun project and I’ve wanted to make more things like it.  I have an end table in my house that needs the top redone and I want to make an all leather top for it with a carved design.  One of these days I’m going to make the time to do this for myself.

Leather decor items are a timeless form of decoration for the home and they aren’t limited to western themes.  When I was young it was more common to see leather decor items in homes.  Usually they were not western themed though it make sense for the motel I was visiting.  Often they were just meant to signify luxury.  While I like western floral designs myself, there is no reason these designs can’t be Celtic, Victorian or any other theme you prefer for your decorating style.

If you have any ideas for a custom leather decor item you would like for your home, let me know.  I’m always happy to work in a  different style and I would be thrilled to make more items like this picture frame or a leather table runner.  Just contact me and let me know what you have in mind.  Together I think we can make a really cool family heirloom!

PS:  Looking for a unique western motel?

Speaking of motels with a unique western history, try checking out Loveland Heights Cottages,  These unique cabins are located along the Big Thompson River near Estes Part, CO.  They have one, two, and three-bedroom cottages with fully equipped kitchens and many with decks that are right on the river. They are one of the best vacation values in the Rocky Mountains and I’m happy to have them as sponsors.  Give them a call today to book your summer getaway!