About Me

I am an artist and illustrator whose work has an intensely historical, even biographical concept to it. As an artist, I see the objects that I paint through the eyes of a 18th century limner, or traveling artist and naturalist. I’ve always been drawn to things that have a history and a story behind them, things that show signs of wear or age. My goal as an artist is to create every item with an historical past with an aged look and feel to it. Each of my paintings resonates with an historical perspective upon its completion, a look and patina of having been loved and handed down from generation to generation, hinting at ownership by a long forgotten person. Pencil notations and marginalia are often added to give an additional appearance of age and prior usage. My artistic versatility has helped me achieve status as one of the top craftspeople in America. Early American Life magazine has thrice named me one of the top traditional craftsmen in America. My work has been featured as movie props, used in TV documentaries and videos and seen numerous times in magazines and on their covers. Thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Conner Prairie Arms Making Workshop

Just completed teaching the 
Leather Working/Recreating the Kentucky Rifle Hunting Pouch workshop 
at Conner Prairie. Great students. Lots of learning, fun, 
& the joy of making new friends. 
Here are the participants with their completed pouches.

I also taught a workshop on 
Southern Backcountry design/Fraktur from Virginia and the Carolinas

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pouch with Ground Hog Hair Flap


This complete set features pouch, hone and knife. 
The leather pouch has a flap that is made of a ground hog hide. 
Both the knife and the horn are originals. 
The horn has been repaired with a leather covering.
SOLD!

Quilled Pouch

This pouch has quillwork on the flap. 
Made from brain tanned leather. 
Red horsehair decorative cones have been added.
For Sale
$795

Friday, January 4, 2013

Small Hunting Pouch & Horn Set



This small cloth pouch is made from striped ticking fabric. 
The complete set features an original horn with repairs. 
The pouch has a leather flap and a handwoven strap.
SOLD!



The small patch knife that looks like it has peeled a "lot of taters."
 All in all a nice set.











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Images photographed at the 2012 CLA Show by Jan Riser.



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Frankie SIlvers Pouch for Bobby Denton

Bobby talked to me at the CLA meeting in Lexington about making him a pouch that would depicted the hanging of Frankie Silvers, a young woman who was hanged for the murder of her husband Charlie in Morganton, North Carolina, on July 12, 1833. Bobby, being from Morganton has grown up with the legend about the murder and Frankie Silvers, the first woman hanged in the state. 
After several phone conversations and letters, this is the pouch that I made for Bobby.


 The Frankie Silvers story has been told in countless newspaper and magazine articles, plays and documentaries and even in a ballad or two. It continues to hold the imagination of many today as it has for almost two hundred years.

Here’s how the story goes....Frankie, suspecting Charlie of infidelity with another man’s wife, killed Charlie in a fit of jealous rage three days before Christmas 1831. She decided to exact her revenge as he lay sleeping on the floor of their cabin. Frankie got an axe and then struck Charlie's in the head. The first strike, however, did not immediately kill him and he thrashed around the house mortally wounded. Frankie hid under their bed, eventually coming out when she heard his body fall to the floor. She took another swing with the axe severing Charlie’s head. With the help of some of her family, Frankie attempted to conceal the evidence of the murder by chopping the body into pieces and burning them in the cabin's fireplace. The story was that Charlie had gone hunting and had not returned.

A search of the frozen river and surrounding countryside did not locate Charlie. A thorough investigation of the home and fireplace area by a neighbor revealed bits and pieces of charred bone and an uncommon amount of grease. A further search dried blood under the wooden floor.

Frankie was charged with the murder, arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to die by hanging. After a failed appeal to the North Carolina Supreme Court, she broke out of jail with the help of her family. After a few days on the run, she was caught and returned to prison. Her execution was set for July 12, 1833.

When the day arrived, she was led to the scaffold. The sheriff asked if she had anything she wanted to say. Before she could answer, her father yelled, "Die with it in ye, Frankie!" The noose was then placed around her neck, and FRankie Silvers became the first woman to be hanged in North Carolina. This pouch depicts the hanging.















Sunday, August 5, 2012

TWO MORE STUDENTS WIN AT DIXON'S

CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU BOTH!
 Karen Pease & Chuck Brownewell Ribbon winners!!!!!! 
Both of these great students took my pouch workshop at Conner Prairie. 
It was a pleasure having you both in the class.
Karen Pease won with her pouch.
Chuck Brownewell won a ribbon with a pouch and Horn combo set.

I believe that brings to eight the number of students 
who have have won ribbons at Dixon's 
after taking my pouch class


If you haven't signed up for the workshop, don't delay. 
Classes fill up rapidly.
The workshop is October 6-12th.
Click on the link below to find out more about the classes offered and how to register.
http://www.connerprairie.org/Learn-And-Do/Programs/Arts-and-Arms-Making-Workshop.aspx

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Southern Pouch & Banded Horn Set


Ron Vail and I decided to combine our talents on this one!
 Having both been recognized as  top traditional craftsmen in America by
Early American Life magazine we thought, "let's do one together!"

This fine Southern pouch & horn set has a nice aged look. It is is one of those nice, plain early pouch sets that seems the more you look at it, the more character and charm it has. Banded Horn is hand carved to give the appearance of a turned horn of the period. I made the Pouch out of rough-out tanned cowhide and hand sewed it with waxed linen thread, Edge and top of flap has been hand pinked. Punched out design on flap add a home made look. Front of pouch bellows is sewn from three prieces of leather. Pouch is about 11" high and 10 1/2" wide. It has an inside pocket sewn to the back. Strap adjust with a brass buckle.

The handmade banded horn by Ron measures about 14 1/2" around the outside curve with a 2 3/4" diameter base. He hand filed five hand rings around it to replicate a turned southern banded horn. The front strap ring is connected to the horn with a copper band. Both stopper and base plug are hand carved.
SOLD

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Two students who took my pouch making Workshop

Jeff Bibb & MaryEllen Pratt
 Both are doing fine work.
Jeff is making southern Appalacian pouches.
 MaryEllen is making pouches to compliment her husband Ian's fine rifleguns.
The Pouch making workshop is taught at Conner Prairie in October
During their Arms Making workshop.
Full information is posted below in another post. 
 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

LOS ANGELES TIMES Article about my craft.

Some time back John Balzar, a Los Angeles Times staff writer, contacted the folks at the Kalamazoo Living History Show about writing an article on the art & craft of the American frontier and artists who practicing those crafts. Balzar then contacted me and we met at the show. Balzar also talked to several other artists about our craft that weekend. If you follow this link you can read that story.  http://articles.latimes.com/2006/apr/09/entertainment/ca-craft9


This article is copyrighted by the Los Angeles Times.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

St. Michael Pouch

This pouch features St. Michael slaying the Dragon 
on the pouch flap. the design has been "Poker etched"
 burnt in the leather with a hot iron.
Nice size pouch. Flap and pouch body has short fringe as a welt.




Friday, November 25, 2011

Bill Ruggie Pouch

Bill Ruggie sent me the wonderful horn
shown in the above photo and asked me
to make him a pouch that would go with it.

This is the finished pouch.
The scroll & leaf work on the pouch
matches the scrolls and leaf designs on the horn.
The pouch has a deer hair flap.