Friday, December 23, 2016
Monday, December 19, 2016
One of my favorite holiday traditions is going to the Cowboy Christmas show here in Las Vegas - I look forward to it every year.
Combine everything about cowboys and the holidays and rustic western living and you'll have an idea of what's available here.
Everything under the sun -
boots, (this one was about two feet tall)
but this bad boy was almost as tall as me!
and of course - Christmas trees.
Of course, I have a bias toward the woodworking stuff - like these barrels,
available in a variety of sizes.
I always love visiting with Christine, the owner of TreeStump Woodcrafts.
Her wares are amazing,
and get better, year after year.
I've been collecting these cutting boards
and wooden utensils for years!
This year - her furniture really caught my eye.
If you like wooden pieces, I highly recommend you visit her website, or visit her booth next year.
This chair caught my eye - the wooden trim on the front was amazing,
but some of the paintings in this booth were stunning.
Apodaca Native Design is a booth I'll visit again next year!
As we wandered around, we found a few tee pees
... as a kid who loved making "tents" in my family's living room, I would have killed to have one of these tee pee tents.
And then.... the native american carvings.
OMG, I want one of these,
OMG, I want one of these,
and regretted not buying one.
Some were as tall as me, but these sculptures were available in a variety of heights.
Unfortunately I lost the business card for this booth, but I will track down this company.
A few booths later, these wooden bowls caught my eye;
these segmented pieces were fabulous. Rich Charleson, of Charliwood.com had some exquisite bowls, with amazing laminations.
His "Basket Illusions" series fooled your eye into thinking these were woven works of art, but upon closer examination - these were bowls that contained thousands of pieces of woods, painstakingly glued into elaborate designs.
Check out this page!
There was no shortage of soft sculpture, and this booth - Vintage Sculpture - upped the game in felt. Sundie and Brad's work was so textural and gorgeous, I wanted to touch every single piece!
Their background in graphic arts shines through as their pieces contain intricate shapes, colors, and sizes, all assembled into complex 2D and 3D works of genius.
It wasn't just limited to animals; their iconic cowboy and western pieces were stunning.
At first, I thought this was leather, but they explained that the pieces were assembled from off-cuts of felt, salvaged from the process of cowboy hat making.
What a terrific way of upcycling a gorgeous raw material!
Their boot jacks were pretty damn cool, too! Hats off to both of them for taking the time to chat and explain their work... it was fantastic.
These display trays caught my eye -
what a terrific "handle" on each side.
I've been fooling around a bit with live edge slabs, and was in the market for some metal hooks to use on the slabs... of which there were a multitude!
I found J-hooks in a variety of lengths and "twists", with styles, and stocked up on some goodies.
Around the bend, there were some live performers, including this beauty,
and a whole line of professional cowboys and cowgirls signing autographs!
If any of this sounds boring, fear not!
There's so much to see and do at this show, you could easily spend a couple of days wandering the aisles. These metal cactus sculptures catch my eye every year, and I swear, someday I'll have one in my backyard.
The signs overhead say it all - Naughty or Nice?
and... Long Live Cowboys!
These rows of saddles and bridles led right up to the bronze water sculptures,
like these two favorites:
This one, entitled Eight Second Dream, perfect captured a young child's dream of one day riding a bucking horse.
This one was stunning.
Then it was on the to one of my favorite local makers - Las Vegas' own - Ledge Locker. They make high quality floating shelves, perfect for hiding your gear.
These are very cool, and I get a lot of requests for these. Unlocked by hidden magnets, these shelves come in a variety of styles and sizes, and no one in your home has to know you have stuff stored right under their nose!
But all in all - I have to say - my favorite booth wasn't even at the Cowboy Christmas show, but instead - was upstairs, with the hunting and outdoor equipment show. Somehow - this show gets overlooked, and most people don't even know it's up there!
Tucked away in the back of the main showroom, I met Steve Henneford, a woodworker from Lakeside, Montana. His company - Henneford Fine Furniture is producing some solid work, and we had a chance to chat a bit about his chair making.
His one man shop builds custom furniture, and his line of Cowboy chairs and barstools was innovative and extremely comfortable.
He uses high quality saddle leather and weaves it through mortises in the wood,
securing it in place with bullets. Way-freakin'-cool.
His sculpted chair arms invited you to just wrap your hands around each piece - check out the grain in this maple,
and in this lace wood. Sick!
These were available with rockers, too.
Speaking of rockers, he explained that he'd recently finished a set of nine Maloof rockers, and this tenth one was still in need of a bit of work.
That makes me tired just typing that!
You know what dawned on me as we chatted? He's off, doing his thing in Montana, the same way all of us woodworkers are doing - just putting one foot in front of the other and ... building.
Some work alone, some of us work in group settings, but we're all creating. I'm surrounded by lot of students, week in and week out. That camaraderie in the shop is something to be valued. I know that when I worked alone for many years, I missed it. The thought of him working in a shop in Montana made me realize just how similar we woodworkers all are - just going to work each day and quietly building gorgeous stuff, all just trying to make a living. My hat goes off to him, that's for sure.
All that was left was the escalator back down to the parking lot - and another Cowboy Christmas was in the books.
One thing's for sure - I can't wait until next year!
Happy holidays, everyone!