It’s hard to find a good belt these days…

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A new belt I made for this nice silver tip set.

In our outsourced, high-tech, Walmart oriented world, it can be hard to find real things that have some soul and character.  Nowhere is this more evident than in belts.  Have any of you shopped for a belt lately?  Even the “high-end” jobs in fancy stores seem to be fake to me.  If they have lining, it is often pressed onto the top piece through some sort of bonding that makes them feel and look alien.  If most belts available today in chain stores were food, they would be Hostess Twinkies or pre-sliced American Cheese.

It wasn’t always like this.  People used to make things like belts, shoes, saddles, harness, etc. by hand.  After working as a saddle maker’s apprentice, in about 1982 I got a job at Cerrillos Saddlery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.   John Egenes was the owner of Cerrillos Saddlery, and I worked there for 2-3 years.  It was a wonderful job with a mix of cowboy, art gallery, redneck, and movie star.  We did make saddles for real people who rode real horses.  We also made a lot of tack, chaps, holsters, and other cowboy gear.  However, the majority of our work was belts.  We made a TON of belts, every one by hand and every one to fit the buckle and the person.  We made belts for a lot of movie stars and other famous folk.  Probably my favorite belt order was a snake skin belt for Jessica Lang, sold to Sam Shepherd one Christmas for a little last minute shopping.

These days I’m always slow and always busy, but if you have a favorite buckle, you can order a belt like this in the Artisan Guild Gallery.  It will take time, but it will be worth the wait…

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Detail of belt

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