Meet the Teachers
Clair began her leather working journey in high school under the tutelage of local saddle maker Tom Berry. Upon graduation from high school she attended a two year saddle making program at Spokane Falls Community College with Verlane Desgrange as the instructor. She earned an associates degree in saddle making there. She spent a short time as an apprentice with Randy Severe at Severe Bros Saddlery in Pendleton Oregon. In 2007 Clair received a scholarship from the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association to study with world renowned saddle maker Dale Harwood. Clair has operated her own leather arts business since 2004 where she has made everything from custom western saddles to key chains and just about everything in between! She has won awards for her work and the World Leather Debut in Wyoming and been recognized for her handbags at the International Independent Handbag Designer Awards in New York City. Over the years her work has been featured in such magazines as Western Horseman, Cowboys & Indians, Western Art & Architecture and many others.
Leon started leathercraft and tooling at age 10. He made his first saddle with a Tandy Kit at age 14. He has made an abundance of belts and wallets and has mentored other leather workers in leather tooling and saddle making.
Leon attended OSU and graduated from Colorado State University Veterinary School. He was a practicing veterinarian in Burns until retirement and moved to John Day in 2017.
I got my start in leather work while I was in college back in 2016 from a couple that ran a boot shop out of La Grande, Oregon. They took me in, taught me how to spool a bobbin, pulled my stitches when I had the tension wrong, run the many machines in their shop, shared life lessons and always managed to save a good chunk of time to sit down and visit. They gave me space to grow and create my own style. They helped pave the way for me to become a maker.
Since then I have started my own leather business out of prairie city, Oregon where I have had the chance to work on a variety of projects such as purses, clutches, belts, book covers wedding bouquet wraps and more. My favorite products to create are western style cowhide purses with fringe.
Leather Department Committee
Leather Department Lead
The Leather Arts Department meets monthly to plan classes and events for Painted Sky. Contact Clair if you are interested in joining the Leather Arts Department Committee.