Trent Johnson: The Mad Hatter

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The MAD HATTER, Trent L. Johnson
Everyone is personified in their own way, with individual qualities that separate us all from one another. So what's it like to have a job that’s purpose is to encapsulate that individual personality on a daily basis? Trent Johnson is the owner of Greeley Hat Works and he excels at that job, building custom cowboy hats for an array of clientele.

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He is a designer with a wide field of designs and skills to which he fits these custom hats. From political icons like George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, and Rudolph Giuliani to celebrities like The Band Perry, Aerosmith, Easton Corbin, Chris Janson, Granger Smith, Stoney LaRue, Craig Campbell, Toby Keith, Charlie Sheen, Red Steagall, Pink, and Lyle Lovett. Trent’s list of contacts is a Paparazzi’s dream.

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Trent’s artistic qualities go much further than simply his work; he challenges the norms of a conservative and traditional cowboy way of life.  His pseudo-anarchist soul transcends from his day-to-day life to get people into some of the craziest and least conventional duds in the business.  Some would go so far as to say this rock star, in his own right, is leading the way on a REVOLUTION to bring fashion and funk to a whole new level in a landscape filled with norms and taboos.

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Trent wears many hats, and rarely does he put in less than a 15-hour day.  The MAD HATTER is the definition of an entrepreneur, trend-setter, and move-and-shaker, but the most important things in his life are people.  His family, including his
three kids, take precedence; School activities, black-belt karate, music and concerts, and birds (yes, birds)from his everyday life infuse and inspire his profession.  Many of his close friends and customers would go so far as to feel that they are family, too.  Trent challenges the people in his life to constantly aspire for greatness and never accept the standard.

After all, the MAD HATTER is leading a movement.
Creator of HATisfaction™ and HATitude™

 

GreeleyHatWorks.com

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Fusion wants to thank our 100X Sponsors: Denim & Velvet Marketing and the following...

Ritch Rand: Origins

Every once in a while, we get a customer contacting us who wants something … “different.”  In their mind they see a hat that is totally theirs, totally about them. Of course it does what it supposed to do – fit and keep the weather off their face but the look of the hat. Its intrinsic style is all theirs.

And of course I tell them the truth, which is as unique as each customer is – not only in head size and shape but in personality – each hat we make is also unique. You can put the same hat on a half of dozen different people and it will look totally different on each one. And after forty plus years of doing this, Rand’s has built a lot of unique hats.

So I was very interested in Nevada’s idea for this year’s Fusion show. I have watched it over the last two shows at the ProAm, as Rand’s has been a legacy vendor there, and this should be a very creative showing. In addition, with our new partner’s - the Wickhorst family, it gives Rand’s a chance to build something that represents some new thinking about just what the hat making craft means and where it is going.

We are working on a hat that combines a very unique hat body, shaping, trim and 360 degree craftsmanship. 

Huge thank you to our sponsors Denim & Velvet Marketing and the following...


Braydan Shaw: The 6th Generation

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Hi, my name is Braydan Shaw.  I am 6th generation owner of Burns since 1876, a 141 year old same-family owned western retail and manufacturing company.  I come from a long line of creative craftsmen so I guess you could say entrepreneurship is in my blood.  

Growing up, I was fortunate to be raised in a family business that promoted growth.  The support given to new generations by progenitors to follow their passions has shaped the Burns organization into the great company it is today.  Founder and First Generation owner, Miles Burns started our journey as a harness maker and black smith.  He would trade repair work for goods, even the hand braided whip of the famed Butch Cassidy himself.  He also developed the Utah style pack bag for the US Government.  Second Generation, Vivian Burns moved the business 60 miles northwest to Salina UT, where it still resides.  Under Vivian’s direction the company’s focus shifted from harness making to saddle making and canvas goods.  The introduction of the automobile gave Third Generation owner Vern Burns the opportunity to expand the business.  He invented and patented the Pik-Pocket, a collapsible storage pouch that installed behind your truck seat.  The Pik-Pocket was distributed all over the United States.  Fourth Generation owner Dan Burns brought retail expansion to the established saddle shop and Pik-Pocket businesses, adding cowboy boots and factory produced tack items.  His wife, Donna created the first saddle blanket seat cover for automobiles.  Her first prototype was made for our uncle Don who worked for the local auto dealer.  The first dozen orders came in the very first day.  The Indian Blanket seat cover was distributed worldwide and was soon running three full time sewing shifts out of the factory to fill orders.  Donna oversaw the day-to-day operations of the seat cover business until her retirement.  Fifth Generation owner Danna Burns-Shaw, my mother, added a ladies touch introducing fashion to the company.  She soon had a 13,000-square foot retail store built that boasted over 10,000 pair of boots and a full line of western clothing.  

This was the environment I was raised in, a bustling retail operation, a full throttle seat cover factory and a working saddle shop.  My whole life I have witnessed the hard work of my family and what it takes to run the evolving and growing business.  

I began working in the business at a young age stocking and dusting shelves, taking inventory, shipping seat covers and building fence on the family horse farm.  When I had free time to do what I wanted, I found myself in the back corner of the retail store behind the jiffy steamer with a pile of Resistol hats.  I was constantly reshaping them, experimenting if you will.  In my early teens, my first customer walked in the store for a hat cleaning and I was excited to do a great job.  I quickly went to work scrubbing and brushing this cowboy’s hat.  I noticed a loose string under the hat band so naively, I gave it a pull.  Needless to say, the gentleman’s sweat band fell on the floor right in front of him.  I quickly composed myself, snatched up the band and acted as if sweat band conditioning was part of the cleaning package.  I ran over to the saddle shop, grabbed a needle and thread and taught myself to hand sew a sweat band in a hat right then.  

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I loved spending time in the hats and by the time I was 20 years old, had introduced a line of Burns branded hats into the retail store.  Our inventory quickly grew to where the shop was stalking almost 1,000 hats.  

Six years ago, Burns Custom Hats was born when I picked up a truck load of old equipment and armed myself with 45 minutes of training, a few supplier connections and a ton of zealous energy.  Six years and countless all night hat building sessions later, Burns Custom Hats has found its ideal spot nestled between our custom saddle shop (Burns Saddlery) and custom silver shop (Sunset Trails Silver) in the basement of the 13,000-square foot retail store my mother built in Salina UT.  Just recently we have converted the basement into a campus style working environment for young and experienced craftsmen.  The campus style environment allows for a lot of collaboration between the different artists in the three shops.  I am grateful to be paired with Trevor Alexander, Burns Saddlery’s extremely talented shop foreman for the Fusion show.

Hats continue to be my passion but my full-time responsibilities as President of the family business keep me very busy.  Overseeing the day-to-day operations for 10 different companies is what some may say, “a very left brain task”.  Building hats gives me the opportunity to innovate and express myself creatively.  I have always been exposed to leather work and just recently, when we acquired the 100 year old silver company Sunset Trails Silver, I have been able to watch the trade of silversmithing.  But hat making is what I love to do.  I love the history of the craft and the antiquated equipment.   I love the process; sanding, blocking, shaping, sewing and distressing.  When asked what I do for fun to unwind from the pressures of owning and managing your own business, the answer is always, “I make hats.”  The hat shop is my place to crank up the 90’s alternative rock, intently focus on creating a great hat and lose myself for a few hours, clearing my head.    So, you will only find me in the hat shop late at night or when we are working to launch a new line.

The Burns Custom Hats shops young, talented artists have grown and developed with the shop.  They oversee day-to-day operations and I am proud to have them entering pieces in the show as well.  I am honored to have met and associated with many great hat makers who have inspired me to stretch myself and keep trying to build each new hat better than the last.  I am excited about collaborating with Trevor and creating a custom piece for the Fusion Show.  

Hi, I’m Trevor Alexander.  I have been learning the art of leather crafting for six years now and two years ago was hired by Burns Saddlery. My passion for leather and art has always been alive in me but being able to combine the two, creating functional, usable works of art for clients gives me great satisfaction.  Off the clock I have a passion for dirt bikes, long range shooting, hunting and the outdoors.  I am thrilled to be working with Braydan on a custom hat for the Fusion Show.

Fusion wants to thank our incredible sponsors Denim and Velvet Marketing and the following


Bill Reynolds: Golden Age Silver

Way back in 1989, I started Old Cowdogs to design and create western silver that had its roots in classic cowboy 1930’s design along with a sense whimsy that would allow our personal jewelry and buckles to be worn in any setting. At home on the range or in the Range Rover. At the time, I was in the advertising business, serving many customers and companies in the western industry and it gave me a unique perspective on the cycles and influences that helped create the continued growth of this unique, root-based style - even after the explosion in awareness that occurred after John Travolta rode the bull in “Urban Cowboy.” I could go on and on – but lucky for you, I won’t.

This year’s Fusion show offers – as usual – some unique limits while opening new doors to try things. I love that. Nevada, I have decided, will ultimately take over the world.

The hat decoration we are making is a direct homage to the golden age of high-cantle board Visalia Supreme saddles of the mid to late 1920s. We are interpreting this wonderful cowgirl looking at the full moon which appeared are one of two saddles made for Caroline Spaulding and her daughter, Debra Spaulding by patriarch Silsby Spaulding, owner of the Tecolote Ranch in Santa Barbara and former mayor of Beverly Hills.. It celebrates a wonderful period in western saddle making and western style that was so heavily influenced by the cowboy motion pictures of the era. There’s a lot more to this story.

Fusion wants to thank our incredible sponsors Denim and Velvet Marketing and the following


Victoria Adams: Nouveau Wild West

I’ve been producing some sort of art or hand made goods since I can remember, my folks handed me boxes of tools and supplies during extended camping trips, no toys were allowed, unless I managed to sneak a doll into my pocket as we left home for the great out of doors. My older sister received the same treatment. We did not shop, we built, so it went with my family.

During the late 1970’s I apprenticed with Bill Burke, a jeweler in Mill Valley California, for over four years. Our work was all about fine jewelry making using gold, diamonds etc. During that time I attended the Revere Academy in San Francisco and began learning how to hand engrave silver in the classic floral ornamental style we see on western saddle leather, silver, bits, spurs, and buckles.  

My mentors and teachers include the late great Dan Murray, Duane Maktima, Jesse Monongya, Alan Revere, Ed Fields, Bill Burke, Yell Newman, the list can go on, and on.

My personal style of design can, and does, range from what I consider Nouveau Wild West, to Cheyennes on Mars. I am an enrolled member of the Southern Cheyenne/ Arapaho tribe of Oklahoma, I grew up in California near Stanford University, though I left home at an early age for the wider world.

To create and produce art and goods which I deem as worthy, beautiful, and valuable, well that is just who I am. What I’m designing and making today is a culmination of all my experiences to date, expressed in one form or another from my own mind, heart and hands.

Huge thank you to our 2017 Fusion Sponsors, Denim and Velvet Marketing and the Following


Cate Havstad: A Hatter of the Land

My name is Cate Havstad and I am a hatmaker from Central Oregon. I began making hats in 2013 at the age of 23. My journey into hatmaking began after my puppy Charlie had chewed up my beloved beaver felt hat, it was a gift from a friend and troubadour Willy Tea Taylor. The hat had significant sentiment behind it and I was determined to fix it. I started to research hatters which was a world I had never been exposed to before. I was fascinated to learn about a trade that still exists today that is relatively unchanged in technique and even in the equipment used since the 1800s.  I have had the honor of learning from several master hatters in the last 4 years and I hope to continue spending time with master hatters and learning as much about the trade and traditions as I can. I feel as though I will forever be a student of this trade, dedicated to evolving in my technique and my eye for design.

For the last 3 years I have been working on developing a collection of hats that are all dyed naturally using wildcrafted plants from this high desert region. I call the collection “Hues of the High Desert” and it is my passion and a labor of love. Since moving to Central Oregon almost 6 years ago from Coastal Northern California I have been enamored with the high desert landscape and the resiliency of the plants that exist in these conditions. As life has its way of twisting and turning, taking me over the mountains and into the valleys, I find myself seeking to surround myself in the landscape.

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A walk through the Oregon Badlands is a tangible reminder of the resilience of all living things no matter the oppressive heat, the frigid winters, or the years of drought. The sage, juniper and rabbitbrush all persevere and thrive. These high desert plants are the foundation of my Hues of the High Desert hat collection. The hues of the hats reflect the soft desert palate, when the hats are steamed they fill my workshop with the smells of the plants they have been dyed with, and within them they carry the story of the land. They embody my quest for resilience and deeper connection to the land. I hope that this collection inspires onlookers to consider how their lives can sink deeper into connection with the land.

As my skills as a hatter develop, so does my eye for design. In recent years I have been particularly interested in the diversity of regional style. The texas cattlemen wears a hat shape distinctly different from the vaqueros of the west. Through my Hues of the High Desert collection I am seeking to take the concept of regionally influenced style a step further and a step closer to the land.  I playfully refer to the concept I am working on as “hat terroir.” Terroir refers to the way in which the land on which something is produced on imparts qualities that give it it’s unique characteristics. This place that I now call home on a biodynamic farm in Madras, Oregon is certainly inspiring the direction of my work and life, not only in design but also in my approach to balancing running a business, honoring my trade, and sinking deeper into this agricultural life I have chosen.

I run my hat business out of a 1986 32 ft Airstream Excella. I gutted the airstream and built it out into a custom hat workshop on wheels. I chose this route to allow for freedom while I navigated the somewhat unrooted years of my early 20s, allowing me to work from wherever the wind blew me. I traveled around the country building hats on ranches in Rifle, Colorado, through New Mexico, in Austin, Texas and through the countryside of Tennessee and even in downtown Nashville. In the last 2 years I have settled into life here in Oregon with my partner Chris Casad who is a young biodynamic farmer. This year he was able to purchase 90 acres of organic farm land in Madras, Oregon and we have begun to work together to build up this new farm. The freedom of my airstream workshop allows me to continue to growing as a hatter, while also being a contributing member of this farm operation. I am inspired to read the blogs of many of my peers here at the Fusion show who exemplify being pioneers wearing many hats as artisans, ranchers, farmers, parents and business owners.


The Fusion Show and Sale wants to thank our amazing sponsors! Denim and Velvet Marketing and the following 

Ginny Harrington: She wears all the Hats

Hi—My name is Ginny Harrington and I am a 5th generation native to Western Colorado. My family settled in the Montrose, Colona and Ridgway areas beginning in the early to mid-1870’s, where they were ranchers and hard rock miners. My husband Tom and I live on a cow-calf ranch in Carbondale, Colorado where he is ranch manager and we run some cows of our own. In this first blog I thought I would introduce you to a little bit of what I do and who I am. Hat Maker and gear builders -- I don’t have a fancy hat shop in town where I sell my wares to folks who wander by. I am part of a growing movement of western artisans and craftsmen who have set up their shops in their homes, garages, or even outbuildings on the ranches where they reside. Out of necessity many pioneers and settlers would take up a craft to provide an item of necessity. They learned to make their own gear. We are continuing the tradition of making the gear and tack that we use; and make some too for family, friends and neighbors.

We do this in the evening hours and the odd times off, and when night calving the heifers. We do it because we take pride in our gear and we like making things with our hands. I say we, as my husband is a saddle maker, makes chaps, and other gear of the trade, repairs tack; and even makes some ‘fancy stuff’ like purses and belts too; if you catch him in a weak moment. I caught him in a weak moment and he will be making a carved leather hat band, for the Fusion Show hat I am making. My husband first did leatherwork in 4-H when he was around 14 years old. He works out of a converted ranch outbuilding that once stored tools, grain and even housed the walk-in- cooler, with meat lockers for all the ranch hands.

 Kingsley M50 Foil Stamping Machine. Circa 1940’s. I believe this is the model from research and pictures I have found on ebay and Facebook. The model and serial number are worn off. I use this to stamp the sweatbands. Kicking it old school around here.

Kingsley M50 Foil Stamping Machine. Circa 1940’s. I believe this is the model from research and pictures I have found on ebay and Facebook. The model and serial number are worn off. I use this to stamp the sweatbands. Kicking it old school around here.

Another gear maker that will be collaborating with me on my hat is Travis Clelland of Filer, ID. Travis will be building the buckle set for the leather hat band. I am really excited about this. Travis participated in the 2016 Fusion Show. I first learned to sew in the third grade in 4-H and have loved to make stuff with my hands since. When looking over the catalog for the 2012 Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko we saw a hat making class listed. It sounded like something I would really enjoy while my husband was participating in the leather carving class. I was bit by the bug. My husband began purchasing tools of the craft for me and helped me set up my shop in our converted garage. It has been wonderful to have his support.

I call my hat company Quarter Circle Lazy H – Hats by Ginny. The Quarter Circle Lazy H is our cattle brand and was a gift from a dear friend, from a pioneering ranch family in our home area. My 100% beaver cowboy hats are all done by hand, by me – from the blocking, flanging/ironing, pouncing/sanding, burning, luring/oiling, and shaping, to sewing in the sweatband and liner, stitching the bound edge, and stitching on the hat band. I even make my own hat liners. The exception for the Fusion Show is the hat band and silver which I am really excited about, as detailed above. I am not a full-time hat maker. I am a typical ranch wife, wearing many hats.

On the ranch -- In the winter you might find me helping drive the tractor and feed wagon to feed the cows when we are short-handed or on my husband’s weekend on. We do all cow work horseback. I especially love checking on the baby calves and the cattle drives to and from the summer country. We have 2 grandkids, Riordan age 3 and, Tegwyn 6, that along with our daughter, Crystal come to spend the summer with us. I love being a mom and a grandma and the ranch is a perfect place to raise kids up right. Irrigating, being horseback, and mutton bustin’ at the rodeo are some of the grandkids favorite activities. Ranching requires long hours and sometimes little sleep, but it is the life we love. We take pride in raising cattle that becomes the beef that is served at your families table

In the community – Like many ranching families we are busy serving in the community. I am membership chairman of our regional cattlemen’s organization. I keep track of memberships and plan our meetings and annual banquet. I also serve on a committee for Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. For our 12 week community rodeo series, I am in charge of updating the website with results, photos and news releases. Tom keeps busy serving on all of the above boards.

Ranch Ropings -- We are members of the Rocky Mountain Ranch Roping and Stockhorse Association, a statewide organization in Colorado that hosts ranch/big loop ropings. Tom is president of the board. I have announced our state finals a couple of years and Tom ropes in the ropings. We also host our own Roaring Fork Ranch Roping (RFRR) in September and this is our 8 th annual event. For RFRR, I help acquire sponsorships, do the advertising, secretary, time, and announce. Tom has roped in the Pro-Am Vaquero Roping since its inception. I enjoy going along and just watching for a change.

Self Sufficient – Canning, Gardening…. I’m addicted to gardening and canning. There’s a certain satisfaction that can be found in growing your own food. I do have to buy some produce at lower elevation to put up the approximately 500+ jars a year of salsa, pickles of all kinds, jam and fruit. We don’t eat it all, friends, family, neighbors, ranch crew and some of the ranch ropers help us with that.

I hope that these words have helped paint a picture of what it is like to live and work on a ranch, where we take pride in not only raising beef to feed families like yours and ours; but where we like to build the gear we use, serve our community and have a lot of fun too!! I am sharing a few pictures from both ranch work and my hat making. Check back as I will be sharing more as I start on my hat for the Fusion Show.


The Fusion Show is proudly sponsored by Denim & Velvet Marketing and the following...

Laura Noelle: Little Beach Little Western

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I have been influenced by western culture all my life, and it started before my first memories - but I swear there are pictures to prove it. I grew up in Malibu, moved to Santa Ynez, and flip flopped back and forth more than I like to admit. I’m in Malibu now and adore it as the beach and country continue to influence my personal style and inspire me. The two are a beautiful merging of attitudes for me and really are very much the same. I never sought to be in fashion and seldom wore hats. I had many a fashion faux-pas back in the day and still cringe at some old photos. My passion for creativity was hereditary but my passion for hat making came by accident.

My dad gifted me a Rand’s hat, a beautiful, natural beaver, hand-crafted by Ritch Rand that was seldom worn in my profession as an event planner, creating wedding moments for others. I needed something that I could wear to meetings that was a bit more bo-ho than pure western. So I went to visit Ritch in his shop and with a few tweaks, my hat was exactly what I wanted and I was a goner! That hat got more compliments than any piece of clothing I’ve ever had. I made a few more sketches and those sketches turned into an obsession.  I had felt out of place wearing a purely western hat since I was more city than country. I wanted something that was versatile on a horse but also would make your girls take notice while out to drinks somewhere. Thus, Laura Noelle was born.

I created Laura Noelle in between a full time job in the wine business (which quickly became another passion and career). Wine by day, hats by night. Bringing Laura Noelle from a series of sketches stuck on all my walls to a reality has been a dream. I base my vision for the wearer of my hats as someone like me. Someone who loves the outdoors & likes to get their boots dirty but also likes to dress for brunch on Sundays for that well deserved break. It is humbling to be a part of the Fusion Show this year, with so many creative artisans involved that I admire. I’m a rookie in the industry, but I am so excited to share my creations with you.

Laura Noelle Reynolds


The Fusion Show is proudly sponsored by Denim & Velvet Marketing and the following

Kevin Murphy: Riding the Waves of Hatmaking

 My name is Kevin Murphy, but my friends call me KJ.  I hand-make custom, western hats.

I have always had a love for the west; the lifestyle, the simplicity, and the adventure.  This is my story.

To understand my connection to the craft of “making”, I have to take you back to some of my earliest memories… I grew up using the ocean as an outlet.  When I was 12, and grew enough to be able to handle myself in larger surf, I would sometimes find myself in over my head.  There were no kook-cords (leashes) allowed, at least dictated by the older guys who had paid their dues for years.

When I would take a spill, and lose my board - I would have to make my way across the reefs to my dinged-up board resting in the rocks inside.  Nearly every fall, I would make my way in to find my board with fins knocked out, gashes in the rails, and sucking in water.  Needless to say, there weren't enough neighbor’s weeds to pull at 3 cents apiece to buy a new board or pay someone to rebuild mine.

I soon learned that I could repair my boards for pennies and build new boards for about $45, and I could make a few extra bucks making them for my friends as well.  This new confidence in my ability became an obsession.  I began to focus on little tweaks in the things I valued & spent my hard earned money on - aspects I could improve by “making” and customizing my own versions.

I would invest a majority of my time learning about the masters in their respective crafts, and take their best practices to make my own versions of their art: from surfboards and western button-down shirts, to custom furniture, kitchens, and in 1983 - custom Cowboy Hats.

You see, I mentioned I always had a love for the romanticism of the Old West - a passion I learned from my dad.  My father was born and lived his early years in a ranching community in Wyoming.  I grew up watching him steam his worn, old hat over a tea-kettle in the kitchen to bring life back to the shape in the crown & brim.  I worked for months on end in pack-outfits in the Rockies and the Sierras, looking to escape the monotony of “normal”.  

I was lucky to have the same size head as my dad, and he was happy to share some of his finer felts with me.  I almost enjoyed wearing those more than going to buy some new, stiff hat off the rack.  But there came a time when I needed a hat of my own.  I faced a typical goldilocks problem though; the first hat was so big it would fall down to my ears, and the next size down would barely wrap around the top of my head.

After trying on every bit of inventory in the local tack shop, I pulled a few aside, and began mentally de-constructing them to see how I could improve the fit - thinking maybe thats what my dad was doing over the steam kettle.  

From the 1980’s to the mid 90’s, I constantly had a new hat I was making.  I would trade a friend a hat for some work here and there, or was making myself a new hat - but it was always a passion on the side.  As word got out, more and more requests for hats came flowing in.

In 2009, as our great country was driving itself out of the economic downturn, the demand for hats was incredible.  I shut down all other business operations and dove head first into opening a hat shop of my own.  The sale of a previous business provided enough capital to purchase an old hat factory - some of the machines dating back to the early 1900’s.  Some of the machines took months of re-furbishing to get back into working shape.

I’ll save the rest of the story for our next time together.  Make sure you follow me to not miss part 2: Instagram: @thecowboyhatter - facebook.com/kjmurphys - www.kjmurphys.com

As for the hat I am contributing, I am making a traditional Vaquero hat.  These flat-brim hats are some of the most difficult to make, and have become a passion of mine.  Their appeal is romantic, and looks are distinguished.  This particular crown is fashioned with a flat-crown as opposed to a telescope crown.  The hat is adorned with a braided, rawhide hatband.  I plan to marry the felt to the rawhide with with hand-crafted silver tassels.

I present: El Californio.


The Fusion Show is proudly sponsored by Denim & Velvet Marketing and the following

Matt Litz

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I was lucky enough to be raised in west Texas most of my life giving me the opportunity to be around the lifestyle I love so much.  Farming and ranching is a way of life like no other.  Learning how to fix equipment and problem solve is just a couple skills that I have brought into my silversmithing carrier.  I always wanted the cool hardware that I saw guys with but never had the money to buy it, so I learned how to build it.

In 2004 I built the first trophy buckle of my career and I haven’t looked back except to see how to better the products I build.  Quality above quantity is the most important aspect in my shop.  With that in mind I have taken my hobby into a full time position while still working a full time job as a welding shop foreman.

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Without any formal training on how to become a silversmith I rely on my background in farming and ranching along with asking questions to anyone that is willing to help someone that is starting out is how I have gotten my start.  I always try and help others that have a problem or get stumped on a project that they are working on.  A fresh set of eyes always helps and if no one helps the younger generation coming up I’m afraid the art and the skills of silversmithing will be lost to the generic mass produced products found at any western wear store of feed store.  

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2013 has to have been the best year of my career.  Starting with the TCAA Emerging artist contest in Mesa Arizona win in the silversmithing field win.  I was both excited and humbled with the win.  Then the win in the Art to wear Jewelry contest at the Western Design Conference win in Jackson Wyo. just kept me rolling through the year with a smile on my face.  To add to the awesome year an article on me was done in Western Horseman magazine and I couldn’t have been more pleased.

I don’t know what the future has in store for me but I welcome it with all its wonders.  I look forward to the people I meet and the places this will take me.


The Fusion Show wants to thank our 100X sponsors Jeremiah Watt Products , Old Cowdogs Silver , Denim & Velvet Marketing

Lisa Robinson

I grew up on ranches, my dad cowboyed & shod a lot of horses on the side. When I hit my teens, he took to full-time horshoeing and I partnered up with him. That was more' 30 years ago!!
I  stayed in ranching/cowboying and, yeah, horseshoeing, with my husband once married (27 years since!)

 

I've recently retired from shoeing horses for the public, and 4 years ago went to school to build hats. It's been a good decision! Now I enjoy the hat business and day work as much as I can!
So I'm just getting started, but having lived under a hat for more'n 40+ years and knowing what the working cowboy puts one through, I think I've found my niche! I'm not a "Master Hatter" YET, but it's a definite focus in this upcoming chapter in my life!

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The Fusion Show wants to thank our 100X sponsors

Jeremiah Watt Products , Old Cowdogs Silver , 

Denim & Velvet Marketing

 

Kevin Hall

Hello, I am Kevin Hall a full time Farrier and along with my best friend and lifelong partner Mindy Bower we run a small ranch on the eastern plains of Colorado. Our passion for horses and cattle and the skills to handle them quietly and try to preserve a tradition includes a love of quality made gear.

Having learned to forge horseshoes in the fire and various blacksmithing skills I have always wanted to try my hand at bits and spurs. However my thought process would not let move forward without trying my hand at engraving. With the encouragement of several mentors I
have tried to develop a style of engraving that perhaps will capture a user’s eye. I am humbled to be participating in my third Fusion Show.

 Photo by Ian Bell

Photo by Ian Bell

I am always intrigued with others style of engraving, how they cut flower or a different back ground or eloquent shading. Each piece I create is a learning process and unique in its own way.

 Photo by Ian Bell

Photo by Ian Bell


The Fusion Show wants to thank our 100X sponsors

Jeremiah Watt Products , Old Cowdogs Silver , 

Denim & Velvet Marketing

 

Amy Raymond & Justin Thorson

Amy Raymond is the quintessential jack of all trades… rancher, mom, wife, and silversmith. After going to school and working on the family Angus ranch in Helix, Oregon, Amy looked at doing leatherwork, but was more at home with silver. She credits her success in the industry to having a few great silversmiths, such as Diane Scalese and Ernie Marsh, take her under their wing for a short time. And now she enjoys giving back and helping others learn the trade.

Her work with Pendleton Cattle Barons, a non-profit organization based in Pendleton, OR, has proven to be successful and has grown each year. The Pendleton Cattle Barons was created to raise money for scholarships given to area young adults pursuing a post high school education in agriculture. “All of us work hard to put on this event. It’s a labor of love,” says Raymond.

She also organizes an engraving class each year during the event to help others learn in the trade. This year, Jeremiah Watt taught the class. Since starting the Engraving Show at PCB in 2014, it has since grown to showcase even more trades than engraving, such as leatherwork and rawhide braiding.

This year, Amy has partnered with fellow craftsman, Justin Thorson for the Fusion Show, to create a one-of- a-kind piece that merges the best of silversmithing and leather tooling.

 

Don’t let his quiet nature fool you. Justin Thorson is a beast in the leather shop. Now on his 17th year as a saddlemaker, he works full time in his trade building saddles for the world-famous Hamley & Company and for personal customers.

Justin and Amy met in Pendleton, OR when Justin was head saddle maker & shop manager at Hamley’s. Even after Justin moved back to Montana in 2015, they kept in touch, exchanging ideas and combining their talents on projects, such as the Jordan Valley Big Loop trophy saddle (See photos)

Throughout the years, Justin has made it his mission to forever be a student of his work. He was awarded a Traditional Cowboy Arts Association scholarship and worked with Cary Schwarz in Salmon, Idaho. His work has been on display at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, and in 2014, he was honored to make the Pendleton Round-Up All Around Saddle won by Trevor Brazile. (See photo)

Combining their talents, the duo plans on bringing a fully custom piece to the Fusion Show that will wow even the most critical of judges.


The Fusion Show wants to thank our 100X sponsors

Jeremiah Watt Products , Old Cowdogs Silver ,

 Denim & Velvet Marketing

 

Jon Peters: A Man of Many Mediums

Hi, I am Jon Peters.  I am a maker living and working in Southern California.  Over the years, my work has evolved from automotive pinstriping and airbrushing to leatherwork and metal engraving, with many other mediums sprinkled in along the way.   This is my second year participating in the Fusion Show.  I love working with the “creativity within constraints.” Last year I created a pair of spurs.  I am excited to see where this year’s unique theme of hats takes me, as well as the amazing work of my fellow makers.

 

Throughout my career, my work has been influenced by the iconography and motifs of the West. What is more iconic of the West than a cowboy hat? As a teenager, my first jobs were in feed stores and bucking hay as a ranch hand on horse and cattle ranches.  I spent my twenties working with horses, riding, and travelling to horse shows.  This time gave me a deep love and respect for horses and the people who ride and care for them.  During this time, I became interested in the gear used in riding and roping and began to think about the engineering behind the gear and how the pieces were put together.  That still resonates with me today as I create bits and spurs.  I love looking at pieces to see how they were made and constructed.  That is the fun and challenging part about creating gear.  I am always looking for a way to improve my skills and products while experimenting with new designs.  My goal is to create one of a kind pieces.  When each piece is unique, I am driven to my most creative edge, and this is where I thrive as an artist.  Making something different than anything I have ever made before keeps my work interesting, and constantly evolving.  

 

Jon Portrait.jpg

I love to learn new skills and work with a variety of materials to create art that is both beautiful and functional.  My work over the years has focused on making useful objects into art, from custom furniture to motorcycles, wrought iron gates, to bits, spurs, purses, and jewerly.  I am inspired by the Arts and Craft movement of the twentieth century, which rebelled against the mechanization of production in favor of goods hand crafted by artists.  This philosophy resonates with me today in the era of big box stores and mass production.  I love creating art that plays a role in people’s everyday lives, bringing art and function together to create objects that are unique and have a story.  

 

I hope you are able to come out to Santa Ynez to check out the work at the Fusion Show in person and enjoy the exciting roping events at the Wrangler Brannaman Vaquero Pro-Am Roping.  

 


The Fusion Show wants to thank our 100X sponsors

Jeremiah Watt Products , Old Cowdogs Silver ,

 Denim & Velvet Marketing

  

JB Bradshaw & Jesse Mohon

Hello Fusion 2017; my name is JB. I grew up in Southern Utah working at my grandfather’s equine veterinary clinic and started college intent on following his career. Oddly enough, that was the same time I found my passion for hats and let it carry me on my own path. I was lucky enough to apprentice under a local hatmaker for a season, and everything I do today grew from how involved I became in that experience. At 19, I’m quite possibly the youngest to enter as a hatmaker this year, but it’s an exciting opportunity that has come my way. I’ve worn hats since I can remember - and traveling with rodeo I had a knack for being the “fix my hat” guy. Eventually, it turned into a search for knowledge and learning that has taken me more places than I could’ve imagined. The hat I built to enter has been a collaboration from entry to finish between leatherworker Jesse Mohon and I. I do the work that I do because it’s something that never ceases to fascinate me. No matter how much I learn about hatting as an art, there’s always more to integrate and experiment with.

At 19, I’m quite possibly the youngest to enter as a hatmaker this year, but it’s an exciting opportunity that has come my way. I’ve worn hats since I can remember - and traveling with rodeo I had a knack for being the “fix my hat” guy. Eventually, it turned into a search for knowledge and learning that has taken me more places than I could’ve imagined. The hat I built to enter has been a collaboration from entry to finish between leatherworker Jesse Mohon and I. I do the work that I do because it’s something that never ceases to fascinate me. No matter how much I learn about hatting as an art, there’s always more to integrate and experiment with.

My name is Jesse Mohon. Born and raised in the Oklahoma reservations, I learned leather work from my father and hours of trying things on my own. I have been doing leather work since I was 8 years old. Aside from being a bovine beautician, I enjoy camping and mountain climbing. The western lifestyle has entranced me since day one and in the industry I will stay. 

Thank you and God Bless


The Fusion Show wants to thank our 100X sponsors

Jeremiah Watt Products , Old Cowdogs Silver ,

 Denim & Velvet Marketing