It only seems appropriate that GRATITUDE should be among the very first blog posts for Martiny Saddle Co. When I ponder the question "Where would I be without __________ ??? I can fill in the blank with any number of answers, and they all deserve equal GRATITUDE.
It only seems appropriate to begin the list at the beginning. Gratitude to our Maker for giving us life, and allowing us to live in such an incredibly beautiful and inspiring world. To live in the Western United States is only a dream to most people. I have had the privilege to live in and visit some of the most amazing places in the world.
Gratitude to my parents for everything they taught me, especially to my Dad for not treating me like a girl! My sister and I learned to work on the ranch along side my brother and Dad as equals. I never approached life with the attitude that I couldn't do something "because I was a girl". We learned to care for livestock, ride in the mountains, and do every farming job required. The fundamental of hard work was instilled in us from an early age, and has served us well. I was especially privileged to learn the basics of carving leather from my Dad, which has provided me with a lifetime passion.
Gratitude to my kids for putting up with me - as children and as adults. They learned from birth that leatherwork was part of life for me. They sometimes had to stay out of the shop during those early saddle making years! They continue to inspire and motivate me to this day.
Gratitude to Dale Harwood for showing me what the utmost in craftsmanship looked like, and teaching me the basics of saddle making. I have only recently come to fully appreciate the time he took away from his own work to give me guidance. That kind of generosity can only be repaid by passing on the knowledge to someone else.
Gratitude to each and every one of the people who have provided knowledge and learning in the trade by offering their time and skills. The original Tandy Leather Company recognized the talent of Al Stohlman, and has provided volumes of his work to the world, giving most of us a strong foundation in leather work. The Leather Crafter's Journal (Bill & Dot Reis) for their efforts in hosting trade shows with classes and all types of resources. The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association for showcasing the ultimate in the Cowboy Crafts, which raised the bar for all craftsmen, and for providing ongoing teaching from their masters. Being involved in their events lead me to meeting and learning from many of the best, which was truly a unique opportunity.
Gratitude to Tammy Pate for including me in her vision of the Art of the Cowgirl. I went into the first event as the somewhat timid and shy person that I have always been, but came out realizing that I do have a voice; that I am passionate about my beliefs; and that no one is going to bite me if I speak up. Accepting the challenge of mentoring a student has been very educational for me. I have learned a lot about teaching, and what this trade means to me. I have become involved in a group of Idaho women artists and craftsmen who aspire to teach and learn, and have expanded my mentoring though this group.
Gratitude to my many friends and customers, who took a chance on me every time they placed an order. I have often stated that I had an "in" to the saddle making world because I lived in the ranching and rodeo world. I never took that for granted, and continue to try to produce the best quality work that I can every day.
This blog could easily become a 500 page book if I listed every thing and person in my life that I am grateful for. I hope that my friends and family know how much I appreciate them. Learning what to do-and what not to do-is a lifetime experience. My humblest wish is that I can lead by example.