A fundamental element of living remote and implementing the “Homesteader Mindset” is learning how to take care of problems as they arise; using the tools and materials you have on hand. Pioneers could not run to the store to buy new equipment or hire professionals for repairs. Oftentimes, there was no one around to instruct and necessity thus became the mother of invention. Up in the mountains or out on the barren plains, folks learned the art of being resourceful, inventive and persistent in order to survive.
Sampling a taste of this life for many moons left the Gypsy Cowbelle with a few supplementary skills as well. For years, when she needed leather repairs, log cabin maintenance and even new instruments, Miss “V” learned to experiment and solve problems by trial and error in true Homesteading fashion. Homemade banjos, custom belts and log home chinking were a few byproducts borne of Miss “V”s homesteading experience and they, too, have found a place in the modern world!
This hands-on workshop geared for smaller classes of students 14+ and/or adults interested in exploring the fundamentals of leatherwork. Simple projects will be incorporated as a means for learning the basic components of carving and stamping leather. It is ideal for beginners who possess some artistic flair and those seeking a new, creative outlet. This is a great activity for activities clubs, BOCES, art societies and mentorship programs. A small material fee and/or additional time allotment may apply.
Tell your story with leather!
For many years on the ranch, “V” did leatherwork for necessity, repairing tack and harness to get the work done in the fields, woods and mountains. Over time, she not only learned how to cut, stitch, stamp and finish leather, she also developed a unique style that allows for personal expression through design. Whether it is your name, favorite place or animal, or pictorial depiction of your life story, “V”s artistic flair will bring your vision to life. Belts, instrument straps, wedding registers, journals, trivets and switch plate covers are a few of “V”s specialties.
The Gypsy Cowbelle designs and handcrafts each piece with attention to beauty, originality and durability. Contact “V” for details and custom orders.
Seeking a lightweight instrument for travel, “V” began designing and building her signature “Plank” banjos in 1997. Since then, she has built more than forty banjos, continually improving their design. Each instrument is a one of a kind work of art ~ signed, dated, numbered and available only through Cowbilly Productions. They are sturdy, lightweight, ideal for travel and produce a delightful and unique tone, perfect for old-time music. Banjos are also available with a handsome and durable handmade gig bag. Prices start at $450.
Have a listen to the Plank Banjo here!
WHAT??!! That’s right folks, for years, Miss “V” has been sealing heat in and bugs out while beautifying log homes across the West. Perfecting the age-old craft known as ‘chinking’, The Gypsy Cowbelle sometimes changes hats and employs another one of her Homesteader skills, filling in the cracks of her schedule and as well as those in dozens of log homes in the farthest reaches of rural America. She “has gun and will travel” and no job is too small – if it’s along her way. Customers have been raving about her work ethic, attention to detail, artistic flair and competitive prices for years and now the secret is out…