December 25, 2008
Well, it just turned Christmas Day out here in California. I have been on the phone for awhile with a fellow guild member's wife, and I am very sorry to report to our guild that we have lost a very talented member this evening.
My dear friend of 42 years, fellow guild member, and Leather Artist extraordinaire, LARRY HUSTON,
sadly passed away a couple of hours ago. Many of you have spoken with Larry over the years and I know you feel the same loss that I do at this sad time.
Vaya con Dios, mi Amigo--
Stonehedge Leather Co.
San Diego, CA
Our sympathies go out to Kathleen, to his other family members, and to his friends.
Ronald G. Ross
Thank you for the condolences. Thank you all, I know my father valued all your friendship and talked fondly of all of you.
The news has hit me with a shock. I have been 'talking' to Larry for some time now....he was so talented and we teased each other often. Lately, he joked by calling me his adopted daughter because I admired the plates he made his children and I asked him to adopt me!
What a loss to the leather community!
My sympathy goes out to his family that he treasured so very much.
February 10, 2009
Late Christmas Eve I passed on the disheartening news of the sudden passing of a fellow lifetime member of our guild, Larry Huston.
A few weeks ago, member Jim Lewis and I were privileged to attend a 'celebration of Larry's Life', sort of a memorial to our mutual friend. I was very impressed, not only with the size of the crowd, but that so many young folks gave up a beautiful Sunday Afternoon to show their respect for Larry.
Many young folks, late teens and twenty's were there to honor their 'Dad'. Young Cowboys and Cowgirls, some kids with funny haircuts and strange-looking piercings, from all ends of the spectrum. All kids that Larry and Kathleen had mentored and befriended over the years. Many have learned Leathercraft from Larry. Larry often spoke with me about his "adopted family", but I never realized just how extensive his 'adopted family' was. He was, and remains, a respected member of his community, and of this guild - for he, unselfishly, shared his passion for Leathercraft with many, many folks.
I was, indeed, deeply honored when Larry's wife, Kathleen, and oldest son, Michael asked me to make a tooled Leather Urn for Larry's Internment.
Some pictures (see left column) and descriptions of the leather, dye, and lacing that I used for this very unusual, and emotional project. It was truly an honor to make this for my friend.
Fig.1 - This is compilation of the Leather Urn. It was meant to pay tribute to Larry.
Fig.2 - The top is reflective of Larry's Christian beliefs, with 2 Doves for Larry and Kathleen, and four smaller crosses for each of their children. I framed it with a simple whirl border.
Fig.3 - The front shows Larry's name with two scrolls, the top showing his date of birth, the lower showing the day he passed. Framed with some typical Stohlman-styled acanthus. Larry was a huge fan of Al Stohlman, I would bet he could probably quote every book written by the Stohlmans.
Fig.4 - Larry was a Leather Artist, and I had seen a couple of silhouette carvings he had done in the past, they were two of his favorites. I have never done silhouette stamping before, so I hope the sides will be a fitting tribute to Larry. I framed the Praying Cowboy with some basketweave, and the End of the Trail with an Arrow Basket stamping.
Fig.5 - The back was just a floral design I drew up for Larry, using his makers stamp in the center.
Fig.6 - After Larry's ashes are interred, the Urn will be sealed, and I stamped out some leather to cover the bottom, using another of Larry's maker stamps, along with my own.
I used 5/6 oz English Cowhide, had a nice, clean side over the bench. Since this leather is very light colored, I first sprayed a 'natural' Fiebings dye.
Mixture is 5 parts of Denatured Alcohol, and 1 part of Fiebings Lt Brn Pro-Oil Dye.
Then I oiled with 'Golden Oak Oil', an 8 to 1 mixture of Bee Natural Saddle Oil with Fiebings Golden Oak Stain.
After allowing the colored oil to set overnight, I 'highlighted' a bit with a dry rub of straight Golden Oak Stain.
The Antique was also a mix of Fiebings Antique: 2 parts neutral, 2 parts Medium Brown, 4 parts of Light Brown, with some Tan Kote to taste.
We dyed some Kangaroo dark brown and cut some 5/32" lace, about 30 yards, to finish it off. This is a 'Swiss Braid' - I have no idea why it is called this, but I learned it about 20 years ago from another Leatherworker I met at a Craft Show. He called it a 'Swiss Braid'. It appears very similar to the 'double stairstep' shown in the Bruce Grant Book.
-vaya con Dios, Larry
May God Bless.
Bittersweet, the perfect description for this job. As I started laying out the patterns, I thought of when Larry and I first met, working at General Dynamics in the same stockroom. We used to take lunch together, and one day I brought in some buckles to lace up during lunch. That's when Larry told me that he also did leather work. I was an old Hippie leatherworker, and Larry was a Redneck Cowboy Stamper. He always wanted to show me how to carve a Stohlman pattern (I had never heard of Al Stohlman back then), and I showed him some lacing styles.
I quit a couple of years later to open my own Leather Shop...Larry kept working in the factory and we lost touch.
That was in 1969.
In Jan, 1998 I joined this Guild. Unable to get pictures of my work, I emailed Thom Keach about how to go about it, he suggested I contact another member in the San Diego area, Larry Houston, since this Houston fellow had a scanner.
I sent Mr. Houston an email inquiring whether or not he could help me get pics of my work. He emailed back, saying "are you the same Phil LeDuc that worked at General Dynamics in the 60's", signing the email...Larry Huston.
I immediately knew who he was. We talked on the phone and he came into the shop the next day.
All those years, and he never knew I had a shop in town...He lived on the eastern edge of San Diego County and always went to the Tandy store near him.
All that changed. He would come down every week and we would talk and stamp, catching up on old times. He got hurt at work, became disabled, so he started working here for about 6 months. Our renewed friendship became closer and closer. We spoke on the phone the morning he passed away. After Christmas, I was going to arrange a little 'carvin' party' here at the shop and we talked about what we were going to tool up. Around midnight, we received the call from his wife.
Bittersweet, indeed. Everytime a customer came in and commented on what I was working on, I would start telling them my 'Larry Stories'. I thought of him every minute I worked on this Urn. I tooled the front last. As I was finishing the stamping on his name, I realized that - when this job was done - I would have to say good bye to my ol' buddy. It took me two days to finish his name, kept getting blurry-eyed. (Larry's probably still laughing).