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Featured Artist: Billy Wootres
(mentored Paul & Resley)

Billy Wootres

Billy started carving leather in 1937 at age 10 while working in Billy Green's Saddle Shop in Las Vegas, New Mexico. After a short stint in the Navy, Billy began teaching the first vocational leather craft course at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas.

Billy began his saddle maker's apprenticeship in O.W. Jolly's Saddle Shop in Abilene, Texas. As a journeyman saddle maker, he worked in saddle shops across Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. He also owned saddle shops in Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and El Paso. From 1984 to 1989, Billy tooled/stamped 27 trophy saddles for the Bernalillo County 4-H Club rodeos. He currently owns his own business, Wootres Hand-Carved Leather, and is concentrating on improving his carving to the point of heirloom-quality work. He also makes and sells stamping tools and teaches leather carving to several protégés.

Billy's work has been featured in Leathercraft and Shop Talk magazines. A picture of his carving has also appeared on the cover of Hide Crafters Digest. He is the author of "Doodles, Designs, and Patterns I and II" and is a lifetime member of New Mexico Roadrunner Leather Artisan's Guild.

The Academy of Western Artists awarded Billy with the "Don King Lifetime Saddlemakers Award" at the 14th Annual Will Rogers Cowboy Awards on September 22, which his wife and daughters received on his behalf. Sadly, Billy passed away on September 7, 2009 - he will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.

You may go to the IILG website and read a Tribute to Billy Wootres.



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“Uncompromised quality in custom, hand-carved leather craft, tools, and accessories.”