Dustin Loftis, the man behind The Dusty Hide Leather Co. in Weatherford, Oklahoma, got his start in the leather business nearly a decade ago. One of his rodeo friends built him a belt and let him draw the tooling pattern for it. Dustin was intrigued about the belt-making process, so his rodeo pal explained the basics to him. “I gave it a try myself and was hooked,” he remembered.
Since then, Dustin has endeavored to learn as much as he can about the art of leathercraft. He’s been able to spend a couple days with Texas leathercrafter Britt Nantz, but seeks advice from Travis Stillson, accomplished leathercrafter and silversmith, often. “I definitely admire Travis’ work. His craftsmanship is amazing!” Dustin said. There is a long list of folks Dustin would love to work with in the industry, he’s just got to find some time do so.
Inspired by the West
Dustin draws inspiration for some projects from his love of western paintings. “It’s always nice when I’m turned loose on a project,” he said. Of course, he loves brainstorming with his clients too. “Their ideas inspire me a lot as well.” Dustin uses the highest grade of Hermann Oak Leather to create his one-of-a-kind items. You can see Dustin’s love of the cowboy way in all of his creations. Drawing each design by hand, he carefully carves the leather into a picturesque scene or a floral or geometric pattern. “The feeling of tooling leather is always something I can’t get enough of…feeling the leather in your hands and running your fingers over the designs is something else,” Dustin said.
There are very few machines in Dustin’s shop. He does nearly everything by hand: drawing patterns, cutting the leather, carving designs, stitching items together. “I want to create the best product I possibly can, and hopefully they are cherished for years to come.”
This article originally appeared on Shop Talk Magazine and is published here with permission.
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