Leathersmith Says He Fell Into the Art by Accident
Now crafts everything from gun holsters to drink koozies
Prichard was originally preparing to venture on a hog-hunting trip when he first noted the art of leathersmithing. Now he crafts everything from standard belts to elegant drink koozies.
His endeavor started with a simple purchase of a knife. After deciding he was unhappy with its sheath, he decided he needed something better. After not being able to find something to his liking, he headed to the Hobby Lobby to make his own.
Prichard readily admits he was no savant in the endeavor, saying of his first attempt: “It was very crude and very ugly compared to what I do now,” he said.
Prichard then made a wallet from the leftover leather he had from the sheath, and a man bought it from him. “It literally just steamrolled like that into a business,” Prichard said.
That was nearly eight years ago, and a half-decade ago, Prichard decided to turn his interest in the craft into a business. He founded the Prichard Leath Company and now is a full-time leathersmith.
“This is the first year I’ve done lots of shows and events,” he said. He tries to go to three shows a week, every week. His mobile leather shop even travels as far as Scottsboro.
Oxford residents can now find Prichard at the local Downtown after Sundown showcase. On Fridays, he sets up shop at the Oxford Lumber front, while on Saturdays he crafts at Quintard Mall or along with the rodeo as it travels through.
“Gun holsters have been big this year,” he said. “Surprisingly, artwork has also been big.”
Prichard says he makes around 50 belts at a time. Each batch will begin with a full 22 sqft of leather that is known as 'a side.' The side is then divided into individual strips. Prichard places holes into the ends of the buckles, punches notches and uses edging to create the belt's own edging. He west and dyes the leather, and waits for it to seal so it can be customized by hand and tamped using tools.“It’s a lot of process that people don’t see,” Prichard said.
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