Mr. Lentz: The Genuine Chivalrous Cowboy

#3 Mr. Lentz

Interview by Laura Zolman Kirk and Megan Smith
Photograhy by Evan Lentz

Walk us through a typical work day.

Rolling out of bed when the sun’s just about rising is not typically my thing, but I’ll do it if the work requires me to. Every now and then I will heat up a pot of cowboy coffee: just some grinds, boiling water, and my cup to pour it into. Off to the workshop, I fire up the lights and start sorting out the day’s orders. My first step is usually custom branding people’s leather goods with their names. I then go through a full process of cutting, dyeing, oiling, waxing, assembling, and hammering everything into shape. I tend to work long days, as I am a bit of a perfectionist and love creating good looking products for my customers. During busy times I get a lending hand from an assistant or two who may become part of the workshop for some time. It’s great to have extra help when you need it. On some days the cowboy hat comes off early, and I might head down to the beach for some relaxing.

What does your craft mean to you?

Leatherwork, to me, means hard work. It means a good solid day, where you tire yourself out by the end but feel fulfilled by the entire process.

Your profession as leatherworker/woodworker takes a lot of precision—how do you keep things fresh, and what goals do you set for yourself to stay motivated on a daily basis?

Well, once you start making a style that people like…you find yourself making a whole lot of that design. In the process you tend to make things over and over again. I take a lot of pleasure in getting things right. Leatherwork is tricky business since the material you are working with was at one point alive. Each piece is different and reacts differently to cutting, dyeing, branding, and oiling. I have not yet had a day where I am not amused at how something very different and strange is happening with one of my processes―and I tend to constantly modify my approach because of it. Other than that―I have a lot of sticky notes in a lot of places! Goals galore!

Want to read more about Evan? Order Issue 8 here.