George Hurst - 1991 Al Stohlman Award Winner
George E. Hurst - 1991 - Recipient of the Al Stohlman Award For Achievement in Leathercraft
1991 - George Hurst
What a genuine delight it was for Dottie and me to represent Al and Ann Stohlman in awarding the medallion to George Hurst!
nomination was selected collectively by a panel of five judges from across the country - each one independent of the other and for the most part, unaware of who the other judges were.
The announcement of the honorarium was received marvelously as 250 plus people in the banquet hall literally erupted into a standing ovation.
Along with this was a special presentation to this year's honoree - a beautiful handmade leathercrafter's tool box of exotic wood from Timber Products of California, a very special treasure shown here on the table just behind Mr. Hurst
So many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people recognize George
as an accomplished carver and a man of outstanding ability, encouraging others with that positive attitude that helps us all to stick to it and do more.
Anyone acquainted, even briefly, with George
will soon be aware that leathercraft dominates his
life not only in business, but it also dominates the hobbyist and artist in him as well.
has made video tapes on his
own time and with his
own investment to help advance leathercraft through his
own guild and the Federation.
deep sense of commitment to the leathercraft guild organization prompted him on the night of the award to present his
$ 1,000 cash honorarium to "The International Federation of Leather Guilds."
is what many leathercraftsmen refer to as a complete craftsman; he
is able to turn out not only pictures, but he
has learned the techniques of construction and fabrication of components that are known and practiced by very few craftsmen and not available in textbooks.
enjoys himself most when he
has the chance to teach these procedures to others.
Follow, if you will, the highlights of some of George's career in leathercraft.
George first got started in leathercraft in New Berlin, Penn. in 1945 as a member of the local Boy Scouts.
continued to be active in Boy Scouts
and improved his
leatherworking skills in high school until his
graduation in 1951.
While serving in the US Army from 1952-55, George continued his leathercraft, constructing many items.
In 1955, he
wife of 35 years, the former Emma Jane Kline.
They have one son, Keven.
was soon doing leatherwork in a very serious fashion, even selling his
work to friends and family.
Soon after his
work was in demand throughout the region.
Belts and wallets gave way to much larger projects which eventually included saddles, one of his
is on our cover.
During these years, George
started teaching leathercraft to friends, neighbors, at a retirement center and the federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Penn.
From 1955 to 1961, George
had a very lucrative career in the furniture manufacturing business while operating his
leather business as a part time avocation.
The leather business continued to grow, and he
decided that he
would be in the leathercraft business for life.
Tandy Leather Company
had been pursuing him for some time, and George
decided a change was needed.
H is burning desire was to pass his
knowledge on to others, and that is how he
wanted to spend the rest of his
life - advancing leathercraft.
George started with Tandy Leather Company in June of 1961.
first day of employment, he
did a demonstration at a summer camp for children and a workshop for a church group that evening.
It would take volumes to list all of his
accomplishments over these 46 years of leathercraft activity.
Here are just a few: Articles for Leathercraft magazines
spread over a span of 30 years; various books, including Basic Leathercarving, two stamping books, two books on beginning saddle making, two books on cutting leather and more; many video tapes for both Tandy Leather
and as a volunteer for The Lone Star Leathercrafters; a National Boy Scout Jamboree program and video that resulted in the awarding of 1,464 Leatherwork Merit Badges being awarded in a 10-day period.
With the help of professional educators, George
has developed and implemented a number of leathercraft programs for schools.
says, "There is so much yet to be done.
You can rest assured that he
is busy every waking hour dreaming up new projects, new ideas, new ways of doing things and new way of promoting leather craft.
current work is the development of curriculum material for teaching leather art in our educational system.
says, "This may be my most important project ever.
It is his
dream to have this program of instruction adopted by every school in North America and even the world.
It could be a very Important step in leather being accepted by the art community of the world for what it is: the most versatile art medium available on this earth.
Stay tuned, George
is just getting started.