Tobi Taylor's Journal

News > Wednesday, October-22-2008

The Worldwide Saddle Cinch Community, or I'd Like to Teach the World to Weave...

In July of this year I was contacted by Darin Alexander, of FiberCords, LLC, a cinch maker who had heard about my research/interest in Navajo saddle cinches. He wrote:

"In a couple of weeks we will be sharing the art of cinch-making in a presentation at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.  We are asking our students, customers, and others who would be willing, to share photos and descriptions with us so we can highlight the growth and craftsmanship of cinch making in the world today, as well as share cultural and technical variations on the same theme. 

"We look forward to any suggestions and thoughts you might have on how to network the cinch making community.  At present we are in dialog with and/or assisting cinch makers in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Canada, and several of the lower 48 states as they seek to refine their skills, develop distinctive and personalized styles, and fill the desire to improve on the quality as it relates to a more comfortable and durable item for everyday use."

A worldwide cinch-making community? Who knew? Then, in late September, I heard from Mr. Alexander again, updating me on the presentation at the museum -- and more developments in the world of cinch-making:

"The response from the cinch presentation turned out to be more of shock and awe that cinches can be so ornate.  As some of the power point frames advanced you could hear the audience gasp with delight.

"This morning I visited with Pete Gorrell who is working with Partners in Development, a non-profit organization, to develop a school of saddle and cinch making near the Parker Ranch on the northern coast of the Big Island in Hawaii. I thought you might find this of interest since the concept sounds similar to the Navajo program... in this case the students themselves are learning extensively about the business end along with development of distinctly Hawaiian renditions of the saddle and cinch."

A school of cinch-making in Hawaii? I think I may have to go over and check it out!


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