Monday, 27 April 2015

Leaders in Leathercraft: George Hurst

Tandy Leather's Legends of Leathercraft: George Hurst

Although most people recognize George for his YouTube videos, his history of teaching leathercraft with Tandy goes back over 50 years!

George grew up on a tomato farm in a small town in Pennsylvania and was introduced leathercraft in the Boy Scouts in his youth.  He went on to serve in the military during the Korean war and, when he returned, was recommended by a neighbor to apply at Tandy Leather.

In June of 1961, George Hurst  began his long and illustrious career in Leathercraft.  As a manager, George introduced 1,000’s of people to leathercraft through teaching at schools and in hospitals.

Tandy Leather's Legends of Leathercraft: George Hurst

Although he loved teaching classes, he aspired to help others learn the love of leathercraft on a larger scale. In 1972, George created a manual for teaching that he used to help introduce leathercraft in to schools. His innovative program was very successful and, several years later, George was offered a job in Fort Worth to lead the merchandising team. One of the first things he did in this position was help develop a formal school program called “Adventures in Leathercraft”.

While serving as Merchandising Manager, George worked very closely with Al and Ann Stohlman. During that time, he helped develop a number of different publications, including the Encyclopedia of Saddlemaking, The Art of Embossing Leather, and all 3 volumes of The Art of Making Leather Cases.

Tandy Leather Legends of Leathercraft: George Hurst with Al Stohlman

George also pioneered the idea of using video in for teaching leathercraft in 1985 in a program he created to teach the basics of leatherwork in schools. The program became quite popular and was also sold in stores for a learning resource at home.

In 2009, George was brought back to the Tandy team to resume teaching with video through YouTube and on the LeathercraftLibrary.  Since then, he has created hundreds of instructional videos that help teach the basics of leathercraft, how to properly use tools, and walk-throughs for creating leather projects.

Among George’s accolades include an Al Stohlman Award in 1992, Leather Artisan of the Year (Will Rodgers Memorial Award), Lifetime Achievement in Leathercraft, and the International Federation of Leather Guilds’ Hall of Fame Award.

“I’ve been a pretty blessed guy to get in to this business,” said George. “I’m 82, still working and loving every minute of it.”

Learn more about George Hurst in “An Interview With George Hurst”: