John L. Blair is a second-generation saddle maker. Born in Lander, Wyoming, he learned the art of leather crafting at his father’s side, and later, he apprenticed under T. J. Holms in Cheyenne, WY. Today, he owns J.L..Blair Saddlery, a traditional saddle business based in Greybull, Wyoming.
The Wyoming native also handcrafts beautiful leather goods built with quality material, including boots, holsters, belts, chaps, boxes, horse gear, and other products. He has even ventured outside of saddle making to craft everything from auto parts to leather floors.
Over the years, John has perfected the art and process of building saddles, and the precise process of carving so that they are not only durable but also uniquely designed.
“I think it’s important these days to become an individual and that’s what I pride myself on: the individuality of my carving,” says John. “Instead of going after someone else’s style, I like creating my own. I have my own unique style so it’s separate from the rest of the world.”
Over the past 10 years, John has won several awards for his work, such as “Best Artist Historical Craftsmanship” in 2013 and 2016 at the Western Design Conference in Jackson Wyoming, and “Best Artist in Leather” in 2017. Today, he is a proud member of the By Western Hands art gallery, museum and education center in Cody, WY.
This year, The Trump Administration selected J.L. Blair to represent Wyoming at the Made in America White House event in October. Unfortunately, the event has been postponed until further notice.
While the majority of modern saddles today are being processed from techniques that came from saddle makers that have produced mass products, John considers his leatherwork to be pieces of art that can be enjoyed for generations to come.
For more information, visit JLBlairSaddlery.com.