Imagine: modern-day cowgirl meets retro-leather woman. That is just the work that Katie Dovenberg produces at her one-woman leather shop named “Teal Ranch Leather”. Katie’s deep love for working Cowhorses and leatherwork come together in all of her one-of-a-kind pieces.
Katie created her full-time job working out of her horse trailer while she was gathering cattle off the National Forest in Eastern Oregon. She was there for six months and started beading at night to occupy her time. “This prompted me to take a week-long leathercrafting class so I could learn how to do the leatherwork part for my beadwork,” said Dovenberg.
Katie worked her hobby into a part-time job and eventually into a full-time career. “I started pursuing it full time so I could have the flexibility to be able to ride my horses and go to some of the big Reined Cowhorse shows,” she says.
In order to be unique Katie had to find her own style. She hones much of it to her first love, the Reined Cowhorse. “If you go to a Cowhorse show, everyone competing has unique gear; from their bits to their headstalls and chaps, much of the gear resembles the person’s character. I strive to make pieces that are unique as well as quality. I handpick the hides that I use as well as the turquoise in my pieces” said Dovenberg.
Her work is colorful and unique. Katie sets stones, and beadwork into her leather to make signature custom pieces. Much of her work is also hand-painted to give vibrant borders and trims around the tooling. “I like to incorporate real turquoise into my leatherwork and have had fun creating tooling patterns that show off the turquoise. All my purses are one of a kind, and I never make the same purse twice,” said Dovenberg.
One thing that sets Teal Ranch Leather apart from the rest is the preparation that goes into the work. “If I get an idea in my head, I try to write it down so I don’t forget it and the vision usually evolves from there. I spend a lot of time sketching my designs out before I put anything on leather” said Dovenberg. But it’s not just the preparation and tooling, Katie also hand assembles all of her bags herself. Having an artist who is with the product from start to finish makes for the highest quality product one can purchase.
Teal Ranch Leather is located out of Canyon, Texas, and will continue to grow and reflect the western lifestyle through its imagery. For more information on Teal Ranch Leather check out her Instagram, @teal_ranch_leather, or her website at tealranchleather.com