Master Craftsman to Showcase the Artistry of Saddlery at McFaddin-Ward House Lecture Feb. 15
Beaumont, TX; Feb. 5, 2024 – Master saddle maker Troy West will share insights into the artistic process of saddlemaking during his free public lecture, The Artistry of Ranching Leatherwork, Silver and Saddlery, presented by the McFaddin-Ward House on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 6:30 p.m. in the museum’s Visitor Center Lecture Hall (located at 1906 Calder Avenue in Beaumont).
A true contemporary cowboy artist and Texas Native, West has made a career of crafting leather masterworks. During his lecture, he will overview the full saddlemaking process from tanning the leather to adding silver embellishments to carving the final detailed artwork, highlighting how the saddle is both a functional piece of working equipment, as well as an artform and an important part of many Texas legends.
“This is my 47th year building saddles,” West said. “It’s creativity that gives us all a lot of pleasure in our work. I love the artistry, and I love to sit down and tool leather more than anything. The leather carving aspect is a lot of fun for me.”
As a member of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association, for four decades West has created custom works for his clientele, demonstrating his skill and passion for the art of the American Cowboy. In addition to saddles, his works have included leather-covered wine decanters, longhorn steer heads, buffalo heads, and lamps.
“Every year, we build a saddle for the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and we push the envelope,” West said. “As a saddle maker, I’m required to build at least one saddle, and then they want us to build things that are completely different and out of the box. What is fun is simply getting to be creative.”
West has earned many accolades for his craftsmanship, including winning Best of Show at the Boot and Saddlemaker Roundup five times, receiving the Will Rogers Award for Saddlemaker of the Year, and being commissioned by Denver, Colorado’s 100th National Western Stock Show as one of only four U.S. saddle makers to build a special saddle to be shown and auctioned.
Now after nearly 50 years building saddles, West says he fell in love with the craft at a young age thanks in part to his second great love – the rodeo.
“Every Saturday night, we went to the rodeo from as far back as I can remember,” West said. “I really wanted to be a professional calf roper. I thought if I couldn’t make a living rodeoing, I could fall back on saddlemaking. I ended up loving saddlemaking more than anything.”
McFaddin-Ward House lectures are free and open to the public, but space is limited. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Built in 1905-1906 in the distinctive Beaux-Arts Colonial style, the McFaddin-Ward House reflects the lifestyle of the prominent family which lived in the house for 75 years. The museum features free tours, educational programming, year-round events, a carriage house, and gardens.
For more information, call 409-832-2134 or visit mcfaddin-ward.org.