Annie Libertini - 2023 Al Stohlman Award Winner
2023 Al & Ann Stohlman Awards - Annie Libertini
The Al & Ann Stohlman Award Foundation was honored to be back in historic Sheridan, Wyoming, for the presentation of this year’s Ann Stohlman Youth Award and the Al Stohlman Award for Achievement in Leathercraft. This was the first year the Sheridan Honors Night was held in the beautiful Kennison Hall within Sheridan College’s Whitney Center for the Arts.
May thanks to Charil, Ralph, Brian, and the crew of the Leather Crafters & Saddlers Journal for continuing to produce an amazing leather craft magazine, along with events including the:
- Southwest Leather Workers Trade Show in Prescott, AZ;
- Heart of Texas Leather Show in Waco, TX;
- Leather Workers and Artist’s Trade Show in Arnhem, The Netherlands; and of course,
- Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show and World Leather Debut in historic Sheridan, WY.
Al and Ann Stohlman were two of the most talented and widely known leather artists, saddle makers, and teachers of our time. I know that their inspiration and guidance were the reasons I, and many others, chose to pursue a lifetime career in the leather industry.
The Al & Ann Stohlman Award Foundation was created in their honor by Bill and Dot Reis. Each year the Foundation presents awards for outstanding achievement in leatherwork to youth and adult individuals who have devoted their time and lives to mastering, promoting, and passing on the art of creating with leather.
Nominees for the Al Stohlman Award each submit a portfolio showing their life in creating with leather, accomplishments, published works, and most importantly, passing on what they have learned to others. Five judges, all past Al Stohlman Award winners, review each portfolio and declare a winner for the year. This is not an easy task. The board and I thank the judges for volunteering and all of their hard work.
This year’s winner of the prestigious Al Stohlman Award is Annie Libertini. Annie was introduced to creating leather while attending the Cleveland Institute of Art as a painting student. A roommate gave her some cast-off leather supplies and, as the old saying goes, “the rest is history”. My heartfelt thanks go out to her roommate. Annie went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Painting and a Masters in Library Science.
In her own words, two big things happened for her in 2014. She won an award in the World Leather Debut and taught her first class on making leather masks. She says she always liked to teach, but didn’t realize how much she would love teaching classes.
Jim Linnell invited her to his studio to teach a class and encouraged her to teach at some leather shows and online. Since then, her creations, including her amazing masks, have been featured on multiple TV shows and in various music and theater productions.
The pandemic put a damper on her in-person classes, but expanded her online teaching through Elktracks Studio, Tandy Leather, Lee Vally Tools, and Michael’s Craft Stores. She has also designed leathercraft kits for Silver Creek Leather (ReaLeather), allowing her to reach a whole new audience. If you have not taken any of her many excellent classes online, in person, or seen any of her amazing creations, do yourself a big favor and take the time.
I feel I must add that along with her many artistic talents and endeavors, she is also an accomplished musician on violin and accordion. Annie lives in Spokane, Washington, with her beautiful daughter, Nuala, and sculptor/musician husband, Michael.
As this year’s winner, Annie was presented with the Al Stohlman medallion, a certificate signed by the Stohlman Foundation directors, and a check for $1,500.
Laier, Tony. "2023 Al & Ann Stohlman Awards”. The Leather Crafters & Saddlers Journal. Jul/Aug 2023: p 36-37. Print.