Chuck Smith - 1996 Al Stohlman Award Winner

Chuck Smith Receives Al Stohlman Award for Achievement in Leathercraft

Once each year, the prestigious Al Stohlman Award for Achievement in Leathercraft is presented by the Al and Ann Stohlman Award Foundation.  A panel of distinguished judges awards this person whose accomplishments in leatherwork and dedication to that field are exemplary and best represents Al Stohman’s lifetime of devotion and adherence to the promotion and improvement of leatherwork.

On Saturday, September 28, 1996, Dottie and I had the distinct pleasure to present Chuck Smith, of California, with The Al Stohlman Award for 1996.  Chuck Smith is a most deserving recipient as he represents what the award is all about.  Aside from being a phenomenal talent, Chuck also, at every opportunity, gives of himself freely and willingly in sharing and demonstrating his art and design with others.  Freely in that any part or wholly imparting his knowledge of the craft; willing in that Chuck takes the time or makes the time available to help those who sincerely ask.  He has demonstrated over and over again his willingness to travel great distances to teach or judge a leather show.

Chuck is quite original in his leather designs.  I’ve notice he consistently uses a minimum of open background areas for his floral carvings.  He also inspires others to be original by teaching methods for that purpose.

Chuck, along with several other top crafters, have established the Leather Artists of America.  In February, 1993, they held the first Leather Artists of America Seminar in Fort Worth, Texas.  This was a week-long seminar of teaching, sharing, and refining the talent of crafters from  around the world.  Crafters came from Australia, Germany, Holland, and the United States to participate in this seminar.  Chuck spent months planning and organizing this event, taking valuable time away from his livelihood and letting his own business suffer in order to make this seminar a success and a worthwhile investment for those who attended.

In May, 1994, another seminar was held at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in Los Angeles.  Almost 30 people attended, including some from as far away as Japan.  A workshop was held on the last day of the seminar for children and it is said to have set attendance records at the Gene Autry Museum.

Contiguous with the coveted medallion and inscribed certificate, The Al and Ann Stohlman Award Foundation presented Chuck with a check for $1,000. 

Throughout our travels, Dottie and I have learned time and again that the Al Stohlman Award is recognized as the highest known accolade which can be conferred on a leatherworker.  Therefore, once again, congratulations to Chuck Smith, one of the best of the best!

Bill Reis. "Chuck Smith Receives Al Stohlman Award for Achievement in Leathercraft”. The Leather Crafters & Saddlers Journal.  Nov/Dec 1996: p 35. Print.