Kathy Flanagan - 2016 Al Stohlman Award Winner

2016 Al & Ann Stohlman Awards

This year’s recipient of the prestigious Al Stohlman Award for Achievement in Leathercraft was presented by Tony Laier, Vice President of the Stohlman Foundation, to Kathy Flanagan.

Kathy began working with a 4-H project in leather in 1970 and continued developing her skills, completing a saddle in her final 4-H year.  Her focus then and now centers around improving and adding to her skills and passing on her knowledge to others.

In the introduction of the portfolio submitted to the Al & Ann Stohlman Foundation, she commented, “Leathercraft is like riding a bicycle; once you learn, you never forget how.” She went on to say, “That’s a good thing, because there was a time in my life when raising two children was the only thing on my mind.”

As the kids grew up, she was able to – as she puts it – “hop back on the leathercraft bicycle.” For that, her many students and all of us who have enjoyed viewing her beautiful work will always be grateful. 

Kathy, an award-winning leather artist, has been a member of Denver’s Columbine Leather Guild for twenty years, serving as newsletter editor, Vice President, board member, fund raiser, and resident teacher.  She has also served as banquet chair, committee member, and go-to person for many International Federation of Leathercrafts Guild Shows.  She is a regular tutorial contributor to the Leather Crafters & Saddlers Journal and teaches each year in Sheridan at the Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show, and also traveled to France last September to teach at the inaugural European Leatherworkers & Artists Trade Show.  She can also add teaching classes at local Tandy Leather stores and summer camps for children, along with heading up 4-H leader training sessions to the long list. 

It’s been a big year for Kathy, as she was also honored in March 2016 for her 2015 Academy of Western Artists Award for Master Leather Artisan, joining past winners and Al Stohlman Award recipients George Hurst and Jim Linnell. 

Kathy’s life in leather exemplifies what it takes to be worthy of receiving this award and the recognition that goes along with it.  In addition to the graved medallion with the likeness of Al Stohlman, she also received a certificate signed by the Foundation board members and a check for $1,500.

Reis, Dot. "2016 Al & Ann Stohlman Awards." Leather Crafters & Saddlers JournalJune 2016: 62. Print.