An acclaimed rawhide braider of horse gear, Luis Ortega elevated
his craft to collectible art and influenced a generation of gear
makers. This book is the most comprehensive overview of his life,
art, and career and the first book-length work on rawhide braiding
in North America, charting changes in horse gear over five decades.
Chuck Stormes and Don Reeves introduce readers to an itinerant
cowboy who strove for a level of craftsmanship and artistry above
what the market expected--and to be the best in his field. Although
grounded in the Spanish vaquero tradition, Ortega's work was shaped
by his quest for excellence and an intuitive sense of how to
fashion humble items into objects of lasting beauty. Ever a private
man, he viewed his craft as a calling yet rarely sought attention
even after his reputation was established.
More than a biography, the book is a richly illustrated overview
of this expert braider's art. Some 100 illustrations, 70 in color,
offer close-ups of Ortega's work that depict the intricacy of his
reins, quirts, and other pieces. From eight-strand reatas to
figure-eight hobbles, the beauty, functionality, and painstaking
care of his output shine through in every piece.
This elegant volume allows readers to better understand the
Hispanic foundations of the American cowboy as it portrays the work
of a man recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a
Master Traditional Artist. It will stand as a definitive work on
Ortega and a tribute to his craft.
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