James F. Jackson, a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow, is widely considered the finest leather carver in the world. James, who carves in the celebrated “Sheridan Style” of leather tooling, honed his craft at the iconic King Ropes & Saddlery in downtown Sheridan, Wyoming, before taking up residence at the new leather workshop at The Brinton Museum.
James’ impact on the culture of leathercraft is so widespread that he is famed the world over – in fact, in Japan, where James is particularly celebrated, the predominant style of carving is the “Sheridan Style,” thanks to the contributions of this humble artist along with those of icons Don King, Chester Heap, Otto F. Ernst, and modern mavericks Barry King, Ryan King and Joe Smith.
Sheridan Travel & Tourism recently traveled to Japan with James, where the team witnessed firsthand how impactful James’ work has been on this historic artform; dozens of craftspeople from workshops across the country were eager to share their work with our local legend.
For more information on Sheridan, visit SheridanWyoming.org.