During the 1920s, a young Al Stohlman dreamed of some day illustrating the popular Western novels of the day. Scenes of cattle drives, wranglers, chuck wagons and horses filled his imagination and his sketch pad.
Stohlman had his first experience with leatherwork in 1942 while stationed in New Guinea while with the U.S. Army. After his discharge, he returned to California and began tooling leather in earnest.
By 1952 he was earning national attention through work for the Craftool Company, developing many of the company's stamping tools.
Later, as a freelance teacher/artist he traveled the country attending craft shows and guild meetings, teaching and sharing his techniques.
By 1962 the Tandy Leather Company sponsored Al, and he began to share his knowledge with students through the Al Stohlman Home Study Course. Through this course and dozens of instructional books and patterns, hundreds of thousands of people have been taught leather craft.
Al and his wife, Ann an accomplished leather worker herself, retired to their ranch by Cache Creek, B.C. Al Stohlman passed away March 6, 1998.
Al Stohlman devoted most of his life to leather, constantly seeking to improve his work and develop new techniques. His numerous instructional books are a guide and a source of inspiration for generations of leatherworkers all over the world.
Fine displays of Stohlman’s work and the work of his protégé’s are on display in the Al Stohlman Museum and Gallery located in the Tandy Leather Factory in Fort Worth, Texas.