“Daily Rituals” by Mason Currey Book Review

I have another book review this week and if you are interested in Daily Rituals then this book is for you.  Have you ever wondered how artists work?  What routines and disciplines do successful artists put into place to insure that they are as productive as they can be each and every day?

Daily Rituals by Mason CurreyIn “Daily Rituals” by Mason Currey, he catalogs the daily routines and rituals of many successful artists from past and present.  We get a glimpse into their lives and how they maintained a consistent and productive work schedule despite the pressures of normal daily life.

I have to be honest, I have listened to this book probably six times on Audible while working in my shop.  I tend to listen to a lot of books during the workday.  I get bored easily just listening to music, so Audible is a very important part of my sanity throughout the hours and hours of working alone in the shop tapping away on leather.

Oh sure, Freddy is there with me the majority of the time but he listens to his music in his headphones and doesn’t waste time chattering away the day with me… although I enjoy being able to focus on my chores, I do miss conversation at times.

“Daily Rituals” is a book that I feel is a must read (or listen) and doing so more than once is quite enlightening.  This book is basically a collection of short tellings of famous artists and their daily routines for achieving the great success that we know them for.

From writers, painters, physicists, actors and all types in between throughout the 19th and 20th century, Mason does a fantastic job of taking us into the daily rituals and discipline of these artists and creatives.  I bought this book in 2015 and the first time I listened to it I knew that I would have to listen again just to consume all the information.

If you are the type of creative that geeks out on other creators’ routines and daily rituals then consider adding this book to your “To Read” list.

Within this book, are stories of quirky superstitions, obsessive compulsion, drunkenness, and down right debauchery. 

  • There are are artists that maintained a very mundane morning ritual of very little excitement, despite their accolades and fame.
  • There are others who lived on the verge of homelessness and bankruptcy.
  • One or two that commited suicide.
  • One that maintained a 40 marriage with the same woman, all while having multiple affairs with both women and men.
  • As well as one that maintained a household in the suburbs with her husband and children and only wrote while the kids were at school and her husband at work.

The thing that I found most interesting in these stories of success was how differing these daily rituals were from artist to artist.

  • Not all used drugs and alcohol.
  • Not all were torchered souls using their art to express their turmoil.
  • Nor did all of them think of their gift in their art as an anointed gift from God that they were called to lay upon the world.

The main idea to me that rang true through all of these depictions was that no matter the art or how it is to be created, the artist must create an environment and daily routine that allows for that art to flourish.

The majority of people that I speak with usually have a very romantic view of the artist archetype.  And usually that view could very well contain some of the above attributes.  This makes for fantastic movies about them when they are dead and gone, but this is not  the case among the majority of artists.

There are many artists that battle demons in order to create the art that they want to express.  They work hard to redirect this energy into the production of art that is truly a part of them.  I don’t feel that this is only a cross to bear by the artist, I believe that all humans deal with this in all types of work and careers.

Those within this book were able to create fantastic collections of work within their lifetimes despite their sometimes tragic routines and rituals.  This is the amazing part.  These were not the ones who were only creative because of their routines, they were the ones who surprisingly made it work despite these routines.

As you read this book, think about how much greater or more profound their works would have been without these hindrances.

“You are not artistic, creative or different because of your anxiety, depression or addictions… you are these wonderful things despite them.” 


We all have things keeping us from our creations.  It may be resistance, fear, addiction, ADHD, PTSD, putting kids through college, or just a 12 pack iced down in the cooler.  We don’t always win against these adversaries but we can always begin again tomorrow and continue pushing forward.  Some days we win and some days we don’t, but that’s okay and just part of the journey.

In my book review of “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, I found a similar tie in as I found in this book.  These Professional Artists had to put rituals and routines in place in their lives to combat Resistance (whatever their Resistance was) on a daily basis.  Doing the work was all that mattered… every day.

“The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.”

Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art”


A Review of the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

resistanceThis is a review of the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.  Pressfield has written many books in both the fiction and nonfiction space with one of his most successful being “The Legend of Bagger Vance.”

I am an avid reader of nonfiction books specifically directed at business and development.  I came across “The War of Art” last year and consumed it first in audio form while working in my shop.  After listening to the book multiple times and gaining great insight every time, I have added this book to my list of “Must Reads” for anyone wanting to succeed in their business and personal life.

If you are a creative in any field, this book will bring to the surface those things we all do that sabotage our focus and productivity.  Whether your gifts and talents are put to use as a hobby or they are the sole form of revenue for your household, using these talents in a way that the universe calls for you to do is not something you can ignore.  What Pressfield calls “Resistance” sets up shop in our lives with a sole purpose to keep you from that which your guts tell you has to be done to be complete and happy.

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Do You have Projects You Procrastinate On?

img_1011Have you ever found yourself working happily on the project that you are most excited about only to have a voice in your head reminding you of that one job you put off for way too long?  Those projects you procrastinate on consistently? That one job that you set on the bench in the corner of your shop and feel it staring at you throughout the day?  In your mind you know that you need to just put down what you are doing and get it done so you can get back to what you love.  But as the days, weeks, or maybe even months continue to cycle by, you make an honest attempt to convince yourself that you will do it “tomorrow.”

 This is procrastination, resistance, or simply lying to yourself.  We all do this from time to time, but for some of us this can become a chronic disease among the best of craftsman.  We work so hard to improve our skills and talents, that we tend to put off the types of work that don’t add value to our skill set.  In an attempt to be good stewards in our business and remain financially responsible, we take these jobs because of our lack of confidence in our true passion.  We tend to look at these jobs as a necessary evil because it must be a sin to turn down work.  So we end up taking the project on, knowing in our minds that we don’t want to do them and in turn putting them off to the point that the customer is upset.  And we ourselves are upset for having to do them.

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Measuring for a Custom Belt

Measuring for a custom belt can be a little confusing but getting a good measurement is crucial to insure a proper fit. We also require a good measurement so that any lettering, brands or figures within the artwork are balanced when the belt is being worn.

In this short video I show exactly how to get a true belt size for you using a belt that you currently wear with the type of buckle you plan to use.

Please be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more helpful videos and tutorials. Thanks so much!


Drawing a Flower

I have had a lot of questions lately about how I draw my flowers for my floral designs.  This is a quick example of how I go about constructing any flower I may want to incorporate into my designs.



 The first thing I do is draw a small circle for my flower center.  Once that is drawn in the area that will be the center of my flower I then decide on the number of petals this flower will have.  Here we are drawing a five petal flower which I represent with just simple rounded shapes sketched in very lightly, just to show their placement and size.


Now that we have the center of the flower and the basic petals sketched in, I determine what the petals will look like and draw that design within my petal guidelines.  Here we are drawing a very simple scalloped petal.


As you can see in the last drawing, you are not limited with this method to just the traditional scalloped petal.  Knowing the basic size and placement of the petals first allows you to design virtually any kind of petal for the design you are working on.

This method works best for me in both speed and ability to design unique flowers.  Try this method and let me know what you think by sending me an email!  

Spring is Almost Here!!!!



It’s March and we are still dealing with cold weather and many of us across the country are experiencing a fair amount of “winter mix” weather, but the fact is that winter is almost over and sunny days are soon to come.  With that, now is a great time to take a sunday afternoon and go through your tack room.  The majority of folks are fair weather horsemen and haven’t paid much attention to your saddle since before the holidays.

This is the time of year that our repair shop gets pretty busy and, depending on the repair, your normal wait on getting something fixed could be a couple weeks or better.  Now is a great time to go through your saddles and check key areas that may need attention before your right in the middle of the season and your saddle is in the shop. Continue reading

A video tour of Herman Oak Tannery.

Have you ever wanted to see the leather making process in action?  This a video tour of the Herman Oak Tannery where we get the bulk of our tooling and saddle leather.  Herman Oak is the industry standard for  quality when it comes to high end custom leather goods.

We think you will enjoy this video tour and getting a chance to see the hard work and dedication that goes into every piece of leather from the best tannery in the country!