Traditional Horn & Leather Worker
I think of myself as an artist and craftsman working in a number of mediums, but I have a 40 year obsession with the recreation of flintlock longrifles and accouterments. My particular interest, being a Virginian, is in longrifles from Virginia and East Tennessee along with their associated shot pouches, and powder horns.
While I have referred to myself as a gunmaker; I have interests in all sorts of arts and crafts including leather and horn work, fraktur (18th and 19th century German American calligraphy & folk art), period cabinet making and joinery, wood turning, sewing, and photography. I intend to keep building flintlock sporting arms for myself, but I decided to stop taking orders for guns for others. I am concentrating on the recreation of historically correct shot pouches, powder horns and fraktur as a business. Going forward my primary role will be as a maker of period leather and horn objects as well as fraktur documents and fraktur decorated objects.
I have been doing leather and horn work longer than I have been building muzzleloading firearms; well over 40 years. I have lost track of how many shot pouches and powder horns I have made; not to mention all the other leather goods. I only started numbering shot pouches and powder horns in 2008. Until 2019, they have been fill in work between gun projects, but now my intention is to produce at least 1-2 outfits a month. Most of my work tends to be bespoke, but I fill down time making what interests me. Such spec work offered for sale will be posted on this web site and on the CLA web site.
My interest tends to be southern shot pouches and powder horns. With regard to horns, I particularly like banded, applied tip horns. Those may be pinned or screw-tips of horn or antler(bone). I use walnut, cherry, and maple for the base plugs and stoppers. While these are what I tend to like doing, I am certainly open to different types of work. If you are interested in custom period leather or horn work, I would like to talk to you. We may be able to collaborate on something new. Some of my best work has resulted from these efforts.
See Portfolio/Pouches & Powder Horns for examples of my work.
To discuss a project and get a quote use the Contact form to send me an e-mail. I will e-mail or call to further discuss the project. Please see the FAQ for more information on purchasing custom work. Check out Works for Sale for product currently in stock.
Contemporary Fraktur Artist
I have talked about the leather and horn work I do, but I also have an interest in fraktur. Fraktur are the illuminated documents of German-Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries. It mostly consists of birth and baptism certificates, but the decorative elements can be found on a lot of objects made in or about German-American communities. Fraktur is generally associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch culture, but is also found in Virginia and Ohio, anywhere there were German speaking communities.
My contemporary fraktur is based on original fraktur found in Pennsylvania and Virginia, but has evolved into my own particular style. I apply this fraktur type decoration to a lot of my objects, particularly powder horns. I have created a lot of powder horns with fraktur decoration, including a lot with color fraktur. You can see them among my most recent work in Portfolio/Fraktur/Fraktur Decorated Objects.
I still do Fraktur Documents and Fraktur Paintings along the lines of the original work including printed and hand colored, birth certificates and house blessings. However, I can do a completely custom work for you. If you want a completely orginial birth/baptism or marriage certificate, a house blessing, or a family tree, we can talk about what you want; and I will work up a price for you. I am happy to entertain most any fraktur type work and will give you a fair price.
To discuss a project and get a quote use the Contact form to send me an e-mail. I will e-mail or call to further discuss the project. Please see the FAQ for more information on purchasing custom work. Check out Works for Sale for product currently in stock.a
An Craftsman at Home in Any Century
As much as I consider myself an artist and craftsman working with 18th and 19th century technology, I made my living mostly in information technologies for over 20 years. I am now retired due to my health, but I still keep my hand in the latest technology through my photography, by maintaining this web site, helping with the Bruce Miller Virtual Library & Museum on AmericanLongrifles.org, working on the A/V team at my church, and providing website support services for a 12 Step program of which I am a member.
I used to do quite a bit of commercial photography work, mostly product photography (muzzle loading firearms and accouterments) and virtual reality photography, but gave it up due to increasing trouble standing and walking. At the time I was traveling to various locations with my studio setup to practice my photography. I have decided to see if there is interest in sending work to me at my home studio.
Pricing would be the same as at the shows. You would just have to ship the work to me and pay for the return shipping. For small items, that shouldn’t be too costly especially given my extremely competitive prices. Prices for photo packages start at $49 for a pistol or small object, or $99 for a long gun. I am assuming most of the interest in my services would be for things like shot pouches, powder horns and knives, but I can theoretically photograph just about anything you can ship to my studio that will fit through my front door. I am limiting gun photography to pre-1898 firearms. Muzzle loading firearms and other bulky or high value items may be hand delivered to my Mechanicsville, VA studio for a photo session by appointment.
The package pricing is for single objects photographed face-on against a shadowless white background with minimal post processing, mainly to remove supports. If you want three/quarter or angled shots that require special support configurations and possibly focus stacking there would be additional charges for those images. Focus stacking by itself is $12 per image. If you want the image masked for background replacement, that would be a $15 per image charge. All finished photos will be delivered digitally via cloud download in either full resolution .JPG or .TIF format depending on your intended use. If you are going to use the images for a book or magazine, you will want .TIF format.
I am happy to do composition photos, but those would require some discussion and would be a negotiated price. In any case, we will have to discuss your needs. Once I know what you want, I would e-mail you a contract with the details which you would then sign and return with a check and the object to be photographed. The turn around time would normally be a day or two once I received it. Use the Contact page to start the process.
Check out my Photography Portfolio for some examples of my very best photography work.
As important as recreating flintlock longrifles and accouterments is to me, I strive to make Christ the most important thing in my life on a daily basis because he died and rose again on the third day so that sinners like you and I might be forgiven our sins, gain power in this life, and gain eternal life. I have had, and continue to have, some very difficult challenges with my health and have seen some very dark times. It is only through faith, prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit that I have made it through many days. I have also been blessed in innumerable ways, including the loss of about 190 lbs, which I believe has kept out of a wheelchair. Life isn’t easy, and Christians aren’t perfect. I am certainly very far from perfect. We are all sinners. The Bible tells us that not one of us is justified. However, as a Christian, you are forgiven and striving to get better in every way each day. As a sinner needing forgiveness; just ask Christ into your life; sincerely repent of your sins; rejoice in the fact that your sins, past, present, and future are forgiven and forgotten; and let the Lord help you each day to become the person he wants you to be. Not unlike mastering the recreation of flintlock longrifles, it is a life long, difficult, journey, but the end of the journey is eternal life. Don’t wait, start your journey today! Jesus loves you and is waiting for you to ask him into your life. Once you do, you will also find that he will lift your burdens and make things possible that are far beyond your capabilities.
May God bless you.
Mark E. Elliott