Harness Maker & Horner
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. While I intend to keep building flintlock sporting arms for myself, for many reasons, I have decided to stop taking orders for guns for others. I will concentrate on the recreation of historically correct shot pouches, powder horns and fraktur as a business. Going forward my primary role will be as a harness maker and horner doing all sorts of period leather and horn work.
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 have made. I only started numbering shot pouches and powder horns in 2008. 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 these will be on spec; making what interests me at the time. Initially, I will concentrate on southern pouches and horns. I will then post the work for sale on this web site and on the CLA web site.
An Craftsman at Home in Any Century
As much as I consider myself an artist and craftsman, 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 cutting edge technology by maintaining this web site, helping with the Bruce Miller Virtual Library & Museum on AmericanLongrifles.org, and working with the audio/visual ministry at my church. Very early, however, I fell in love with antique firearms, particularly the American longrifle. I was captivated by the artistry and craftsmanship of these guns. The variety of skills required to create one appealed to me as well as its integral part in the history of our nation. I was also, and still am, fascinated with the flintlock as an ignition mechanism. Consequently, I have spent a good bit of my spare time , what little there was of it, learning to build flintlock longrifles, shot pouches and powder horns. I am still learning, and currently picking at a couple of personal projects that should stretch my carving and engraving skills. That must take a back seat, though, to my new concentration on being a professional harness maker and horner.
As important as recreating flintlock longrifles and accouterments is to me, I strive to make Christ the most important thing in my life 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 over 200 lbs which has kept me on my feet. 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