Three Small-Business Artisans, Keeping American Craftsmanship Alive

In a world of fast-paced consumerism, mass production and instant gratification, it seems fewer and fewer people are becoming artisans. With the prevalence of computer technology and the rise of manufacturing around the globe, some might ask why we even need artisans anymore. At The Marketplace by TheBlaze, we think artisans are not only needed, they’re key to the continued growth of our nation.

For an economy to thrive, people need to be creating things. At the very center of this process are the artisans and craftsmen who put their hearts into every product they create. These are people who have honed and developed their skills to the point that now, every stitch, cut, hammer and cast is done with precision and excellence, making each product a piece of exquisite workmanship.

At The Marketplace by TheBlaze, we’re set on finding the very best American craftsmen, shining the spotlight on them and together, growing the American artisan movement.

Meet three of the artisans working relentlessly to pursue their own versions of the American dream while building our nation and preserving their craft.

Buffalo Billfolds & Belts

Buffalo Billfolds and Belts
Photo courtesy of Buffalo Billfolds & Belts

Ron Snider has been making and selling handcrafted leather goods since 1991. As one of the few remaining American producers of handmade Western leather belts, Ron’s company specializes in embossing unique floral and other print designs on 100 percent pure cowhide. All of the leather they use is made and tanned in the United States.

“Our wallets are all leather as well. Cheaply made ones have nylon in them — that’s the first to go in a wallet — but not ours,” Ron says.

As a craftsman, Ron is rewarded first with the satisfaction of creating with his own two hands, and again with customers who are thrilled to acquire products with timeless style that last for years.

“We try to operate on biblical principles — be honest, do what we say we’re going to do and provide good service,” Ron says.

Explore Buffalo Billfolds & Belts at The Marketplace by TheBlaze.

Last Frontier Knives

Last Frontier Knives
Photo courtesy of Last Frontier Knives

Sometimes, a knife is more than just a tool. In the hands of a truly gifted craftsman, it can become a work of art, a keepsake passed down from generation to generation. In order to create such an item, it takes impeccable craftsmanship, dedication to detail and an unparalleled work ethic.

Master bladesmith Thomas Van Krevelen possesses these qualities and creates handcrafted knives that are truly breathtaking.

“Over my years, through lots of hard work, I have learned to create a knife I can be proud to offer someone, a knife that I know will last for generations,” Thomas says.

From an early age, Thomas’ passion for knives led him to learn how to make them himself using traditional methods. He started by buying an anvil that was made in 1902.

“I learned mostly by my mistakes, but over time and with help from some local Alaskan bladesmiths, I continued to improve,” Thomas recalls.

Now Thomas makes some of the finest hunting and survival knives on the market.

Explore Last Frontier Knives at The Marketplace by TheBlaze.

Heritage Jewelry

Heritage Jewlery
Photo courtesy of Heritage Jewelry

Lori Bain, an artist who crafts beautiful jewelry from fine metals and gemstones, first became an artisan out of necessity and passion.

“After being laid off as a special education teacher, I decided to fall back on what I do best — being independent,” Lori remembers.

She began teaching herself  new methods of making jewelry, while at the same time researching her family history. Not long after that, Lori combined her two passions, researching the gemstones that came from the countries of her own heritage.

“I wanted to offer meaningful jewelry — pieces that people would have a greater connection to,” Lori says.

Each of the handcrafted jewelry pieces Lori creates tells a story. It’s through her creations that Lori hopes to encourage her children and future generations how to discover their own gifts to overcome challenges in life and make the world a better place.

Explore Heritage Jewelry at The Marketplace by TheBlaze.