THE ARTIST: ELAINE SNYDER began sewing doll clothes, completed 10 years of 4-H clothing projects, including a tailored jacket & dress by high school graduation. She graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in clothing design & textiles in 1972. The next two years she was an assistant buyer at Lord &Taylor, NYC. She moved to Montana in the fall of 1974. After some research and a few small projects, she made a “buckskin” pullover shirt in the early winter of 1975 for a musician friend. She was paid with hides; began making and quickly selling purses and vests in Kalispell, Montana.
Over the years Elaine has grown her BUCKSKIN CLOTHIER business: individually designing & hand crafting buckskin (mostly deer) vests & jackets for men & women and ladies dresses. Her work features “buckstitched” (hand-laced) yokes and edges in western and contemporary styles. Smaller purses & coin bags are made from the scrap, featuring 4 strand, hand cut & braided straps. Commercially tanned & dyed in the tannery hides are purchased from various suppliers. Structural seams are machine sewn.
Each garment is one-of-a-kind designed to the quality of the hides and often custom sized & made to clients’ preferences. Elaine has successfully learned to fit the full size spectrum for men & women and drafted her own patterns. Elaine has transformed hundreds of tanned deer, antelope, elk, moose, buffalo, eland & ostrich hides into unique WEARABLE ART. Your tanned hides or mine. SEW BE IT!
In January, 2009 Elaine was inducted into Montana’s Circle of American Masters as a Master Tailor in Buckskin. She maintains a home studio and sells some ready-to-wear clothing in Montana galleries. Each March finds Elaine in Great Falls in the Jay Contway Art Show, one of five during the CM Russell Art Week shows.