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Leland Hensley

Birth place or City of origin: Meridan
State of origin: TX
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Basically, Hensley is self-taught, but has received help along the way by several braiders and horsemen alike. After graduating from Sul Ross State University, he managed a ranch for several years and braided in his spare time. After leaving the ranch, he has worked in several saddle shops, which keeps him close to the western gear business.

Hensley’s braiding is recognized for its dependable use and unique beauty. With his patience, each item created reveals a higher level of skill. A usual sight outside his shop is one or more hides stretched, waiting for the next step.

“There is as much or more to preparing hides as there is to the actual braiding,” he said. Quality, not quantity, is his main goal. “I believe every piece of work should be able to be used for the purpose it was intended. Strings can be smaller and colors can be used, but it should still be functional.”

Hensley said, “I am honored to be a member of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association.” Since most of the year is spent making items for working cowboys, Hensley believes the exhibition is both an opportunity and a challenge to try and produce finer work, in hopes that every piece will be better than the last. He currently works out of his shop in his home.

His work has been exhibited at Sun Valley, Idaho, A Gathering of Gear at Elko, Nevada, and The Trappings of Texas in Alpine, where the Museum of the Big Bend has purchased items for their permanent trappings collection.

Leland Hensley picked up rawhide braiding in the 1980s while attending University in Alpine, Texas. After graduating he managed a Texas ranch and continued to braid in his spare time. Upon leaving the ranch, Leland worked in several saddle shops which kept him close to the business. Several trips to Argentina to compare technique with their leading braiders, has inspired a unique braiding style.


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