The Designer Cowboy

At the Oregon State Fair, I noticed a booth with beautiful, clearly hand-tooled leather goods. Almost as unexpected as the craftsmanship was the craftsman. Leo Stiles is a bona fide cowboy, complete with the suntan and weathered hands that come from working on horse ranches in the Oregon wilds. He’s also, it turns out, a Sunday-afternoon artisan. When I discovered he’d do custom work, too, I sent him my L. L. Bean canvas tote and asked for his interpretation in leather. A few days later I got a fax with a rough sketch. Stiles, who only uses tooling leather from Tulsa, works on one bag at a time and devotes about 25 hours to each creation. Eight weeks after that initial drawing, the Leo, as I like to call it, arrived at my door. From $400. At 421 S. Church St., Condon; 541-384-2091.