First Bank is featuring Clair Mullin as artist of the month for July.
With an associate's degree in applied science in saddle-making from Spokane Falls Community College in Washington, Mullin is carving her way to her dreams. Mullin recently began a business, Clair Mullin Saddlery, after receiving her diploma.
"I wanted to do something that was ag-related that I could use my artistic side in, too," Mullin said regarding how she chose leatherwork as a vocation.
She started working with leather three years ago, while she was a senior at Grant Union High School.
Leatherworker Tom Berry was her teacher who started her with small leather projects, like belts.
"He taught me how to carve, draw patterns and to stamp," Mullin said.
Now, she not only makes belts, but also has added to her list items such as: saddles, purses, high-heeled shoes, wallets, hair barrettes, belts, chaps, headstalls, breast collars and saddlebags, that are custom-made.
Since receiving her diploma June 16, Mullin has continued to expand her knowledge of leatherwork. Two days a week, she travels to work with Randy Severs of Severs Brother Saddlery in Pendleton, which is well known for its leatherwork.
She grew up on the Eagle Rock Ranch near John Day, where she now also works. She was born and raised in John Day. Her parents are Allan and Rozanne Mullin.
"I'm bailing, when its not raining, and when I'm done I come in here," Mullin said, referring to her shop, which is next door to her parents' house.
A belt could take one to three hours to complete - "depending on how the day is going," she said. A saddle could take up to three months to complete.
"It can get pretty tedious," she said.
Some of her recent work is on display at First Bank. A saddle, purses, wallets, a pair high-heeled shoes and a headstall are some of the things that can be viewed until July 30.
For more information about Clair Mullin Saddlery, call her at (541) 620-1634.