About Jimmy Acord - James Acord's Leather
This is a brief biographical sketch of Jimmy Acord, who makes all the leather work you'll see in this site. He chooses to not have assistants or a cottage industry ... and that's how you get a waiting list! He's the only person in the world doing what he does, as personally and artistically as he does it. Highest quality, only custom orders working directly with each customer.
Willy advises Jimmy in the planning of a custom fly rod case. This is the stage where all the pieces have been cut out and dyed. (Willy has a last name, but it's a dirty word, so Jimmy says we can't put it in here. Hint: It's in Spanish.)
Born in Fairfield, Illinois, November 26, 1953. Jimmy and his family moved to Wooster, Ohio when he was eleven years old. He attended vocational school to be trained as a welder, and followed that profession for fourteen years. In 1976 he met Susan Shie, who became his partner and later his wife, and who introduced him to art making. Into the package deal came Gretchen, Susan's five year old, who became Jimmy's stepdaughter.
Jimmy started teaching himself to make functional leather pieces in 1977, and soon opened his custom order shop, Barnfire Leather, which he ran while still welding, until 1984. Then he quit the factory life and ran Barnfire fulltime. He did a lot of custom work for motorcycling, shoe work, and custom garments during this time.
Susan has always assisted Jimmy in leather, and in 1989 he began to help her by adding some leather, painting, and sewing to the wild mixed media art she makes. They got married in 1990 and soon moved to the home they share now, with its large "his" and "hers" workrooms they named TURTLE MOON STUDIOS.
In 1997 Jimmy got interested in fly fishing and making cases for the equipment, using all the skills he'd acquired in leathermaking. Now his life is full of camping, fishing, and exploring the amazing world of the sport that finally gave him the excuse to post the sign "Gone Fishin'."
Jimmy teaches mixed media workshops around the country with Susan, and still works with the nonfunctional side of their art, but his focus has intensified again in his functional leather work. His passion for making elegant, useable cases has found a home with his love of fly fishing. Although he continues to create cases for cigars and handbags his fly cases are now his signature work. He's also getting pretty good at fly fishing, considering how little time he can give to actually going fishing!
Eighth grader Chris Gonter-Dray and Jimmy work together, in a class at Garaway Jr. Hi, in Sugarcreek, Ohio, to airbrush Chris' T-shirt from a class trip to Washington, DC.
This was taken in Salem, Illinois, not long after Jimmy met The Lone Ranger and got a ride on Tonto's shoulders. Jimmy was about eight years old in this photo.
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Web site design © Susan Shie 1997-2012. Site opened October 15, 1997. Made on an Apple iMac, using Dreamweaver.
This page last updated April 24, 2012.