Doug Groves started braiding out of necessity, to make the gear he needed as a working cowboy. One of his first teachers was Frank Hansen, and Doug has enjoyed the process of learning ever since. “There’s a genealogy behind learning all this stuff. When you’re sitting around the bunkhouse, and somebody is teaching you how to tie a particular button or something, you’ll get to visiting and you’ll say, ‘Well, where did you learn that?’ And they’ll say, ‘Well, Roger Fischer taught me that when we worked at the 25 together.’ You learn it from this guy, from that guy, from that guy–and knowing where it came from is like having a quilt your Grandma made, it means something to you.”
The making of handcrafted gear has flourished over the past two decades, with makers experimenting with new materials, techniques and designs, and adding their personal stamp to a long legacy of traditional artistry. Meet Doug Groves, rawhider, and learn a bit about the skills, ingenuity, and perserverance that goes into making a "good hand," in this Art of Gearmaking video from our Back At The Ranch exhibition.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Great Basin buckaroo and braider Doug Groves makes rawhide reatas, quirts, reins, and bosals of great beauty and function. A 2009 recipient of the Nevada Governor’s Arts Award and 2017 recipient of the Nevada Heritage Award, Doug learned braiding from peers in the bunkhouse and beyond, and he now passes on these techniques for turning rawhide into fine horse gear. Doug has been the cow boss on the TS Ranch outside of Battle Mountain, Nevada. He has taught his son Grant how to braid and is generous in sharing his knowledge with the other cowboys he works with.
Produced by the Western Folklife Center in 2004. Filmed on the TS Ranch, Argenta, NV.
Director, Camera, & Editor Chris Simon. Producer & Sound Recordist Meg Glaser.
Made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, Anne Pattee, Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest, Community Folklife Program Fund for Folk Culture, and by the multitude of staff, artists, volunteers, and community members working behind the scenes.
Brought to you by the Western Folklife Center, using story and cultural expression to connect the American West to the world.