Adding Contrast: This Oklahoma couple is stamping out a place in the world of western wear and hand-tooled leather

Great State
Data pix.

YUKON, Okla. (KFOR) -- Tanned leather starts out uniform- same tone, same thickness- but the artist takes that blank canvas and starts to stamp out something very different.

"It's challenging," says Whiskey Bound Leather Company leather artist Nick Alexander. "I wouldn't trade it for anything."

His wife and partner, an artist in her own right, Chelsi Alexander.

"It changes every day," she says. "People message us with different ideas all the time."

They got their leather tooling start on a shopping trip.

Chelsi saw a bag she liked but couldn't afford.

Nick thought he might be able to make something.

A visitor to their workshop remarks, "You got a handbag out of it and a small business."

"Yes," Chelsi laughs, "We never really thought that it was going to go anywhere farther than just the purse but then people really liked it."

Before long they were making extras and selling them.

First wallets, then belts and hatbands.

Boutiques started noticing their work and offering ideas like painted and tooled leather on shoes and jacket lapels.

By this past fall, they both had more work than they could handle, especially with a young baby to hold.

Nick says, "I would love to have my own shop building but, baby steps. We'll get there."

They both agree one of the most appealing things about their art is that it speaks for itself.

Even in the mostly white-skinned world of western fashion, it was their own artistic stamp that spoke loudest, not the color of their skin.

"We get a lot of messages wanting our products," Nick says. "So people seem to like it."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that everything we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.

Nick and Chelsi Alexander take the bland and colorless and transform it into the intricate mix of light and dark that always makes the world a much more interesting place.

Click here to see more Whiskey Bound Leather Company products.

Visit their Instagram here.

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