DeWitt Allen Palmer

Dublin Core

Title

DeWitt Allen Palmer

Subject

Artist; Occupational; Rawhide

Description

Profile of artist DeWitt Allen Palmer

Person Item Type Metadata

Birth Date

1915

Birthplace

Logan, Cache, Utah, USA

Death Date

2014

Occupation

Plumbing and Heating

Biographical Text

DeWitt Palmer is a lifelong resident of northern Utah’s Cache Valley, an area well known for its beef and dairy herds. Born in Logan in 1915, Mr. Palmer spent much of his youth working on horseback on his grandfather’s ranch helping with feeding, branding and moving cattle between summer and winter ranges. When the ranch was sold after his father’s death, he decided to follow his paternal grandfather into the plumbing and heating business. But his interest in ranching and his love of horses remained, as evidenced by the numerous cutting horses and cow dogs he has trained over the years.
Mr. Palmer has always enjoyed making things with his hands and as a boy was particularly interested in watching his uncle and the ranch hands making tack—bridles, reins and quirts—from braided rawhide. After retirement, he finally found time to teach himself to prepare raw cowhides and to braid. Through a process of trial-and-error and with help from a series of braiders throughout the West, he fine-tuned his technique and ultimately mastered this difficult art form.
Today his finely constructed reins, headstalls, hobbles and bosals are purchased by both local and regional customers, most often for show horses. The actual braiding of the rawhide is a very time-consuming process, but even more time and energy is required to transform a “green” hide into evenly cut rawhide strings. And though there are almost as many different processes for preparing the hide as there are rawhide braiders, everyone must remove the hair and flesh, cut the hide into uniform strips and bevel the edge of the strips or strings so they will lie flat when braided—a characteristic required for both strength and beauty. Relying on his experience with metal construction learned through years of working with plumbing and heating fixtures, Mr. Palmer developed a rawhide cutter that was ultimately featured in Western Horseman Magazine. With this and other innovations for cleaning and drying the hides, he has developed a complete system for transforming hides into strings of rawhide ready for braiding. Motivated by the hope that this art form will be passed along to be enjoyed and appreciated by future generations, Mr. Palmer has shared his knowledge and skill at braiding rawhide with many people. Through classroom demonstrations and by working one-on-one with serious students, he continues to pass along his skills.

Collection

Citation

“DeWitt Allen Palmer,” Utah Folk Arts, accessed April 18, 2024, https://utahfolkarts.omeka.net/items/show/231.

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