Not his first rodeo
The Quiet Woman Cattle Company is not the name of a ranch, though its owner, Jeff Myers, is definitely a cowboy. He’s also an artist—a leather worker whose unhurried manner and eye for detail come across in his elaborate tooling technique. Those same mannerisms set the tone for his story of how a career in rodeos and ranching led him to the world of art.
It starts with the genesis of the Quiet Woman Cattle Company name, 35 years ago when Myers was an aspiring rodeo cowboy.
“I was going through a place called Dana Point—Southern California coastal town—and there was an old bar and restaurant, pretty rough looking on the outside but good on the inside,” he recalled. “It was called the Quiet Woman.”
Myers paused before continuing.
“Well, I don’t want to offend anybody,” he said. “It was just one of those flashes that struck me, and it stuck. … There was a billboard with … an old English-style barmaid—big arms and big fists holding up two big steins of beer, and she did not have a head on her shoulders. Right at that point, I said, ’By God, when I run my own cattle, it’ll be the Quiet Woman Cattle Company.’”
After a few unsuccessful years on the rodeo circuit, he decided it was time to do just that.
“If I’d won a nickel, I could say I’d won money, but I never did,” Myers said. “So I became a real cowboy and started working cattle in Montana.”
He spent the next two decades working as a cow boss and ranch manager at different operations. Seven years ago, he retired and moved to Nevada, where he met the saddle maker who set him on the path to creating his own leatherwork.
“He gave me a couple stamps to practice with and a bunch of scrap leather,” Myers said. “Instantly I knew this is what I was going to do for the rest of my life.”
Myers’ first projects were simple baskets he made by soldering coiled lariat ropes together. In the center of each basket he placed a circle of leather with a tooled design. According to Myers, his baskets were an immediate hit with Western art collectors, and the Quiet Woman Cattle Company was resurrected as a name for his leather working business.
“Pretty soon I was building baskets as fast as I could just so I could get what I thought was pretty creative work in them,” he said. “It was pretty simple work back at that point.”
As Myers’ leather working skills developed, customers began coming to him for custom orders. And in recent years, almost all of his work has been commissioned. He’s branched out into custom leather carving and restoration projects for historical leather pieces.
“I like to say—and it pretty much holds true—if I can see it on leather I can carve it,” he said.
Earlier this year, Myers embarked on another new venture when he was asked to set up shop as a salaried employee at Consign Furniture on Sierra Center Parkway.
“They have set me up with my studio, anything I want tool-wise, and I just carve,” he said. “I’ve got the greatest job in the world.”