Shoni Maulding, Horsehair Hitcher
Kettle Falls, WA
Shoni posesses a very rare skill, an art virtually lost in the west today, horsehair hitching. It is important to note that hitched horsehair is not the same as braided horsehair. Hitched horsehair is a series of knots; braiding is, well, braiding. Hitched horsehair will last generations, while braiding does not have the same lasting stability. We consider Shoni to be the best in the world. Her creations, with her husband, Ron, who does the leather and metal work, have been featured in Western Horseman, Fiberarts, Equine Images, American Cowboy, True West, Cowboy Magazine, The Leather Crafters & Saddlers Journal, Appaloosa Journal and Western Styles. The Horse Show with Rick Lamb featured the Mauldings in a radio interview which still occasionally plays. Northwest Profiles, a KSPS PBS TV program, out of Spokane, Washington, also profiled the couple in October, 2006. This feature still runs on KSPS.
Ron and Shoni’s Flight of the Nez Perce in 1877 was honored at the 1999 Western Design Conference in Cody, Wyoming, when the ensemble won Best Artist in the Jewelry/Fashion category.
Ron and Shoni create belts, hat bands, headstalls & reins. They also have performed restoration work for various antique shops and individual collectors.
Shoni has written one book on the subject, Hitched Horsehair: The Complete Guide for Self-Learning, and a second she wrote with her husband, Hitched Horsehair II: Advanced Patterns and Inlay Projects.
When asked where they are from, the answer is they are displaced Montanans and Westerners. Shoni is a 5th generation Montanan, with agricultural ties to ranching, farming, and commercial beekeeping. Her ancestral ties of Northern Shoshone and European blood and Ron’s ingenuity and creativity show in their work, taking hitched horsehair into non-traditional objects such as a full-size Indian cradleboard, quiver, purses, and jewelry.