December 8, 2019
“What goes into handcrafting a journal? Blood, sweat, tears, two hands and a bison.” –Trevor Washko, founder, Cold Mountain Craft
Cold Mountain Craft fuses beautiful with functional.
Naturalist, writer and leather craftsman Trevor Washko is working to create a brand that will outlast him. Cold Mountain Craft spawned from Washko’s time guiding hikers and snowshoers in the silver mining ghost town of Ashcroft. He would scribble notes into field journals, eventually designing leather jackets to protect his thoughts from the harsh rain and snow that arrives with life at 10,000 feet.
The Springfield, Ill., native moved to Aspen following grad school for a summer naturalist internship with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies in 1996. The following year, he relocated to the legendary Toklat Gallery in Ashcroft, serving as naturalist-in-residence. What originated as handspun gifts for friends has soared into a full line of functional, durable and personal fine leather wares.
“I settled on leatherwork because it did not require infrastructure or space. I did not need a darkroom or a kiln or a table saw,” Washko says. “All I needed was a hide and some hand tools, which I could tuck into my backpack.”
Cold Mountain goods are home-crafted with American-born and American-tanned bison leather. Journals, bags, fly-fishing wallets and flasks are handcut, handpunched and handstitched with ivory-toned Irish waxed linen. Over the years, Washko says he has honed his art, stitching leather in the Utah desert, in the bleachers of a Midwest Little League game, at the pub in Aspen, at a Colorado music festival, road-tripping down a forgotten highway and on the deck of a Cold Mountain cabin.
This winter, Washko will share a roof with four fledgling ACES naturalists, caretaking and managing the Catto Center at Toklat (formerly the Mace family home and the Toklat Gallery). Expect a steady flow of innovative treasures—the kind that can only be sparked from the stillness of quieter, darker, colder months spent on a mountain. Journals from $59, Aspen Emporium and Flying Circus, 315 E. Main St.; Catto Center at Toklat, 11247 Castle Creek Road; Kemo Sabe, 217 S. Galena St.; coldmountaincraft.com
Photography by: Tory Matthews, Courtesy of Cold Mountain Craft