When Kristian Moore bought Letherwerks from its original proprietor, Joel Wood, in 2006, it was one of the longest running businesses in Taos.
Originally housed just east of Taos Plaza, Joel moved Letherwerks into its current location in the John Dunn Shops when Harvey Mudd bought the original building. Today, thanks to Polly Raye, the John Dunn Shops bear little resemblance to the original run down row of buildings along the rickety boardwalk that connected the Plaza to Bent Street.
Yet Letherwerks thrived then and throughout the renovations and changes made to the buildings over the years.
Joel’s craftsmanship and commitment to producing hand-made, quality leather goods continues under Kristian’s watch.
Kristian began his apprenticeship with Joel in 2003, shortly after moving to Taos “to get healthy and dry out from too much partying in LA,” he laughs.
Like many aspiring actors, Jon Kristian Moore (as he’s known in the business) had moved to Los Angeles to try his luck in the motion picture industry.
Growing up in Ketchum, Idaho, he was drawn to acting as a child and performed on the stage all through his school years. He received his B.F.A. in Acting (four-year conservatory program) at the Cornish College of the Arts before heading for the Golden State with dreams of the silver screen.
After two years of auditions and rejections, the dreams quickly faded as the late nights and endless parties began to take their toll. Now, a decade later, Kristian lives his dream. Not only does he own a business that supports and inspires him, he also works constantly as an actor both on stage here in Taos with Working Class Theater
and in motion pictures and TV productions shot here in New Mexico and elsewhere.
“Taos has been good to me,” he says. “I love it here, there’s really no other place I’d rather be.”
In his jeans, t-shirt and baseball cap, with his understated, laid back attitude, you’d be hard pressed to recognize him from one of his many parts, but Google him and you’ll have an “aha” moment. He’s appeared in many major motion pictures and films made for TV; Moore is the epitome of a working actor.
When he’s not in the shop or exercising his thespian muscle, he’s often on his motorcycle riding through the canyons and freeways of the Land of Enchantment, frequently with his old friend and mentor, Joel Wood and their leather-clad gang of biker buddies.
Letherwerks carries all manner of leather goods, from buttery soft handbags, hand tooled belts (with cases of beautiful silver buckles to go with them) hats, moccasins (for babies too) biker jackets and much more, focusing on American-made products. The shop itself is a destination spot for many visitors to Taos. Many of the original details and furnishings that were installed by Joel Wood are still here, along with Kristian’s own personal stamp on the space. The smell of the hides add to its charm, not to mention the building it’s housed in.
Letherwerks is located in the John Dunn Shops between Taos Plaza and Bent Street. They have a website (linked below this post) but be advised it’s currently under reconstruction so do keep checking back over the next couple of weeks, when it will be updated and running.
Until then, you can contact Kristian/Letherwerks directly at 575.758.2778.
Portrait of Jon Kristian Moore care of the actor.
Other shots taken on my iphone.