Master Craftsman Leather - Vada Swearingen

Master Craftsman Vada Swearingen has been working with leather for over 25 years. Meet her at Mountain Leather Shop.

A Craftsman In The Making

Initially from Ava, Missouri, she first learned to sew on her grandmother’s sewing machine. Vada moved with her family to Cassville years later where she learned how to sew leather boots at a popular business, “Justin Boot.” She worked sewing leather boots for 10 years before she found her home at Silver Dollar City’s Mountain Leather shop.

The Silver Dollar City Years


Vada first came to Silver Dollar City 15 years ago. Finding her unique talents with leather a wonderful addition to the park’s crafts, she was immediately put to work at Mountain Leather. She perfected her skills and learned to sew leather hats, belts, jackets, and many other intricate designs.

Vada was also a member of the Springfield Leather Guild for six years. She traveled with the Guild to various shows, displaying her work and learning new techniques. Her pieces were so impressive she won a series of blue ribbons, including "Best of Show" for a leather coat with a bald eagle design on the back.

"I always enjoyed going to the shows because it was a chance to have my work critiqued. I love a challenge and a chance to learn new ways to improve," she said.

Vada left the Guild when she was given the honor of Master Craftsman at Silver Dollar City, but each year she continues to work on new products. One that is in process right now is a leather belt with a zipper on the back side to serve as a secret pouch. The Leather Shop’s products come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Guests can find leather items in blue, green, yellow and more. Vada treasures her time at Silver Dollar City and the freedom she has to continue creating new products.

Interesting Extras


Vada loves working with leather because it custom molds to the wearer, allowing for a perfect, comfortable fit – almost like a second skin. Leather is prized today just as it was in the 1880s.