Chuck Stormes and Don Reeves introduce readers to an itinerant cowboy who strove for a level of craftsmanship and artistry above what the market expected--and to be the best in his field. Although grounded in the Spanish vaquero tradition, Ortega's work was shaped by his quest for excellence and an intuitive sense of how to fashion humble items into objects of lasting beauty. Ever a private man, he viewed his craft as a calling yet rarely sought attention even after his reputation was established.
More than a biography, the book is a richly illustrated overview of this expert braider's art. Some 100 illustrations, 70 in color, offer close-ups of Ortega's work that depict the intricacy of his reins, quirts, and other pieces. From eight-strand reatas to figure-eight hobbles, the beauty, functionality, and painstaking care of his output shine through in every piece.
This elegant volume allows readers to better understand the Hispanic foundations of the American cowboy as it portrays the work of a man recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Master Traditional Artist. It will stand as a definitive work on Ortega and a tribute to his craft.