After our visit to Luis Alba’s carriage-restoration workshop, we boarded the bus and drove the short distance into Lebrija to visit the showroom and workshop of Francisco Dorantes, who — with the help of several fellow craftsmen — makes beautiful handmade harness.

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the staff and craftspeople of Dorantes Saddlery; Francisco is third from the left, and his wife is to his left

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a beautiful new set of russet harness by Dorantes Saddlery

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The shop also restores old / antique harness and has done work for the royal family.

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We were allowed to wander through the showrooms and into the extensive library, which also features several old and exquite pieces of harness in clear cases. Then, we were given a tour of the workshop areas.

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collars in various stages of construction hang on the wall below the straw "loft"

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Francisco demonstrates the use of one of his antique tools for making part of a collar

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... and explains to the group how the tool (above) works and which piece of the collar it makes (I admit that I don't know the specific name, but it's the section of the collar wrapped in leather in this photo; the tool compacts the straw so tightly into that space and shape that it's as strong as wood)

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the shop is able to do its own casting of harness hardware; these molds were made from the hardware of a set of harness that was restored here

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all of the leather embossing is done by hand

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After our wanderings and tours and questions and answers, we enjoyed pastries and coffee in the main showroom, surrounded by more lovely examples of the harness makers’ art.

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