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The materials used in my flies are of the highest quality and authenticity I can find.  I carefully consider every detail of every fly to ensure that each nuance pays tribute to the rich legacy of the art and sport.  Each fly is constructed not only to withstand scrutiny but to invite it.

With that in mind, I select materials based principally on whether they suit my vision for a particular pattern.  Sometimes, that means a pattern will consist of only very common materials; other times it will demand exotics.  My selection of materials is also made, however, with a careful eye toward the conservation of the beautiful animals with which our planet is so graciously and tenuously endowed.  Where I feel that using a particular exotic would be irresponsible, I attempt to find a more common material that exudes as powerful a visual impact as the exotic.  In my opinion, many common birds have feathers rivaling or even exceeding in beauty those of their exotic counterparts; hence, the perceived need for exotics is often an illusion bred of greed and arrogance.  When I use common species in lieu of exotics, I eschew the term substitute and simply call the material what it is.  For example, I would never refer to Madagascar kingfisher as chatterer substitute – why bring undue insult upon such a beautiful bird by calling it a substitute?  Instead, I call it Madagascar kingfisher, without apology, and let it speak in its own defense.

D-Profile (resized)When selecting my materials, my goal is to make my flies as beautiful as possible while remaining true to a traditional aesthetic.  I make no attempt, however, to limit myself to materials, tools, or techniques used during a certain restricted window of flytying history.  A flyfishing historian, for example, might point out that horsehair leaders were largely obsolete by the time married wings were first in use, and that my use of both in the same fly is therefore a historical contradiction.  I am far from a flyfishing historian myself, so all points along those lines are well taken.  Such points, however, miss my intent: I think that woven horsehair leaders are more beautiful than any leader of more modern usage and that married wings are more beautiful than the stacked wings from earlier usage, so I choose to use horsehair leaders and married wings together and let the viewer’s eye decide whether it was right or wrong for me to have done so.  My tying is neither a study in stilted tradition nor a brash reconstruction of the art.  Instead, I use the best of the past to help me realize my own artistic vision in the present.


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