“When we work together, we inspire other artists and the public alike,” says Executive Director Allison Merritt.
JACKSON, WY (PRWEB)
October 11, 2022
The 30th Annual Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale in Jackson Hole was another great event with strong attendance, big sales, design awards and incredible talent. Recently dubbed by Jackson Hole News & Guide as the event where “cowboy meets contemporary,” this year’s Exhibit + Sale brought an “outpouring of talent from across the country,” says executive director Allison Merritt, featuring 20 artists and Designers from different states with the best functional art – and cash prizes for the winners.
Guests kicked off with an incredibly fun Opening Preview Party, where guests sparkled in their western best, celebrating 30 years of western design with live auction proceeds totaling over $18,000, a variety of spirits sold at five open bars will be offered to celebrate tasty bites and the always-awaited live catwalk fashion show featuring couture by 13 designers.
“When we work together, we inspire other artists and the public alike. I am forever grateful for the energy and ingenuity of the artists and designers who are an integral part of the continued success of the Western Design Conference,” Merritt told News & Guide. “The artists say Jackson Hole is their favorite – our town, our restaurants. And they spend a lot of time immersing themselves in everything Fall Arts Festival-related,” she adds of the Western Design Conference’s appeal, “but it’s the discerning buyers and the friendly culture that keep them coming back year after year let it come back.”
Design Excellence awards totaling $20,000 were presented to 16 artists in recognition of their outstanding concepts and skills, with Best Artist and Honorable Mentions in six categories, as well as Best of Show, Sonny Tuttle Spirit Award and Exhibitors’ Choice. Beginning with the Best of Show, Bo Joe Jewelry of Sheridan, Wyoming received a $5,000 prize for the pieces the artist of Navajo and Ute descent crafted from turquoise, diamonds, gold and other precious metals and stones. Many Tears and Lake AntlerWorks received this year’s coveted Exhibitors’ Choice award, where the best work is selected by a vote of fellow artists with a $1,500 prize.
Collections from 13 designers were presented on the catwalk and more fashion-oriented art to wear was on display in the Snow King Events Center’s 28,000-square-foot showroom. Like last year, the judges awarded Tres Outlaws Boot Co. of Cody, Wyoming, the best artist in the Art to Wear Fashion category with a prize of $1,000, while the $1,000 was for the best collection in the runway show to Colorado designer Living and Dyeing for their unique naturally dyed, hand-sewn and hand-painted clothing.
Jackson Hole beadwork artist Lillie Lauterbach took home the Best Artist Award in the jewelry category for her hand-sewn bead collection, while TimberFire Studio of Manvel, Texas took home the Best in Accents Award for hand-crafted heirloom furniture, décor and lighting. Recurring award winner How Kola Furniture by Tim Lozier of Cody, Wyoming, won Best Artist in the Mixed Media Awards category for his Molesworth-style pieces.
Grain of Thought Woodworks received $1,000 for Best Artist in the Woodworking category in recognition of Johnny Geraghty’s wood-centric approach to creating one-of-a-kind furniture that will last for generations. The $1,000 Sonny Tuttle Spirit Award went to returning artist Keoni of Colorado Springs’ Keoni Wood Art, who was again honored for his process of reimagining wood into woven and beaded basketry, sculpture and vessels.
Additional awards for Design Excellence 2022 went to Gina Pannorfi for honorable mention in the fashion show category; Kelly Maxwell Design in the Honorable Mention Woodworking category; Mountain Girl Studios received an honorable mention in the Accents category for unique scale antler and colorful glass lighting; and the Honorable Mention Mixed Media Award went to Red Tail Forge Works of Tennessee. The full list of 2022 winners can be found here: westerndesignconference.com/about-us/awards/.
“Some of our exhibitors, including Henneford Fine Furniture, award winner Grain of Thought Woodworks and popular fashion designer Montana Dreamwear, reported record sales,” says Merritt, who also salutes 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Lone Wolf as an example of Western Furnishings for the continued appeal of the Western Design Conference. “Roy Fisk was at the very first WDC,” she says of the Lone Wolf furniture maker, “and he came to us this year for his 30th year with a sideboard hutch that took the now 92-year-old woodworker five years to make . ”
Planning for the next Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale, scheduled for September 7-10, 2023, has already begun.
About the Western Design Conference exhibition + sale:
The annual Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2022, is a four-day, multimillion-dollar event that brings together crafters, collectors, interior designers, architects, and fashion designers with a love of the West. The Western Design Conference was founded 30 years ago in Cody, Wyoming to promote contemporary artists who work with historic American craft methods. The Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale moved to Jackson Hole in 2007, where Executive Director Allison Merritt continues the strong commitment to Western art in Wyoming while expanding the show’s reach. More information, including schedules and tickets, is available at westerndesignconference.com, Facebook and Instagram.
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