Sneak Peek: Stunning Pieces for Home, Wardrobe and Beyond at 31st Annual Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale

Jackson Hole September event offers superb shopping, best-of-the-West craftsmanship

As Seen  PR News Wire

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Jackson Hole, Wyoming – August 3, 2023 – The Old West is new again as the 31st annual Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale (WDC) takes Western style up a handcrafted notch September 7-10, 2023, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, starting with a Preview Party + Fashion Show complete with culinary treats from local chefs and signature cocktails. The four-day exhibit and sale, a signature event of the famed Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, is the premiere shopping opportunity for aficionados of rare and singularly Western-styled pieces and an invaluable chance to meet the makers of one-of-a-kind works of art, including fashion, jewelry, home décor and more, all handmade using leather, metal, mixed-media, wood and other aesthetically engaging materials.

Hand-beaded belts fashioned from elk and deer leather hunted and cured by the designer are among the many unique pieces that will be showcased at the fall event from nearly 100 highly skilled artists, and like so many of the original and exclusive creations that will be available, there’s a story behind each and every one. The leather found in all of Leather Sage’s wearable art comes from animals that artist Magenta Reynolds hunted herself in Montana. Reynolds grew up there on a small family farm, and it was there that she learned how to process the hides into fabulous wearables such as chokers, earrings and hatbands, as well as wall hangings and wallets.

Another Montana-based designer, Celeste Sotola (aka Martina Montana), derives motivation for her Montana Dreamwear collections of gowns, cowboy hats, cloaks and vests from the natural wonders of Big Sky Country: wildflower-blanketed meadows, craggy trees, mountain mist, windswept prairie. Nature also features prominently in the elegantly curvy tables, desks, mirrors and more created just outside of Santa Fe by Mark Levin of Mark Levin Studios, who uses chainsaws and automobile disk grinders to carve solid woods stabilized through a stack-lamination process to mimic flowers, leaves and other natural objects.

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Uncommon woods used in ingenious ways is a hallmark of the custom furniture crafted at Smith Farms, which will unveil a groundbreaking new live-edge occasional table at the Western Design Conference. The Menifee, California-based company will be making its WDC debut, with owner Matt Smith offering pieces hewn from Argentinian Mesquite, Black Cherry, Hard Maple, Olive and Fig trees.

The creative community in Garden City, Idaho, helped provide the catalyst for the metalwork at Madacsi Studios, where founder and blacksmith Susan Madacsi uses traditional and nontraditional techniques to forge and fabricate steel, copper and bronze, augmenting the metals with architectural and fused glass, as well as LED lighting, to construct mesmerizing art that is textural and transforms the industrial materials into a form of high art.

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Feather-light and ethereal, the wearable art from Stella Thomas Designs is internationally known and sought-after for its avant-garde appeal, including the dreamy bridal gowns offered at designer Stella Thomas’ first store in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Many of the pieces use Thai silk, which Thomas embraced during a trip to Bangkok for its ability to be woven into electrifying patterns.

A more urban aesthetic can be found in the bold jewelry hand-forged by Pat Flynn, a goldsmith based in High Falls, New York. Famous for his nail bracelets composed of blackened iron melded with 22-karat gold, Flynn incorporates diamonds and pearls into the pieces in a lighthearted way for a hard-meets-soft result.

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A trip around the West inspired Indianapolis, Indiana, native Jenny Keller to turn her artist’s eye from landscape painting to leatherwork, which forms the basis for the pillows and handbags she produces at her Bozeman, Montana-based BRIDGERHome. Using cow, elk, bison and deerskin leathers, Keller hand-appliqués vegetable-dyed leather on her bespoke home décor pieces, creating individual patterns rooted in Rocky Mountain style.

Meanwhile, the equine-themed paintings by rodeo competitor Alexa Marie Bagnell could not be more firmly entrenched in the West. The horsewoman, whose Alexa Marie Studios is in Whitefish, Montana, was raised in rural Montana, and she recently added sculpture to her repertoire. Many of her own horses served as models, and as Bagnell puts it, they’re “not just a hobby but a way of life.”

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Returning to the show is the shoppable WDC Designer Lounge by Elevated Living Interior Design and Showroom and Build Magazine. Guests can relax and recharge with a complimentary Happy Hour by Build Magazine daily in the lounge at 2 p.m. Exhibitors and patrons can also enjoy daily book signings and stylish comfy seating.

To get a first taste of the Western world as interpreted by these artists and many more at this year’s Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale, the public is invited to partake in the Preview Party + Fashion Show on Thursday, September 7, from 6 to 10 p.m. VIP reserved and general seating tickets start at $100 per person, which includes meet-and-greets with the exhibitors, a runway show, a live auction and local culinary creations paired with signature cocktails from an open bar. The event continues through Sunday, September 10, with day-passes available for $30.

About the Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale:
Celebrating 31 years in 2023, the annual Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale is a four-day, multimillion-dollar event that brings together craftspeople, collectors, interior designers, architects, and fashion designers with a love of the West. The Western Design Conference was founded in Cody, Wyoming, to promote contemporary artists working in historical 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 arts in Wyoming while expanding the reach of the show. Additional information, including schedules and tickets, is available at and on Facebook and Instagram.

Media Contacts: Allison Merritt, [email protected], 307.690.9719; Amy Stark, Word PR + Marketing, [email protected].

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Digital Sourcebook

Available September 10th

This year’s Western Design Exhibit + Sale will be online through a new virtual marketplace.  SOURCE, COMMISSION + SHOP the Best of the West via our interactive Digital Sourcebook – online September 10. 

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